seriously though, perhaps different people have different reasons. but i think most tattoed people have similar motivations for getting one. it serves as a mark that you have willingly chosen. just like birthmarks, it is a unique identifier on a person. but UNlike birthmarks, a tattoo is something it's owner CHOOSES and therefore makes it a kind of self-expression much like any creative undertaking like painting, designing, or some such art. furthermore, the fact that it's rebellious and bohemian also appeals to me. i think it's my statement against "normal" society... or heck, maybe i just have daddy issues! wahaha!
anyways, i finally chose the TAM bija of the deity Tara to go on my stylized lotus design. of course, bestfriend Nita had to be there with me to boost morale and to take photos. i'm sharing the shots below. i think it tells a better tale.
i have to admit i cheated a bit this time. i used a topical anesthetic called EMLA cream that my friend Mia mentioned to me the other day. i quickly googled it and encountered a couple of nice reviews on it. some tattoo enthusiasts discourage it for several reasons. firstly, it detracts from the tattoo experience because the pain is simply part of it. i guess being tattooed makes you a part of a modern, urban "tribe" and cheating on it makes you some kind of a turncoat. secondly, as the anethetic wears off, your body my get a shock from the returning sensation that the 'tattooee' might not be expecting. thirdly (and Martin, my tattoo artist claims last night),they say it hinders the ink from penetrating the skin.
still, i decided to give it a try. if not for anything else, i would at least have first hand experience on what using Emla is all about. just before going to the tattoo artist, we dropped by Mercury Drug to get one. it ain't cheap. a small 5g tube cost Php501.00 and i think i pressed 1/3 of the tube before the cream oozed out. one has to apply it generously on the skin to be tattoed for at least 30 minutes before the procedure (i think 1 hour was more effective on me) and i covered it with a piece Gladwrap. just before, Martin was about to start, i removed the Gladwrap and he wiped off the cream. there was a numb sensation on the skin. then he proceeded with the tattoo.
my verdict is this: i'm glad i used it. that is, even if the anesthetic ONLY lasts approximately 30 minutes or so while the whole tattoo process for this one lasted about 2 hours--which means i felt the whole stinkin' pain for around an hour or so anyway. it at least minimized my biggest problem about getting inked. it's not really the pain of it that gets me (because it IS within tolerable bounds) but rather, what FEELS like a protracted procedure. in Tagalog: nakakarindi siya! getting the extra 30 minutes buys me the patience to sit longer for it. so i think, EMLA is still worth it if you're a sissy like me. it may be too early to tell if it affected the inking process, though. but tattoos can always be retouched anyway.
the morning after... still tender and slathered with Bepanthen cream
so here i am the day after. my eldest daughter Gabey just took photos of me and my new tattoo on her cellphone before she took off for school because she wanted to show it off to her friends. mahirap daw magpalaki ng magulang! hehehe... but i think she really just wants to show off she's got a "cool" mom.
needless to say, i am lovin' my new tats! although i can leave it as it is from here, i actually want the colored version but Martin advised me that we will just do it in 2 parts. coloring will be after it heals which may be in about 2 weeks. i think it was also partially because inaantok na sya kagabi since the tattoo session finished at around 11pm. but right now, i'm still can't get over the great job Martin did on it. i'm still scrutinizing its fine detailing yet with the tiny, hardly perceptible imperfections that make it very... uhmmm... human. and when i glance myself at the mirror, i love how it makes me look sort of "macho" in a feminine kind of way. hahaha...go figure!