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I have had “get a tattoo” on my yearly “to-do” for quite some time. At first, it was a “I want another tattoo!” and then after I lost my brother, it became part of what I felt I needed to do to cope with the situation. Tattoos have always been more than just a fashion statement to me. When I was younger, they were a way for me to finally start to love my body, something I’ve always struggled with, and over the years, they’ve become a way for me to document what is going on in my life. Now, that being said, not just anything goes. I got my last tattoo, the blue butterfly on my wrist, on my honeymoon, and it was to commemorate the new phase in my life and the loss of my maternal grandfather.
Butterflies may seem a little, well, flighty, but for me, they are so much more than just whimsical and pretty. Butterflies are the end result of painful, life altering change. A process that takes something plain and a little gross and turns it into something weightless and free. When I lost my younger brother, it broke a part of me in a way that I am still working to understand. It changed me, and while I am still “me”, I’ll never again fully be the person I was before. This tattoo is just a visible symbol of that change. Now to the less cerebral part of this little adventure. This is my 6th tattoo and I will say by far the most painful. I have tattoos on either side of my ribs, on either side of my lower back, and on my wrist, and none of those were even close in terms of pain. By the time we were finishing with color, he was holding my foot steady while he was tattooing, and as soon as he let go, my foot would start involuntarily shaking. As painful as it was, it was one of the best tattooing experiences I’ve ever had. My artist Robert was fantastic; he worked quickly and efficiently, and he was really great about giving me breaks when I needed, making sure I was as comfortable as possible, talking through my design from size to placement to color, and never once making me feel like I was being annoying. I LOVED working with him, and I really hope I get the chance to do so again.If you are in the Tallahassee area and feel the need for some ink, be sure to check out Monument Tattoos. They have some incredible artists, and they’ll make sure to match you up with the best person who can best help you execute your vision.