About three years ago, my oldest daughter came to me and said, “Mom, when I turn eighteen, I want a tattoo.” Now, most mothers would probably freak out, say no way, over my dead body, or any combination of the above. But what did I say?
“Cool! I’ll get one with you!”
You see, I’ve always found tattoos fascinating, but up until then, I’d never had the courage to get one. Those “It’s PERMANENT!” and “You’ll regret it!” mantras had been drilled in my head for so many years. So why the change, and why then? Maybe it was the fact that I was turning forty just a few months after she turned eighteen. Or maybe it was that I finally decided what was wrong for someone else, wasn’t necessarily wrong for me.
But here’s the kicker – I hate needles. Yep. HATE them. The fear stems from my childhood (as all good fears do). My sister would throw a fit whenever the time came for our immunizations or any other time she’d need a shot. So, naturally, I followed in her footsteps.
Then, a few months after my sister passed, I was doing a little surfing and typed her name into Google (we were estranged for a while, long story). As a fledgling graphic artist, there were articles here and there about her on the web. I came across a picture (one I’d never seen before), and sure enough, she had a tattoo. And not just any tattoo. My I-hate-needles sister had a half sleeve. I kinda sat back, stared at the photo, and said, “Well, hell. If she can do it, then I can do it!”
That first trip to a tattoo studio is a strange one. My daughter loved it, but I was a little apprehensive. We’ve all seen pictures of tattoo artists with full body art and piercings, which was something I wasn’t quite used to. And after that experience, I’ll be the first to say never judge a book by its cover. The men in that studio were absolutely awesome. They were friendly, caring, and made us feel right at home.
Holy moly did that tat hurt! I got a tribal star on my hip, right above the bone. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best choice of placement for a first tat. But I love it. The inside of the star is purple, a color that symbolizes so much for me and my family (the pancreatic cancer my sister passed from, the Alzheimer’s my mother has, and ADHD that runs in our family). Yep, that first one meant a lot.
My daughter video taping my first tattoo. Sorry for the language, but it hurt!
And now I can say, Hi, I’m Kristin Daniels, and I’m addicted to tattoos. My average is one a year now. After the star, I got a four leaf clover on my left ankle (my mother had a real one that she carried with her everywhere), and the next year it was a small Celtic Tree of Life on my upper back (just like the one my hero Shane has in Chasing Eden!).
I just got inked with my fourth one last Saturday. It’s gorgeous! The artist, Rich Cseri of Waukesha Tattoo Company, drew the cherry blossoms and ‘smoke’ on my ankle by hand. I was in the chair for an hour and a half, but the end result was well worth it. Although, I’m thinking the pain from this one might’ve cured my addiction. We’ll see.
In the meantime, if anyone else is up for a little ink, you can always count on me to hold your hand!