Gardenia

I started my tattoo journey August 11th with my consultation with my tattoo artist Rachell Peterson better known as Rache Page.

Miss Rache herself.
Miss Rache herself.

Me and my sister wanted matching tattoos of a gardenia flower. During our consultation we explained what our vision was and our personality. My sister wanted something classy in black and white, meanwhile I just wanted all the colors of the rainbow and the busiest tattoo ever. After all was said and done, we left Rache to design as she would and kept in contact a few times up until our tattoo date. The artist herself answered a few questions so you can get a feel of her style.

What inspired you to be a tattoo artist?

Growing up, art was always a big part of my life. However, I never thought I’d become a tattoo artist. It’s something that just happened.

How long have you been a tattoo artist?

I’ve only been tattooing for about 14 months.

What has made you so different from other tattoo artists?

We all have different styles of tattooing. I’m still developing my personal tattooing style and continue to learn and grow everyday.

There are a few things that go into getting a tattoo.
Prepping is very important.
The days leading up to the tattoo were nerve wracking. I had anxiety every night. I would dream about it going wrong, or me bleeding too much. Every time something touched me at work I would freak out, and I work at a farm/sanctuary with lots of plants. The day before I had to attend work and school and came home past 10 PM.
That’s when physical prepping started.

Getting Clean

You want to start off by exfoliating the area with a sea salt or sugar exfoliating scrub, these are the roughest scrubs and will remove the most amount of dead skin.

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From left to right; Olive oil, brown sugar and honey scrub. Skin after being exfoliated. Shaving.
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From left to right; Sea salt moisturizing scrub. Rubbing it in and removing dead skin. Shaving over my tattoo.

Once that was done, the whole exfoliating process, you want to exfoliate again. But more gently. I have a Tahitian black volcano sand exfoliating soap made with coconut and lavender oil. Scrub away all remaining residue and viola, Beautiful legs!

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From left to right; Tahitian black volcano sand soap. After wash.

I guess prepping for me is important because I have hypersensitive skin. That means if I were to get shaved by my tattoo artist and then get the tattoo immediately without being able to heal properly I would have gotten a baaaad reaction. I also just like the way I shave my legs. I do a pretty good job. Hit me up boys!

D-day

The morning of was tough, I had a lot of anxiety. I sort of hate needles. I always hated the feeling of getting a tattoo. When I woke up I stayed in bed for about an hour trying to figure out the right way to back out. When we were ready to leave the house, my mom announced she wanted to be present during the tattoo session, but we decided to go in separate cars. When we finally left, we went to the McDonalds drive thru so I could grab some breakfast. I could hardly swallow. We then went to pick up my friend. When we got to the shop we sat down and made a few small changes to our designs. She then set up all of her equipment and we ,the people, watched. As she took out every bottle of ink, put in needles in all three of my machines, anxiety was building.004

At some point, as I was ready to start crying, she told me “we’re ready for stenciling.” I was feeling a little nervous because my mother was present and had yet to see the design.

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She approves!

We all know what’s about to go down now. Actual tattooing. People always ask me “What’s the worst thing about tattoos?” and to be honest, It’s not the pain, or the duration, it’s the sound, as soon as you hear it, your heart drops, and you tense up.

I did about 10 minutes of thick outlining. And for me outlining is more painful than shading. We started with the falling leaf. And then the flower itself.

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I started feeling relieved because I thought it was over. Jokes on me. You can see my design already has a lot of outlining and we needed two tattoo guns to do different thicknesses of outlining. The thin one for the inner triangles hurt like a motherfucker. It really does feel like a knife cutting through your skin. The great thing about my team was, they were really entertained by my facial expressions and lucky for you guys, they took a lot of pictures.

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In the picture above you can see me patiently waiting as she’s preparing to do the small triangles. When she first started it wasn’t that bad, until she moved towards my inner thighs.

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I think the small triangles took about 20 minutes. The most painful 20 minute ever. as soon as outlining was done, we took a 10 minute break. Biggest mistake of my life. As soon as I stood up, it swelled up almost immediately. Worst part was I had to go to the bathroom and my friend had to assist me because I couldn’t pull my shorts down without touching the tattoo. Can you just imagine someone squatting over a toilet full vagina frontal shorts and underwear dangling at their ankles? Felt so bad for my friend.

So after about 10 minutes, we were ready for shading/coloring. With a super swollen tattoo, we started first with the darkest colors, making our way to the lightest colors. After every 3 colors we would take a break so I could go to the bathroom, I had 2 monsters and 2 waters, so there were a lot of fluids inside me.

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Took us around 3 hours to do all the coloring. When she thought she was done, we had to go back and fill in more colors to make it look more balanced. In total I had about 16 different colors.

But don’t you worry your pretty little head, with each color I made a new facial expression. And here they are.

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These may all seem staged but believe me, in one minute, I made around 8 faces. And yes, I’m very well aware that these pictures just killed my chances to get a boyfriend. Eventually, we were done.

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I would think this is where I breath a sigh of relief. BUT IT’S NOT. I’m the type of person that bruises, and swells up when I get pinched. So you can bet your bottom dollar that I was all kinds of swollen.

I had a tough time sleeping, and when I woke up I had to peel my leg from my bed sheets. There’s ink and blood stains your bed, plasma makes your sheets hard. Its horrible. When I woke up, I was more swollen than the day before.swollen 01

Walking that day was impossible. And my sister wanted to drive around and take pictures. The sun burned on my leg, Walking hurt. Sand on my tattoo hurt. Sitting hurt. Everything made it swell up more and more. Eventually, after 2 to 3 days it goes down. But then peeling begins. Peeling hurts, it itches, it’s uncomfortable. Most of all it’s disgusting. You have to put ointment on it, it sticks to everything. Ugh I hated it.

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After all that torture. It’s still not over, but I can finally deal. Right now I’m at the plastic phase of my tattoo, which is just really itchy but not painful. This is also the time you use a LOT of ointment. Your skin is absorbing a lot of moisture so you are constantly reapplying.

In the end me and my sister are happy campers and couldn’t have asked for a better artist.

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My tattoo and my sisters tattoo

From the wimpiest woman out there, Kamla.

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Leaving.

Hey guys. This is not the big piece I’ve been working on for the past few days, this is me having so much anxiety about my sister leaving. My sister left today, the 27th, and I’m a wreck. Last night was fun, we went out after school, ladies night. We got shit faced, especially me. Got home at 3 in the morning.. or.. maybe? I can’t really remember. We woke up this morning completely fine, not at all hung over. (Thank god.) We talked, had some laughs, no big deal. She packed while we listened to music. Eventually we both took a shower. Got in the car and headed for the airport. She dropped off her baggage, still okay. We had a drink outside, totally hunkydory. We got to the entrance, we hugged goodbye, I was carrying my niece, and boom. it hits me. She’s leaving. And I start crying. Siblings have a bond that is unbreakable. My sister and I are no different. We have a deep bond and she is my best friend. It wasn’t that I no longer had someone to drive me around, or that I had to pay for my own things now. But the idea that for another year I will not laugh the way I have laughed the past few weeks. My sister and I communicate in a very odd way, we don’t finish sentences, we do stupid accents, and we make up thoughts for animals. This past month I have peed myself from laughing more than I would want to admit. Sure my sister is a procrastinator. But even when we’re late, we have a great time driving because I know every road. Opening up to my sister, showing emotions for once, letting my guard down, was so nice. And you’re standing at that door and you realize it’s all over. And it hits you like a truck on the highway. And you feel yourself break. And you look at her with your eyes full of desperation and sadness and you see her break as well. My sister may be 3 years older, but she is still my baby sister. And looking at her in this moment, accepting, realizing that she is a grown woman, a strong, smart, funny woman who is ready to do her masters is beautiful. I felt really angry that I couldn’t feel happy for her. But I was feeling selfish and I just wanted her to stay. I constantly feel like crying and I hate it. It’s ridiculous. I feel that crying gets us nowhere. And now I’m that person. I went to school not being able to concentrate, I went to my first class and then skipped my last class and went home, where I cried some more. I’m starting to realize skyping with my sister will be tough with my work/school schedule and the time difference. My sister is really my better half. she’s my Yang. And I miss her already. The worst part is; I forgot to tell her I love her before she left. I’m sorry guys, I’m very distraught and just trying to be open with you guys. I don’t know the correct words for this post. I’m going to call it a night.

I’m sorry, Kamla.

Struggling with beliefs.

Hey boys in tha hood.

So we are going to deal today with my biggest pet peeve; belief systems.

I’m an atheist.. No I’m not. I would say more a long the lines of Agnostic.

I dont care if you are Spiritual, Christian, Jehovah, Amish, it’s not my problem. I would just really appreciate it if you didn’t force your beliefs onto me.

“Religion is like a penis.
It’s fine to have one.
It’s fine to be proud of it.
But, please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around.
And PLEASE don’t try to shove it down my children’s throats.”
-Author unknown

Unfortunately my mother is spiritual. And let me confirm that her penis is very large. My mother likes to think she is open minded, but in all reality she’s as closed minded as a Jehovah Witness in Sunday mass. (but only when it comes to religion at least) It’s frustrating because it’s the most illogical information I have ever heard. I would be completely fine if she were to believe this and meditate and do what she does, but I don’t care to hear about your opinion on whether I should make an intention or affirmation. And surprise! I don’t believe in the law of attraction. I can ask to be white as much as I want, I’m still black.

As for the religious people. Oh my god. I apologize but I will never write god with capital letters. I refuse to praise someone/something I dont even believe in. And it’s only worse when they try to bring you over to their side by saying “You’re going to hell” That’s totally ok with me. I’m fine with that, my skin doesn’t react well to cold weather anyways, the hotter the better. In fact I’m pretty sure satan would be overwhelmed with me and send me back up because I’m “too much too handle”.

I can honestly say I have no idea what the fuck is going on out there.. And in all honesty, I don’t care. I can’t say god is here to help me, I’ve been through some tough shit, and my family was here for me, not god. And I can’t say I believe in the science, if you drop a wine glass on the floor and it breaks, you have glass shards not a whisky glass. The big bang theory doesn’t make sense to me, or I have yet to understand it. I can’t even understand the lunar cycles.

But I feel if your belief system works for you and it makes you happy and comfortable, GO FOR IT. That’s all that matters, everyone has a right to be happy and if god, YHWH, allah, or whatever it is you call this thing brings you peace, that’s great! I do think that the idea of religion and church is nice; a group of people coming together sharing the same thoughts and being able to share opinions and ideas about what the bible, testament, koran ect mean to them, it’s great. At least when the world has turned against you, you have these people which you share a deep bond with.

I guess once you’ve committed to something it’s just not nice for anyone to force something else on you. So keep your head up.

Interpret my blog as you would the Bible, any way you like. Kamla.

The sister sister reaction

Howdy folks, a tad bit of news, my sister arrived yesterday, so you can expect a ridiculously hilarious post.

Start by taking out your bible. Then light your candles. proceed by smacking dat ass.

Only kidding.

This is going to be a question and answer blog, starting with three general questions, followed by one Kamla to Nagila question and then one Nagila to Kamla question.

I guess the way it’s going to pan out is Purple is Nagila, and Teal is me, Kamla.

What didn’t you expect to miss that you actually do miss about your sister?

How we can make fun of literally anything and everything; today we made endless jokes about telling time. I’m not even kidding. Yesterday’s joke was ‘aceite’ (which means oil in spanish). Needless to say I expect to have abs by the time I go back.

I actually really like watching my sister sleep. For some reason it’s the most relaxing thing ever. It’s confirmation she’s here and she’s hanging around for a while. Even this morning as I was getting ready for work I just watched her sleep for about ten minutes before closing her door to turn on the kitchen light. I also realised I don’t really laugh when she’s not around. I’m always really serious and taking things as best as I can. But when she’s around the energy is much lighter and it’s great to know that she’s taking part of the responsibility and that it’s not all on my shoulders. I can breathe.

What do you expect out of this time together?

First and foremost a lot of hilarity. We talk pretty often via text and the stuff she talks about is hilarious but since the last time we hung out for long periods of time she wasn’t as hilariously responsible as she is now. If she’s not as funny as her emails/messages I’ll be very disappointed. But mostly I just expect to feel better emotionally by being with family.

I mean, lots of laughs would be great, haha, but some quality emotional talk is nice, i don’t mean crying and all that, but my sister is the only person i can be truly vulnerable with and she won’t be quick to judge. I also expect some great pics.

What’s the funniest thing that has already happened?

I really can’t tell to be honest. We’ve already had so many laughs about seemingly meaningless things like talking about adopting pets that already belong to someone else, which technically means kidnapping but we’ll probably be doing them a favour anyway so who cares. OH actually now that I think of it we visited our niece today and her grandma asked all worried where she was and my sister’s answer (without any hint of being alarmed) was “I saw her a while ago so she should be fine”. I hope she doesn’t have kids soon, mainly also because she was making jokes about choking her with milk. Just saying.

For some reason I keep mixing up my words, so I’ll say “The work at joke is” instead of “The joke at work is” and that in itself makes for a funny joke. I’m also really keen on religious jokes. I refer to jesus much more than i should, especially as an atheist. But that’s brought up a few funny jokes, especially when people don’t realise I’m joking.

Kamla’s question for Nagila;

What is the thing you are proudest your sister has accomplished? 

Not killing anyone as of yet. There are an incredible amount of stupid people on this island and unfortunately she has to go out into the world and deal with them on a daily basis. I’m not sure if she made it clear enough but she has BPD and it can be difficult sometimes to handle in itself, but she’s doing a marvellous job with it. Having your patience tested so often can be difficult for anyone with slightly above average intelligence, now just try to imagine having more than slightly above average intelligence combined with BPD. I’m proud of her being able to keep her cool as often as she does while still standing up for herself. 

Nagila’s question for Kamla;

What’s the biggest difference between you and your sister?

She’s an optimist. And I’m the ultimate pessimist. It’s just odd how positive she is, and I’m here like “waiting for satan to take my soul.” she’s always up for adventures and I HATE leaving my house, unless it’s for work of course. I think it’s the scariest when she says I have to make contact with people, I mean for heavens sake I like to watch her sleep, there’s nothing more anti social than that.

All of our answers were answered on a different notepad so we didn’t get to read each others answers until the next evening. I didn’t want to risk reading her answers while editing so what happened was, once we were done, we exchanged notepads and read them for the first time. There was a reaction that we also wrote down. Here they are!

Nagila’s reaction

there’s something slightly uneasy about knowing someone’s watching you sleep, even when it’s your little sister. My mom likes to tell ghost stories and here we sleep with our door open and each time I wake up to go to the bathroom or something I check if there are ghosts there before I leave the room. If I ever wake up and actually see something staring at me I’ll make her clean out all the shit from my bedsheets.

Regardless it’s nice to know that I make her feel less stressed in a way; my nonchalance/laid-backness oozes out to the people around me and that’s all I ever wanted in life. 

Kamla’s reaction

I feel my sister has this idea my niece is going to die in my care. Though I think my niece would only get sick. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? I just find it funny how we happen to describe the same situations. I feel in a lot of ways we are the same person but then again she’s completely different from me. It works for us. I’m surprised by her answer to my question for her, I never knew that that would have been her answer. I always assumed it was me not giving up on school or not having yet another car accident. Well.. not killing someone is what I sort of expected but I didn’t expect it to be because of BPD. All in all this just confirms how close we are, closer than I thought we were.

Hoping you loads of laughs, Kamla and Nagila!