08 November 2012

life // did you know? I have a tattoo.

I wanted a tattoo since I was legally old enough to get one, but couldn't decide what I loved enough to have it permanently added to my body for life.

In autumn 2009, my friend Claudia (who had also been contemplating ink) came up with something I thought was pretty brilliant: she, I, and our other friend, Sara, would get the same three words tattooed, with one word for each of us, representing a strength of ours and a character trait that we brought to our friendships with one another.  We wouldn't exactly be getting matching tattoos, because we'd get the words in different lettering and in different places on our bodies, but they would have shared meaning between the three of us

Claudia quickly, off the top of her head, came up with three words that really suited each of us perfectly: compassion (me), strength (Sara), laughter (Claudia).  I loved the idea and the words, and I've been besties with these girls for ten years, through college and our early and mid twenties.  If that's not a crucial time for cementing a friendship, then I don't know what is!  This was finally something I really wanted tattooed on me for life!

Here I am, signing my life away to Newport Tattoo.

We ended up getting our tattoos right after my birthday in February 2010.  Claudia and Sara paid for my tattoo as my birthday present. 

And our plan deviated a little.  Claudia also wanted a vintage-inspired skeleton key tattooed on her shoulder and couldn't figure out how to incorporate our words into the design, so she decided to just go with the key by itself.  And Sara couldn't decide where she wanted hers or how to design it, either; she was originally going to try and work it into an existing tattoo of a snake on her back but couldn't make it work in a way that she loved.  I let them off the hook; the words were still very meaningful to me, and to all three of us, and we all went to Newport Tattoo together (and Claudia got her skeleton key the same day), so it was still representative of our friendship.  Whenever people ask Claudia if her tattoo has special meaning, she tells them that it represents friendship.  :)

Claudia's tattoo: "friendship is the key," she says.  :)

Claudia went first and said it "didn't really hurt."  I knew that getting mine on my foot (which is where I'd decided it would go) would be more painful because there isn't really any muscle cushion like there is in the shoulder.  I really wasn't really prepared for just how much it hurt.

This is might right before (first photo) and right after (second photo) the artist started with the needle.

I mean, wow.  I've never had children, but I imagine that childbirth is the only pain worse than what it felt like to get a tattoo on my foot.  I had to make the tattoo artist stop after the first two letters so I could breathe and prepare myself more appropriately for sitting through another half hour of torture.

Our tattoo artist was really sweet (and not bad to look at); when I took that break after two letters, he had me lie down for a bit to calm down and went to the liquor store next door to buy me a soda.  He brought me Cactus Cooler!  So random and so awesome.  It was delicious.  I was like a little kid at the doctor's office: give me some sugar and suddenly the big needle doesn't seem so bad.

For some reason it hurt less if I watched him do it.  Sara and Claudia thought I was crazy but agreed that whatever made it hurt less was worth it!

In the end, the pain was worth it -- I loved the outcome and I still LOVE my tattoo!  I cherish the words and what they represent, and I do really like it on my foot; I think foot tattoos are becoming more popular, but I still feel like it's a relatively unique location (and one I can cover up easily if needed -- I worked an office job at the time so the ability to disguise a tattoo was important).

All done (thank goodness)!

Finished product!

What do you think?  It has faded a bit in the two and a half years that I've had it, but I love it.  It's occurred to me that I *might* need to get it touched up at some point, but I try not to think about that.  The idea alone is painful.

Do you have a tattoo?  Where?  What does the tattoo mean or represent for you (or is it just an image that you love)?


  1. I love tattoos with special meaning. I have "virgin skin" but my husband sports 14 unique/individual tats that I am in love with. And yours is beautiful! :)

  2. I can't decide if I want one or not..But my best friend was just told that he won't live past 40. If I were to get anything, I'd get something in honor of him.

    1. Oh Clare, I'm so sorry, that's really terrible. There are no words for how awful that is. :( But that would certainly be an amazing tattoo and remembrance.

  3. this is such a sweet and endearing story! how lucky you are to have two such incredible best friends. one of my best friends has a crab tattooed on her foot... she cried it hurt so bad!


    1. I'm honestly surprised I didn't cry. I think it just shocked me so much!!

  4. Oh my gosh, I love it!!!!

  5. congrats and what a beautiful reason to do so ;)

  6. I haven't gotten one yet (cause they are alot of money) but I know what I would get. I would get the word beautiful on my foot because it would remind me that I am more then anyone that puts me down. I also want a feather on my back side of my leg. I just need to get a job so I can afford them.

  7. Love your tat, and you are the cutest ever. the end.

  8. I've had several tattoo ideas over the years and never went through with any of them. Eric and I have talked about getting matching tattoos to commemorate each child we have. But, I don't actually think it'll ever happen... just talk. I love yours! I've always loved word tattoos.

  9. What a fun story! I didn't even know you had a tattoo! :)


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