I’ve thought about getting a tattoo since I was about 13. Something small and dainty and hidden away. Something just for me. Something that would be meaningful.
I thought maybe a bluebonnet or the shape of Texas when I was feeling particularly home sick while living in California. I thought maybe my family’s Chinese name or a phrase like, “Just breathe.” Over the years, I could never decide on something I wanted badly enough to ink on my skin. I was afraid of the pain or what others would think. I was also afraid of the reaction I’d get from my parents. No one in my family (immediate or extended) had a tattoo – unless a cousin is hiding one that I don’t know about!
Any who, for 20-something years, I hadn’t gathered enough motivation or courage to move forward. But the bottom dropped out on me last year when Dad died. Suddenly, things in my life either became more meaningful or became not-so-big-of-a-deal. I told myself when I turn 35, that’s when I’ll get it. I’ll finally do it.
Well, my birthday came and went in February. I still wasn’t ready. I had an idea in mind but no plan for execution. I started paying attention to other people’s tattoos (and Austin Bouldering Project has MANY tattooed yoga students). I asked around for recommendations from other friends and what the pain level was for their particular design. When a friend posted on Instagram an arm piece she was having done, I started following that artist’s IG. I loved her work.
Dad’s 1 year anniversary was looming. I was ready to reach out for a consultation. I met with Annie at Triple Crown Tattoo, and we chatted about design and placement. I put down my deposit, and we scheduled a date. It just so happened to be right before I headed to Dallas for Dad’s remembrance.
My husband came with me for moral support. And to document the event because clearly, I’d be closing my eyes, not trying to think about a needle stabbing my arm. Annie took a lot of care to make sure the placement and size looked good. We had another artist at the shop take a look too. Once everyone was happy, she got to work.
There was a lot of chit chatting about nonsense and podcasts and nerdy stuff. It made for a really laid back session.
And then the real “fun” began. Annie did the first line. It didn’t tickle, that’s for sure. But definitely tolerable. I was told by other mamas that because I handled med-free births, I’d be okay. Hmm… not quite the same. But I suppose my pain threshold was high enough to manage 30 minutes of “knife scratching” sensations.
I closed my eyes, took deep breaths and tried to stay engaged in the conversation. The outline was the hard part. The shading was a cinch. I don’t know if I could sit for a larger piece, but who knows. Maybe I’ll feel inspired at 40 or 45!
When all was said and done, Annie bandaged me up and sent me a long email with care instructions. She warned me about the excess ink and plasma oozing (middle pic) and looking super gross the first day or two. I kept the bandage on for 2.5 days, which made the healing process pretty quick. By day 8 or 9, the peeling/flakiness was all done.
I’m so happy with it. I love the way it turned out, and I’d recommend Annie in a heartbeat. Check our her Instagram @a_alonzi.
Triple Crown Tattoo
1157 Chicon St.
Austin, TX 78702