It's about tattoos.
Katr got a tattoo not long after we met. It's a very cool rune based on her initials that an artist friend designed for her. It's about two inches square and it's on her shin. I love the colours, which are still remarkably vibrant after over a decade.
About 16 years ago, before Katr and I met, I was high on a surge of empowerment and decided I was going to implement a three-prong body-modification plan: an upper ear piercing, a nose piercing and a tattoo.
This was just the FIRST stage, understand. I had plans for MANY more piercings and tattoos, but I wanted to complete this trio first.
I began with the upper ear piercing. The piercing itself went well, but the aftercare, where I had to awkwardly lie down to soak the ear in a tea tree oil solution every night for a month, was a bit of a pain. To this day, every time I smell tea tree oil, my hand goes to my right ear. Even after all this time, I have to be careful about sleeping on my right side in case my ear gets fussy. Why not just remove the ring from my ear, you say? Well, I do still like the way it looks but also, it's still the original jewelry from 2001 because I have NO IDEA how to get it off.
I got my nostril pierced in Calgary in 2002, while visiting my friend Glst. Again, the actual piercing went well but soon after, I developed a zit-like bump on my nose that would NOT go away. People would be like "Heeeey, nice nose pi---oh."
I thought about taking the stud out, but was paranoid that the hole would close over in the interim and I knew that I'd never be able to poke a fresh nose hole. Fortunately, a friend of mine at the time, Subr, told me that the same thing had happened to her when she got HER nose pierced and that it eventually went away. She was right...my giant growth finally receded and it's been fine ever since.
One of my favourite things about my nose piercing is that, even though I've had it for 15 years, every time I see my aunt Lisi, she asks me if it's new. EVERY. TIME. I SEE HER.
Aunt Lisi: Ooh, I like your (gestures to nose stud), is it new?
Aunt Lisi: Wow. Did it hurt?
Me: A little.
The thing is that my aunt Lisi is pretty deadpan and I honestly don't know if this is just a running joke for her and she kills herself laughing about it behind my back every time, or if she thinks I'm swapping out my nose studs for fancier nose studs or if she is legit delighted anew by my nose piercing every time we see each other, but you know, I don't want to know, because it's our special thing.
After my first two body-modification projects were so fraught, I waited on the tattoo until 2005, the eve of my 30th birthday. My friend Jeba's friend Spha had cool tattoos in white ink and that's what I wanted - just a simple, white ink tattoo of a spiral, because I was really feeling my goddess self. I wanted in on the fleshy part of my inner upper arm, next to one of my oldest and largest X-acto knife scars. Katr took me to the tattoo place.
Before getting my tattoo, I thought some things about myself:
- I have a high pain threshold.
- I was at LEAST as butch as Katr, who got her multi-coloured tattoo without complaint.
It turns out that these two things are untrue. My high pain threshold only applies to me causing pain to MYSELF. When other people are doing it TO me, I DO NOT CARE FOR IT. And while Katr made it through a two hour session with only a grimace to indicate her discomfort, MY tattoo artist had to:
- Stop not once, but TWICE during the 20 minute tattooing process to "give me a break".
- Open the door at the back of the shop to let the cool night breeze in so that I didn't pass out.
- Give me a lollypop. It was red.
All plans for further tattoos and piercings were abandoned that night. I think tattoos are hot and I'm SUPER JEALOUS of my friends' elaborate and gorgeous tattoos but I have accepted that I will never have Gina Torres in her Firefly outfit tattooed on my back because I can't, due to being a total wuss.
This all came rushing back to me last week when a friend of mine on Facebook (and I don't know which of you it was), was "interested" in an "event near me" and so I checked it out and it was this: a local tattoo shop, Rain City Tattoo, was having its annual Mystery Box event, where patrons pay $80, pull a random tattoo design out of a box and then HAVE IT TATTOOED ON THEIR BODY.
At first I thought "Oh, that's cool, a little tattoo, like a star or something!" but no. This is some serious shit. Here is a screenshot of one they did last year:
I am FASCINATED that this is a thing. If I did ever get another tattoo, it would take me AGES to decide on the design and the location. And these people are like "Fuck it, let's put this...(pulls from Mystery Box) BUZZARD on my body! Today!".
I am in total awe of these folks. Kudos to them and their high pain thresholds and their available skin real estate and their trust in the Mystery Box. I hope you all got the pull of your dreams last weekend.
And hey, if I do ever face the needle again, I have a PRETTY good idea of what to get: