A tattoo to say it all

I am planning to get a tattoo. A big one. All over my left arm. It’s actually not “a tattoo” but a sleeve. I went to the studio a few weeks back and booked time for it in September. I’ll take one day off of work and sit there, get inked as much as possible, pay whatever it costs and then I’ll be happy for a while, until it’s time to make another one on some other part of my body. I have a few tattoos already so I know I am hooked for life. The pain, the way I get to express myself and show the world what I think is really me. I like it.

I want a tattoo that says it all. Who I am, what I dream of, what my hopes are, what I stand for. But here’s the hard part. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I enjoy. I have dreams, sure, and I know my values in life, but those are more difficult to portray, I think.

I used to be a teacher. That was my life and what I identified as. “I am a teacher”, I said. Now I “work in customs”. “I” am not “customs” . That is one third of my day that is not me. And I sleep for eight hours (which I love doing, don’t get me wrong), but is “sleep” really “me”? And then there’s the other eight hours per day. I have no idea what I am doing during those hours, but those are the hours that should define “me”, the hours that should build the tattoo.

So this tattoo that I will be making in four months has made me questioning my life. Am I doing the most with it? Am I doing anything with it?! I think I am having some existential crises, which I wasn’t prepared of at all. Who am I?

I tried to write down words yesterday of things that are important to me. I will continue that list and then try and collect images that will represent those words, and in the long run, me.

My goal is to keep my life simple, but this tattoo will be anything but that.

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About thereseastrom

A wife, mother of two, teacher and new, but firm, believer in minimalism. Trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
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11 Responses to A tattoo to say it all

  1. Florida Minimalist says:

    I’m a tattoo artist, currently working on my own sleeve. Have you considered getting just one piece you do love, and adding to it later? If you aren’t really sure who you are right now, (which is totally normal btw) then you might choose something that you may not really love. Why rush to get the ‘sleeve’ when you can take your time and build one you can be proud of?

    • Yup, I’ll let it take time, I’m just not clear on how to start. But, I do have some time to think 🙂 thanks for reading and replying!

      • Florida Minimalist says:

        I have 9 tattoos, all dedicated to my love for nature. All of them are sun, moon and/or Earth based, including my sleeve. My sleeve is a work in progress, I’m adding a Luna Moth soon 🙂

        • Very cool! I Think it\s really fascinating with tattoos (and tattoo artists). I got my first tattoo when I was 15, without permission from my parents, and it’s not like have regretted it, but the placement and the motif (a dolphin) wouldn’t be my fist choise now, 22 years later 😉 My sleeve will play a part in covering up that dolphin though.
          I will go and talk to the girl who’s doing my arm, but I am curious – how do you build a sleeve in the best way if you’re not really clear on what it will consist of? Do you start from the shoulder or is it better to just place something in the middle and then work around it?
          How did you become a tattoo artist? Do you do it for a living? (sorry about all the questions, but I find it very interesting so I’m very curious, I hope you don’t mind!)

          • Florida Minimalist says:

            You can do whatever you want, it’s your arm! Artists can give you their suggestions but ultimately it’s up to you. A lot of people have a main larger tattoo usually on their shoulder to start and then just continue to add to it. Theme or no theme, it’s all about what you want. What you love. Don’t get a sleeve just to have a sleeve. My ‘sleeve’ has a lot of empty spaces. It’s just kind of happened, having a sleeve. I was in Cocoa Beach getting part of it done and it took 5 hours. I was super bored so I started talking to the artist about tattooing and that’s how I ended up getting my license. It’s different in every state, the laws, etc for becoming an artist. It’s extremely easy in Florida, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, you have to be very careful about who you choose. I don’t do it for a living, I’m a graphic artist, but I love the art.

        • And! I had to google what a Luna Moth was, I have never seen anything like that – awesome shape and color!

          • Florida Minimalist says:

            We have them here in Florida, they are about as big as your hand! And so pretty

  2. Anne Lene says:

    Made me lookup Luna Moth, too 😉 Really pretty… I can imagine it would make for a great tattoo…

  3. Pingback: The sleeve of my life – Moving forward

  4. I have a teeny tiny strawberry on my left upper arm. I was born in Plant City, Fl. Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.
    I’m done, though. I never no desire for any more. But I am proud of my ink!

    • That’s perfect! I did the outlines for my arm last week, I’m already loving it, now I just want to start on the coloring, but it probably won’t be until January because she was booked…

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