You know that feeling when you really really want to do or buy something that you get restless and start to believe you wouldn't find peace until you get it? The same thing they had to invent the "count-to-10-and-let-the-urge-subside" thing for. Well, that sort of feeling overpowered me yesterday. I just had the feeling that it was time to get it done.
For quite some time now I had been wanting to get me a tattoo. I couldn't draw, so I needed to consult Google for a good design; I didn't want just any image, it has to be one that I could relate with my personality. Thanks to Google images, I found just that. I'm not sure who drew it but whoever he or she is, I want to thank the person from the bottom of my heart. I hope the artist wouldn't take it against me that I now have his/her design on my skin.
As you can see in the picture it's a fountain pen with vines and a rose. I picked it because it best represents my personality; the pen for my profession (writer) and the rose because I like to think I am a woman of strength and passion. The original illustration had too many vines; to make it less intricate I used photoshop.
Next concern was where to get the tattoo. One of my office mates recommended 55 Tinta, the place where she had her tat done few months ago. I was satisfied with the information I gathered after my little research. First it is DOH (Department of Health) certified, it is included in spot.ph's Top 10 Tattoo Parlors in Manila, and most of all they use autoclave sterilization, UV sterilizer, and disposable needles, gloves and tongue depressors. To quote spot.ph,
"It is the brainchild of Jay Contreras, Led Zeppelin Tuyay and Puto Astete and Paolo Bernardo. If those names seem familiar, that's because all four are icons in the Pinoy music scene, Contreras, Tuyay, and Astete are members of the band Kamikazee, while Bernardo (also the owner of nearby hotspot Tomato Kick) play bass for Moonstar 88."
I called up to schedule an appointment, they agreed to take me at 10:30 in the evening. My best friend, Tina, agreed to come along. We went all the way to UP Village in Quezon City to get to the place.
I was expecting that the place would have pictures of tattoo designs on the wall or graffiti as in most tattoo shops but it didn't. It was small but clean, with rock music playing in medium volume. The tattoo artists were nice and accommodating. After showing them a printed copy of the design that I want, they told me I could have it for Php 2,500.
Before proceeding I had to fill out some paperwork that basically proves I am of sound mind; I am not under the influence of alcohol or drugs; I am not pregnant or nursing; and I don't have heart disease or other health problems. Or to put it simply, that I know exactly what I am doing and I am not seeing the people of 55 Tinta in court if my tat gives me any trouble.
The artist who did my tattoo was Alain Mamon. First thing he did was the stencil of my design. Then he put on his green latex gloves, prepared his paraphernalia, and disinfected the sides of my arms with water and alcohol. He rubbed the area with stick deodorant then put the stencil on top of it. After a few secs, he pulled off the paper and voila, the stencil is transferred on my skin.
Since I wanted my tattoo on the side of my left arm, I had to lie down on my stomach the whole time he was working on it. When he put some petroleum jelly on the area and the machine started running I felt my heart thundered inside my chest. Yes, I was nervous! Alain seemed to have felt it so he told me to just relax and breathe easy. The jitters soon left me when I felt the pressure of the needle on my skin.
So how did it feel like? Well, imagine being bitten by thousands of ants, that's how it is. It is painful but tolerable. At least not the kind that would generate tears, and yeah you get used to it. Unfortunately the design that I wanted was not an easy job. I had to endure the pain for over an hour.
Then at last it was over. I got up, then Alain washed my tat with water. One of the boys in the shop came over with a mirror so I could have a better look of my tat. It looked gorgeous! The pain was so worth it! Alain did one hell of a job.
I asked my friend to take some pictures. Afterwards, the same guy who showed me the mirror covered my tat with petroleum jelly and plastic wrap. Alain then gave me the following instructions to help me care for my tat:
- Wash the area after one hour with mineral or distilled water; no soap.
- Protect it against sun exposure.
- Avoid getting it wet for long periods.
- Apply oil on the tat at least four times a week.
- When it itches, never scratch it.
I've got nothing but good words about 55 Tinta and its people. They deliver good service, they make sure that the tattoos are clean and safe, and they sure make you feel welcomed. If ever I get me another tattoo in the future, it would have to be there.
This is one of the most daring things I've ever done in my life and I am proud of it. Tattoo is a commitment you don't take unless you are really sure about it. It's a whole new territory I brazenly crossed and am glad that I did.
55 Tinta Tattoo
55 Maginhawa St. UP Village
Monday - Sunday - 5:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Monday - Sunday - 5:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.