Mami Ink

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The flower symbolism associated with the bird of paradise flower is freedom, good perspective, faithfulness. It symbolizes joyfulness. It also symbolizes magnificence and can also be used to indicate exciting and wonderful anticipation. The deed is done! Last Friday, I officially became a badass mami! I kinda like the sounds of that. For the record, I wasn't a lightweight before this. Just sayin'! Someone asked me what gang I was in. I'd have to say I'm in the badass mami gang where if you don't behave you'll get sent to bed early without a snack (gasp!).

But seriously, let me tell you about the color. It took an hour and a half. Thankfully, The Trinity Tattoo Company is mad chill. I mean that figuratively and literally. At one point in time I felt like my teeth were going to start chattering. I didn't want people to think it was from the pain. I was freezing! This could be attributed to the fact that I'm a skinny bitch, though. I can't say enough about the atmosphere there! And the place is clean and neat which is always a plus. I mean who wants to be half naked getting a tattoo in a place that isn't pristine, right? What am I, 20?! I'm saying if you are in town and need to get work done, this is the place for you, my friend!

I had no idea what colors Jorge would be using. Obviously, I knew what colors the flower had but I didn't know what he would do with the overall image. We talked about it before I sat down and I told him to just do whatever he thought was best. I'm glad I did because he made some changes on the spot from what we discussed and I think it's the reason my tat looks so great. This is what working with a professional is like.

On to the details you wanna hear. It hurt. I'm not going to lie. But it's not like I ever expected it not to. At times, I found it particularly...what's the word? Irritating? When Jorge was working right around the crease of my shoulder blade. Wouldn't you know it, that's where all the colors merge! I don't regret it though. I adore what it looks like and cannot wait for it to heal! Speaking of healing, here's mami's list of tattoo care:

  1. Wash it two hours after leaving the shop. I like to use a baby's washcloth because it's soft and gentle. Warm water is going to sting so, man up for that too!
  2. Have sufficient t-shirts available because you will get a crazy patch of Aquaphor on everything you wear
  3. Bras should be optional when getting a back tattoo
  4. If at all possible, just walk around topless in order to not dirty up your clothes AND for comfort (note: this should only be done indoors)
  5. Leaving your little girl to stand behind you is NOT a good idea especially when her favorite game to play is "let me throw myself on mami's back with a running start and giggle" OUCH!
  6. Keep it moist, people! Do you really want to be walking around with a crusty tattoo? I don't think so!
  7. If you have white sheets on your bed, either change them to a dark color OR make sure you put a towel down. When I got my outline, all of my shirts had cool black ink on them
  8. Whatever you do: DON'T SCRATCH! I have developed a really cute shimmy that I like to perform when I'm itchy. Most people think I'm dancing in celebration but I'm really just letting my clothes scratch my back!

Here's the picture of the tattoo from Friday. And one from Saturday. Special thanks to my Mac preview which allows me flip my images over as I took the 2nd pic in the mirror. I have since tried taking a better pic but, do you know how difficult it is for you to take a picture of your own back without having an exhibitionist nipple peeking out from under your arm waving hello? I can tell you: it is damn near impossible! I'm afraid of posting any more of them in case I miss it like Elaine did in the Seinfeld episode with the nipple and the Christmas card.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go make a list of what badass mamis do! Who has ink and what does it mean to you?!

PS: during the time when the tattoo was hurting the most as I was thinking about the fact that at that moment, there was a needle going into my skin, I got a flashback of me holding mami's hand. Whenever she had to get a needle in her port, she'd always want to hold my hand and she would look into my eyes as if she was drawing strength from me. I would do the countdown for her and let her know when the deed was done. I almost cried when I thought about it because I could remember the feel of her warm hand in mine, gripping. I remember the nurses thought it was sweet. It's now one of the most precious memories I have. Every time I look down at this tattoo I feel like she is smiling down on me.

Mami Ink: The Outline

The deed is done. And by deed I mean outline. I drove over tonight wondering if I was really going to go through with it. I had a rough day today. So much so that I thought about maybe not heading over to check out my boy Jorge. As I had the outline put on me I thought "what the hell am I thinking?". It reminded me of labor in that way. It also reminded me of labor in that I thought it would hurt more (don't judge me, the mami brain has tricked me into thinking it didn't hurt so that I can spit out another one. You know how it is!). I'd like to personally thank my girl Not Blessed Mama for telling me it would hurt like hell. And my chick Amanda for telling me it would hurt but just breathe through it (yes, she's the yoga maven). I'll be honest, it didn't NOT hurt. But it hurt a lot less than I expected. Jorge told me that it would feel different on different parts of my back and he was right. As he got closer to my spine the threshold did increase. I was surprised at the fact that when he got to the soft spot closer to my arm it probably ached the most. I can't say it was way painful. Perhaps I'll change my mind with the color. When I got my first tattoo I described it as having someone rubbing their nail on one spot for a long time. I still stand by that description.

I can't describe how I feel right now. I'm still in shock over the fact that I actually did it. Isn't that always the case? In anything you do. It's that first step that scares us the most. You know me, always looking for the lesson. I'll sit on these thoughts and get back to you with a more in-depth analysis.

I have to leave the tattoo covered for another hour and then I must wash it and lotion it up. So, who's coming over to help? If you don't, it's cool. I have plans of taking a spatula, throwing some Aquaphor on it and going to town on the tattoo! It is VERY important that I keep this bad boy moist. In a few weeks, I go back for the color. But tonight, I am in awe at the canvas that my body has become and grateful that I waited to find the right guy at the right shop to get this done.

Oh and, I can't forget this: my girl Jeannie stopped by to check up on me while I was in the chair. It made me feel like a celebrity. I'm thinking that when I get my color done, we need to throw a 'hood party at the shop while some of you get tattoos of your own. What do you say?

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll numb the slight after-tattoo ache with a glass of wine.

If you want to read about how this artwork came to be, check out the first installment of Mami Ink.

If you want to look ahead to the finished piece, check this out.

Mami Ink: The Art

Many of you who follow me on The Twitter and Pinterest know that I have been diligently trying to get my thoughts in order so that I can get inked in memory of my mami. This has been a longtime in coming. From the moment shortly after she passed away last February I knew I would do this. After thinking about it, I spoke to my brother who is not only an awesome guitar player with the band A Dying Regime but he is a very talented artist and soon to be professional graphic designer. In typical "us" fashion, he set out to do some research and delivered the devastating news that the tattoo that I originally thought about getting would not be a good choice.

I wanted a gardenia. It was one of mom's favorite flowers and my grandma used to actually call her that. But, after researching it, my bro explained that my skin probably would absorb the white in and then I'd be left with a crappy tattoo. So off to the drawing board I went.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that the thought hit me. Birds of paradise. Mom loved the flower because it was unique. She was all about things that were different, never wanting to just go with the crowd. I started researching and created my cool Ink board on Pinterest. The same day I decided that I would work with this particular flower, I went to the backyard and realized I was being sent a message. By the gazebo, mami had planted birds of paradise. Last year, after a couple of freezes, the plant died. Or so I thought. On the same day that I made the decision I step outside and find this:

So off I went to try and put things together. Let me start by saying that I am talented at many things! Art and music are not on that list (much to my chagrin and disappointment). I guess God knew what He was doing because if I did have those talents, I would be too big for my britches (question: what are britches and, why don't I have any in my closet?).

So I did what a creative person would do. I printed then cut and paste stuff the way I thought it might look. I like to call this the "concept" stage:

Following that I sent it to one of my very talented friends who wanted to show me what the quotes would look like in the tattoo (except she didn't have anything good to go off of):

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I sought out Jorge from Trinity Tattoo Company in town. I walked in after a play date and gave him my rendering. He told me he'd draw something up and get back to me. After a little back and forth (and some Pinterest references and viewing some of Jorge's awesome work) he got it beautifully:

Once the man had it right, I had no more excuses other than a few thoughts on fonts. Which of course meant I had to send him two pages worth of my quotes in a variety of fonts for inspection. Well, are all set to go. I'm out of excuses other than a lingering fear that this is going to hurt. But, I went through 40 hours of labor so, this is going to be cake, right?

If you are in town and want some ink, go check out the boys at The Trinity Tattoo Company. Be sure to tell them Mami sent you (who knows, they might take it easy on me). Now that I've shared, got any ink you want to tell me about?