tattoos are for sailors

when i was a junior or senior in college i decided i wanted to get a tattoo on my side. after a bit of disagreement (with my then-fiancee) on size and placement, i finally agreed that a 3 inch or so tree on my right hand side was reasonable. i made an appointment, explained to the tattoo artist what i wanted, went in for my tattoo…

…and i walked out $100 down and disappointed. the tattoo was nothing like i had imagined or anticipated. but it was painful, it was costly, and i’d just stick with it because, hey, i was a broke college kid who hated confrontation and had nothing but time on her hands.

fast forward five or six years. some more money, a bit more ambition, and an extreme desire to make the tattoo on the side a bit more pleasing to the eye.

yes, it was going to cost a nice chunk of change. a quoted $150, to be exact.

yes, it was going to be painful. but it was going to be much better than what was already there.

yes, let’s rock.

i got my tattoo at river city tattoo in mason city, iowa. i highly recommend them, though i would suggest if you go there you go to brad, because he’s the owner and he’s fantastic.

my appointment was at six thirty, but i got a call around 5:45 asking me if i could come in early. i had nothing going on, krista had just arrived to my place and we were chit-chatting, so we made our way over to the tattoo parlour. i had krista drive because i didn’t know how much pain i’d be in on the way back. about two blocks out i started getting nervous and a bit more quiet. krista reassured me it was going to be awesome, then kicked my ass out the door and inside the building.

i filled out paperwork, played the waiting game, and a bit before 6:30 i got to go back to brad’s office for my session.

the guys in the shop were pretty cool. brad was a good time- kept me laughing (when i wasn’t in my stoic state and a needle wasn’t in my skin) and josh seemed like a cool enough guy that i would hang out with him in real life. i had the guys there walk me through their tattoos to help me keep my mind off the pain, and having krista there also helped because she kept conversation rolling and documented the whole thing for me.

i walked out of river city tattoo at around 8:30, head reeling, side aching, but extremely happy. i got home, took some ibuprofen and kicked back with ev for the rest of the night.

the pain? yeah, it was kind of intense. but i’d do it again in a heartbeat, it was totally worth it.


about 30% done… this is after he put on the numbing cream, which made my experience at least 1.432x easier.Ā 


most of the old tree gone, starting on the new canvas area


…is that blood or blossoms?Ā 


the final-final. the four heart shaped petals below represent my mom, dad, brother and me. a bit of a family tree, one would say. šŸ™‚

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5 responses to “tattoos are for sailors

  1. seriously, amanda… i love this tattoo so much! It really makes me want to get mine soon. We need to think of some good ideas for me. I cannot believe how different it looks and you took it like a damn champ.

    Love ya!

  2. Very cool, but ouch! I got my first tattoo 10 years ago and the only thing stopping me from getting another is that I want to get something meaningful but I don’t yet know what it is šŸ™‚

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