Thursday, February 14, 2013

My First-Ever Tattoo: From Promise to Reality

Back in March, I had promised that if I made my Team in Training fundraising goal for the NJ Long Branch Half Marathon, I would get my first-ever tattoo - a smaller version of this taco tattoo - by the end of the year. Well, I was about a month behind schedule, but on Sunday, January 27, 2013, I made good on that promise. It's still healing, but this is what it looks like 2 1/2 weeks later. It doesn't hurt, it just eventually needs to peel on its own, kind of like a sunburn.

(Click the picture to enlarge.)

The idea for a taco tattoo as a symbol for me to remember why I do my marathons and half marathons and who I do them for came about largely in memory of my friend Patty who lost her battle with cancer almost two years ago, and her love of Taco Tuesdays. Those of you who are friends with me on facebook know that I was already posting a weekly "Happy Taco Tuesday" status message in memory of Patty. The tattoo idea came about a bit later, and I just knew that a taco tattoo above my left ankle was the way to go. Now, whenever I look at it, I remember my friends who have kicked cancer to the curb, those currently fighting their battles, and those who have lost theirs. I have a feeling that the resultant innuendos are their gift back to me.

As some of you know, this was not a decision I made lightly. I had been thinking of doing this for a while, and wanted to make sure it was done right. My worst fear was that my tattoo would come out looking nothing like what I had in mind, or worse yet, that it would come out looking awful. So, when my finances finally allowed, I took my time, read reviews of several tattoo shops here in Queens, NYC, and finally decided on True Blue Tattoo in Middle Village, Queens. Why did I go to a tattoo shop halfway across Queens, when there were several closer shops in my immediate area? I don't know. Something about it just felt right, and I've learned to trust that feeling. I'm very glad I did. My tattoo artist was Louis Andrew, and I could not possibly have asked for a better fit both in terms of what I wanted to have done, and personality. I could tell right away that Louis truly loves what he does, and his portfolio is really amazing. I can't say enough great things about both the shop and Louis. I don't think I could have possibly had a better first-time tattoo experience.

For those wondering about the pain. I don't know if it was the spot on my ankle that I chose for the tattoo, or Louis, but it wasn't bad. I watched the whole thing as he was doing it, and the hardest part was staying still. There were a few spots where I really felt it, but even that wasn't overly painful. I didn't scream, cry or curse - not even once.


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