So far I am very happy with the tattoo and definitely like the artist, so I'll give him a plug. www.joshcruse.com.
When I got to the shop, I was nervous, but only a little. Mostly because this being my first tattoo, I didn't know what to expect. I knew it would hurt, but I was in a good mood anyhow.
He shaved that part of my leg and then applied the stencil. I actually had him redo it twice more to get the positioning to my liking. He was very cool about it and totally understanding and patient. "Hey, it's all good, you have to wear it, not me. Let's make sure we get it right."
I sat down, getting more nervous, stuck my leg out and took a deep breath.
Wow. Apparently I have no tolerance for pain. This hurt, a lot.
For the first few minutes, I basically was in shock at how painful it was. Yes, I chose a fleshy place. No, there was no work being done over bone. Apparently I either need more practice at this or I'm just a puss.
Here it is after the line work was done and the shading on the fireflies was started.
Getting started on the color.
Carolyn said she'd heard that the shading hurts more than the line work. I'll disagree with that and say they both hurt equally.
Hey, this is starting to look pretty good.
After about an hour I kind of got into this zone where I almost didn't want him to have to pull away for more ink - I wished it could all be done at once. Because I kind of realized that there was a certain level of pain happening here, but there was a line that was never crossed. It hurt this much, but never more than that. I started paying attention to that level, that threshold. It was definitely a different place mentally, and I was able to relax a little bit. But when he stopped for ink, that went away, and then he'd start again and it was another shot of pain.
The muse. He did a great job of replicating Tandra's tattoo - any differences are ones I asked for.
All done except for the white filler.
Finally finished. It took about two hours, all told.
I wouldn't call this a good time. I don't think at this point that I'll ever have any desire to do it again. But in a way, I can see why people would like it. Tandra used to compare getting tattoos to pregnancy or childbirth, and talked about how it was metaphorical for a lot of life experiences. You go through a time of hardship and pain and difficulty, but when you come out on the other side, you've grown or changed and you have something new and beautiful to share with the world.
I don't regret it and I never will. Tandra, baby, I did this for you. I miss you, I will always love you, and I will never forget you.