Musings and Snoozes

My body is a charm bracelet, my tattoos are my charms

on April 3, 2016


I’ve written before about my love of getting tattooed, but yesterday I decided to write about it as it was happening – from killing time in the car beforehand (because for once in my life I was early), how it feels when I’m being inked, to the spike and crash afterwards. It’s an experience I love, and one which never ceases to amaze me because of just how good it makes me feel. So I’ve done a lot of writing over the last 24 hours and here is just an insight into how the tattoo process works for me.

Shockingly, I’m 20 minutes early. For a girl who’s likely to be late to her own funeral, this is nothing short of a miracle. Still, it’s a nice day so I’m sat in the car with the roof down, soaking up some much-needed Vitamin D. God I’ve missed sunshine, roll on Summer…! I’m so excited to finally be getting more of this design done. I knew when I got the initial flowers last year that I wanted to make this into a big piece, but I thought it would just stay as an idea that I’d never get round to going through with (story of my life). But no, here I am, about to go and see how much Emzie can get done in an hour. There will be significantly more swirls at the end of it, that’s for sure 🙂

Even now I find it hard to explain how good it feels when the needle is on my skin. It quite literally puts me in a trance-like state that relaxes me instantly. Everything else just fades away and I’m completely calm. For someone who is almost constantly in pain/anxious/tired to the point of exhaustion, I can’t tell you how amazing that feeling is. Meditation and mindfulness go so far, and there are other, not so safe, not so legal ways to feel this good, but to get something so beautiful as the art on my skin at the end of it as well makes it my favourite way to relax. 

Sat in Starbucks topping up my sugar levels now, like I ever need an excuse for coffee and cake, but shh. Jon’s coming to meet me in a bit, but I’ll take this chance to try and explain all the post-ink endorphin fueled adrenaline that’s running through me right now. Firstly, and most importantly, I’m not in any pain. Not just no tattoo pain, but no pain whatsoever. I forget how strange this feels and I honestly don’t think I can even begin to explain it to someone who spends the majority of their life pain free anyway, but for me, it’s pretty damn incredible. It doesn’t last, it’s usually about 2 or 3 hours tops, but I plan on enjoying every minute of it in the meantime. The temptation is to go and do all the things that pain stops me doing, but sadly the after effects are still the same and once this wears off, I’ll be back to where I was before, only worse off if I go and run a marathon or some such crazy. But I can enjoy just sitting here and feeling normal, walking up the stairs and not hurting when I get to the top, holding my coffee cup without my wrist complaining. They may be little things, but it’s the little things you miss when they’re taken away, trust me. Anyway, endorphins, happy face, I am enjoying this, regardless of the strange looks I might get for grinning into my coffee cup 🙂

Feelings and emotions aside, the tattoo itself looks fab. I am so very lucky to be able to go to Emzie and just say “hey, more swirls and some little flowers please” and for her to just know what I see in my mind.

She’s even drawn a mini lotus flower which I wanted but actually forgot to mention, so by pure luck it’s perfect. In an hour we’ve done the whole top half of my arm – pretty damn impressive. So I’ve still got the bottom half to join it up completely with my forearm piece, and then we’ll go back and fill in some of the gaps round the back of my arm as well. I’ve kept the same colours as my shoulder pieces, and I’m glad – I was undecided about whether to just make the rest of it black and white, but actually the splashes of colour work really well.

We got very excited about watercolour tattoos too, so they might be next on the list because the pink would look amazing. I’ll just add it to everything else I want done….

And so comes the crashing. So so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. The plus side for me is that it’s actual sleepiness, rather than just pointless fatigue, meaning that sleep should be pretty easy tonight, which’ll make a nice change. My body sort of goes into shutdown at this point – everything slows down and I get drowsy, like taking too much Piraton as a kid! It’s a nice feeling, so long as I don’t actually want to get anything done of course, but then it’s Saturday night and nothing ever needs doing on a Saturday night. I’ve made myself a nice blanket nest on the sofa, we’re watching films that I don’t need to think about, and I can happily drift in and out of consciousness for a while, dreaming about my beautifully decorated skin. 

Which brings us back up to the now – Sunday afternoon – the pain of the tattoo itself is of course kicking in, but that’s ok, nothing that large amounts of cocoa butter won’t fix! And it’s not a patch on the pain felt after getting my shoulders and side done, thankfully! I joke with Emzie that I’m so calm when being tattooed now because nothing will ever feel as painful as my side did, but it’s probably true. Even I struggled to find my inner calm there! So I shall continue to spend the rest of the day looking at my arm and grinning, while planning the three hundred other tattoos I still want and wondering at which point I’m going to win the lottery and be able to get them all done!

But there we go, a little insight into why I love being tattooed so much. It’s not for everyone, and I don’t expect everybody to understand, but it’s a massively important part of my life and on the really hard, pain-filled days, it’s the little things like this that keep me going.




2 responses to “My body is a charm bracelet, my tattoos are my charms

  1. paws2smile says:

    I wish I was that way when I go in to get a tattoo. I normally have pain also, so you would think I would be used to it. Maybe I just let too much time pass between getting another one & that’s the reason? 😉 But I do get a bit of the high. I have soooooo many wonderful ideas for ink! Lol!

    • EllenL says:

      I definitely found that leaving so much time between tattoos made me more nervous so the pain was more. I’ve been getting inked so much recently that I’m calm and relaxed before the needle even hits my skin 😊

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