Next Tattoo Concept Preview

It’s been awhile since I’ve added to my tattoo collection. I’ve been going through withdrawals for sure – I long to sit in the hot seat again, for when I’m being tattooed is the time I’m most at peace. The sweet sting of the tattoo needle helps to center me and remind me that I’m still alive and suffering.

OK, emo BS aside, it’s getting near time again. Completely out of inspiration and ideas, I was looking for something to spark the creative juices again and break the dry spell. That’s when I remembered a picture my artist drew up some time ago that I could have sworn was at the request of a client but after I didn’t see the tattoo come up in her feed for a few months, I decided to inquire. Lo and behold, it was just something she drew up and wasn’t for anyone in particular and said she’d love to tattoo it.

So here then is the concept drawing (artist credit: Jada Taylor):

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As someone who has begun embarking on a writing career a bit later in life, this design just spoke to me. It’s a cool design for sure. As far as the scroll? After bouncing some ideas, I have decided to put a song lyric in it – “In violent times you shouldn’t have to sell your soul.” If you don’t know what that’s a reference to, you’re hopeless (J/K – for those who might not know it’s a reference to “Shout” by Tears for Fears):

Anyway, stay tuned as this moves from conceptual phase to final product. As soon as we settle on the concept, we’ll move forward and you, my dear followers, will be among the first to see it after I get it tattooed.

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I’ve Been to the Edge, and I’ve Been to the Edge. Yes, I’ve Been to the Edge…

In pondering what to title this post, I just couldn’t think of what to call it. Alas, I guess merely quoting the most repetitive song ever (“The Edge” by Eiffel 65) seems appropriate because well, that’s what this post is all about.

To me, one of the most chilling scenes in any movie is Neil’s suicide scene in the movie Dead Poets Society. Inspired by his English teacher Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) to pursue his passion for acting, Neil (Robert Sean Leonard) auditions for and lands for the role of Puck in a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His father (who insists his son become a doctor instead) is outraged, withdraws him from Welton and the play and enrolls him in a military academy. Seeing no path forward, and with no support from his mother, Neil uses his father’s revolver to commit suicide.

Here is that chilling scene, for those who have never seen the movie:

As much as it makes the hair on the back of my own head stand up, it makes it even more so knowing just how close I personally came to having almost the exact same fate. On this day, the three-year anniversary of me getting my first tattoo (a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist), I feel I am finally ready to open up about just how close I came to being another statistic and just how close I was to putting my own family through the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

Having been rejected from my dream career (on account of my autism diagnosis and the FAA not accepting those with ASDs), forced into less-than-satisfying menial jobs and not being able to stick with one long-term, I saw no other option but to end my misery, and by god that’s what I was going to do come hell or high water. On a hot July 2015 night, drove my (then) piece of shit car to a remote location where nobody would be able to find me and brought along a semi-automatic pistol for the ride. Loaded with a single round of hollow-point (because who needs more than one shot?), I aimed to kill and pulled the trigger without hesitation.

A few seconds go by and I think to myself “I guess I’m dead?” In that split second I feared the worst – that there is in fact and afterlife and now I’m destined for hell. Alas, a few more seconds go by and I realize that I’m still alive. I check in the chamber only find out that the shot had not fired. Puzzled, I ejected the unspent round to examine it and much to my surprise there was the imprint of the firing pin on the primer. Of the 25 rounds in that box of ammo, I had picked the only one that was a dud. Hell, that might have been the only dud in that entire production run. What are the odds that the single dud would have wound up in that specific box AND it just so happens to be the one I randomly picked out of that box? Beating astronomically rare odds, I had cheated death, much to my dismay (at least in that instant).

As I sat there for a moment, angry, frustrated, I couldn’t help but think at how unlucky I was. Here I was, going to relieve myself from my own suffering because I finally had the chance, and that was foiled by some awful luck. Alas, it was in that moment I thought to myself “What the FUCK are you doing?!?!?” I drove home to sleep.

A few days later, I was changing the transmission fluid on my car when I got a call from a long-time friend of mine saying an opportunity had come open at my previous company (which he then also worked for). I interviewed the next day and within a couple of weeks I had a new career in the crane business.

A few months pass and I settle into my new career. Though less than satisfying, at least it meant I had a decent home life and wasn’t wondering where my next meal was going to come from. With the cloud looming over me that my reality shouldn’t be this, is when I started kicking around the unthinkable. Something I always sworn I would never do. I thought about getting a tattoo as an outward symbol of my internal battles.

I kicked the idea around for almost two months, until I decided I might as well just go for it. So, after finding a local artist, I walked into the shop on the cold, rainy evening on January 2nd, 2016 at 6:00 PM. I filled out the paperwork, trembling in fear as I did so.

As I sat down in the chair and the artist began preparing her equipment, she told me something I will never forget. “You know once you get this one you’re going to want more,” and she will tell you this is absolutely true – I looked her square in the eye and said “you’re so full of shit.” I was so scared but I had gotten this far, I figured I had to follow through at this point.

I did, and the sense of pride after I did was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was high as a kite too. That was quite a rush, and I now had upon me a mark indicative of my battles. At this point I still swore I wouldn’t do that again, but we all know how long that lasted.

Three years and eight additional tattoos later plus adding some celtic knot to my first tattoo (to separate it from the very conservative Christian side of Project Semicolon), well, I guess I never saw myself here three years ago. It’s been a wild ride for sure.

So yes, I’ve been to the edge, and whatever god might exist, god does know if I’ve looked down (which I have). Do I still sometimes struggle with these thoughts? Absolutely. I think it will be a lifetime of struggle. I’m also not going to guarantee that life will never get bad enough for me to finally get pushed over that edge (Amy Bleuel herself later succumbed to suicide). Despite my own personal struggle, I maintain the political view that suicide is a right and the government has no right to try to stop someone from carrying it out. That said, it should not be undertaken without exhausting all other options and without consideration of the effects of those around them.

With that, I want to say thank you to all my friends and followers for reading. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. Of course, that story is still in progress, because my story isn’t over yet. If you’re still here reading this, neither is yours. Thank you and good night.

Oh, and the referenced song, for those so curious:

New Ink: Race Day Double Header!!!

I have been dying for some new ink lately. It’s been entirely too long – almost 6 months. I longed to feel the sweet sting and the rush that goes with it.

Well, I got a little more than what I bargained for today – not only one, but TWO new tattoos in one sitting. It took some mental focus to get through it but at the end of the day I came out with a matched set of tattoos that show my love of racing – one NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series stock car and one Verizon IndyCar Series open wheel car – each dedicated to my favorite drivers in their respective series – Martin Truex Jr. and James Hinchcliffe.

This was the first time I’ve ever done two tattoos in one day. I must say Jade was a real trouper too, staying focused to the very end. I can’t imagine how hard it was on her too. Needless to say she got a very generous tip.

What will I get next? Who knows, but you know I’m already bouncing ideas in my head. It’s a never ending cycle.

The Boss Gets His First Tattoo…

My boss is actually a pretty cool guy. He’s definitely on the oldish-side (60+) but despite being a gruff crane operator turned branch manager, he’s actually laid back and funny, but I will say what dates him in this particular industry is his lack of body art – he’s an entirely blank canvas.

Well, he was until he came back from vacation. He spent last week in Minnesota with his daughters and I guess his daughters all have ink because they lured him into a tattoo parlor and I guess twisted his arm into getting a tattoo, because when he came back from vacation he had a small arrow tattoo on his forearm somewhat akin to this:

Needless to say I was rather shocked. He was talking about it and his experience in the parlor, and I could tell he had never before even gone into one before this all went down. “You can see the wires going into the machine” and apparently the artist had to explain to him that he was about to create an open wound. Oh boy, it’s always entertaining the older crowd trying to do the hip thing.

Anyway, I just found it interesting that after all this time he finally decided to take the plunge, but I also post this as a bit of encouragement to those older folks who might be considering a tattoo – you’re never too old to take the plunge. If it’s something you feel strongly about go for it. You’ll be glad you did, and it might just start your new obsession. 😉

 

 

Summer/Fall Tattoo Concepts

I’m definitely itching for a new tattoo. It’s been almost three months since my last ink session and I long to feel the keen sting of the needle etching an artistic design into my dermis once again.

Alas, I didn’t have a clear concept as to what I wanted until today. I was trying to look for inspiration but my recent trip to Texas Motor Speedway gave me the perfect idea – race cars.

So with that I think I will get a matching pair of tattoos – a NASCAR and an IndyCar, same location on opposite sides of my body. I will go with my two favorite drivers for this – Martin Truex Jr. on the NASCAR side and James Hinchcliffe on the IndyCar side.

I’ve pitched the idea of a matching pair to my artist and she loves the idea. Stay tuned for preliminary sketches that hopefully will turn into skin art in the not too distant future!

“Erasable” Tattoo Ink???

So I saw this YouTube video on my artist’s Facebook page and found it quite interesting.

Apparently this ink is applied just like indelible ink but it’s designed to break down quickly – after about a year or so, compared with indelible ink that, although does break down to a certain degree over time, will never completely fade away. Admittedly I don’t even understand the science behind this but it is an interesting concept that I have mixed feelings about.

Let me first say that this does not appeal to me in any way, shape or form. I think most tattoo enthusiasts would agree. When I get a tattoo I do so with the intention of it being with me forever. I spend weeks to months with my artist doing sketches and modifications to get it exactly where I want it. It has to be perfect in my eye before the needle ever touches my skin. As most of my tattoos have some sort of personal significance or symbolism that is largely static, I definitely prefer for it to be with me permanently. It is something you should consider if you are thinking about getting a tattoo anyway – how will you feel about it 5, 10, 20, etc. years from now? It’s a long-term investment. All of these do need to be pondered.

That said, whereas most have seemed to shit all over this idea, I actually see some value to it. Those horrible tattoo mistakes people make all the time – tribal tattoos, significant others’ names, trendy “flash” art, getting tattooed while drunk? This would be a good option I think, not only for clients but artists. It can definitely save some regret later for life circumstances that can change (divorce being the most notable example). It can also be used by artists for people who are not “all there” and get tattooed on a whim to save someone some major regret and either painful removal or cover-up later. I even see it as an advantage for artists to use on themselves to show off a variety of their own work (yes, many artists do in fact tattoo themselves). Above all, I see this as an awesome option for shows like Ink Master – how many shit tattoos have been done on that show and how many angry canvases return a year or two later? There’s no guarantee the canvases will get the tattoo they want. This could save a lot of heartache for them.

We all have a limited amount of canvas. As part of tattoo culture is the process and you can only repeat it so much before you’re “full,” so one does have to choose carefully. Of course, tattoos need to be touched up and sometimes completely re-done at times so one will never completely remove oneself from it, but that’s another consideration.

Anyway, although I doubt I would ever use this option on me and I doubt many people will opt for it, I think it’s a good tool to have in the arsenal. What do you all think?

PS: I’m totally itching for some new ink. I just don’t have a clear vision for my next piece yet.

New(ish) Ink!!!

How fitting to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish themed tattoo right?

Well how’s this?

I’ve been wanting to dress up my semicolon tattoo for some time now and this was the idea I came up with to do so.

The Celtic knot is a nod to my adopted heritage and my pipe band life as well as to my earth-centered spiritual beliefs. The semicolon, though a beautiful symbol of my own battle with depression and suicidal ideation, has a Christian element that doesn’t jive with me. This makes it my own in a way.

Very happy with how it turned out. Once again, Jade rocked it out for me. She’s awesome and has been since day 1.

A great way to start the day and a great early birthday gift (tomorrow).

What do you think?