18 September 2015

Beauty Is Pain

For a year and a half now I've been searching for the perfect next tattoo. I wanted something that was Turkish but that was still me. I've played with some tulip designs I found on ceramics that while tulips, also looked a little like a feather. Nothing worked. Then, on the Blue Cruise tour in July, I saw it. The perfect design. On a bloody bookmark of all things.

Thanks Alison!

Having finally found the design I decided to do it as a birthday present to myself. I knew it was going to be pricey but to me price wasn't the most important issue...language was. I was not about to trust my middling Turkish to ink and needle. So started looking for tattoo artists; which was really easy in the end since I just walked three doors up the hill from my apartment. Between his art and his excellent English I was pretty well sold on Shape Tattoo...but his decor was the final deciding factor.

Dude has a Michigan license plate on his wall!!

Sherlock bites harder than this.

Taking it like pro!

It's been three years since my last tattoo. That one I got in DC one sunny November day I played hooky from work. I did not like that job and the pain of getting a tattoo was preferable to being in the office. I remember how much that one hurt though. The ubiquitous "they" say some of the most painful places to get tattooed are the spine (my last one) and the inside of the arm (this new one). Between the remembered pain and the double anticipation of it for this one-this would be my very first multiple sitting tattoo-I was a ball excitement and nerves.


Filling in

Half-way done!

There were certainly a few wince-worthy moments. We took a few short breaks but in about 90 minutes we were done with the first half! Unfortunately those few painful moments will be multiplied for the next sitting because he only just started on the inside of my arm. I'm not really looking forward to the next appointment!

A week later I went back for my second sitting. This time sans photographer sadly and my selfie taking ability isn't awesome. I had a shameful moment during which I wished for one of those ridiculous selfie sticks.

And yeah, the inside of the arm really is a painful spot. For the first few minutes, until my arm dulled a little to the pain, I could actually feel my skin trying to shrink away from the needle. This sitting seemed to go a lot faster than the first one did so that was a blessing. However between the yoga breathing and being so tired I truly almost fell asleep on the table a few times I am happy to say that the pain wasn't really all that bad. Actually it hurts more now. Burns like fire actually.

Almost finished!

During this last week the first half graduated from fiery pain to intense itching, which is actually almost worse than the pain. Now though I'm half insane itching and half burning pain. My nerves are super confused. I also have to go through those first few days of bleeding ink again. The bleeding and flaking of ink always creeps me out a little.

Really hard to get a selfie of this. 


I went out a few hours later for dinner with E&M and felt (and must have looked) like a pretentious model. I had to walk with my left hand on my hip so I could hold my inner arm away from body! And then of course, after dinner, I fell. Because, well, me. So the walk home I was walking (limping) like a spastic, reject, pretentious model! Now my leg hurts more than my arm does. Which only proves that the magic of evil eyes (nazar boncuğu) doesn't actually work. For one thing, blue-eyed people are supposed to be naturally immune from the evil eye; for another, I now have 52 (FIFTY-TWO) evil eyes tattooed on my arm. And I still fell. On the tram tracks no less.

Evil eye magic disillusionment aside, if you're in Istanbul and thinking of getting a tattoo I highly recommend Shape Tattoo on Yeni Carsi! If I'm still in Istanbul when I'm ready for my next tattoo I'll definitely go back there; and since we're neighbors and all I'll probably drop in from time to time to share a neighborly coffee!

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