Viewing: tattoo

Getting Gaudior

one last note on the unicorn tattoo.

i had given some thought to what kind of unicorn i wanted on my back. the obvious choice was to get one just like the last unicorn
however, google images of unicorn tattoos and most of the ones that will pop up first are exactly like the last unicorn. i love the last unicorn, but the sheer ubiquity of her as a tattoo turned me off. and i knew leon wasn’t the artist to go to if you wanted an exact copy of something — it would be a total waste of his distinctive point of view.
finally i decided that i wanted my unicorn to capture the spirit of gaudior, the unicorn from a swiftly tilted planet by madeleine l’engle — one of my most favorite books ever.
i wanted a unicorn that was powerful enough to travel through time and ride the wind, rear up on its hind legs and fight, yet be gentle enough to sing with the stars and carry a young boy on its back. and while i didn’t tell leon this idea or show him any pictures, that’s exactly what i got anyway — from the strong, thick lines of its body down to the wisps of wind and tiny dotted stars in its tail.

Speaking of tattoos…

i just thought i’d post a tighter shot of my unicorn. it’s been over two weeks since i got it, and it’s healed beautifully. leon told me it would heal much faster than my first tattoo, and he was right. 
what happened with my first is that i barely felt any pain except for the very, very fine lines around my ankle bone. leon compared being tattooed with thick, dark lines to being scraped repeatedly by a large iron nail, and he was right. 
truth be told, after the endorphins kind of died down, i realized that i wasn’t 100% happy with some details — i thought the tail could have been shaped better, and a bit of the shading on the tail wasn’t even. i realized i hadn’t gotten it in the best of conditions: it was the last evening on the last day of the tattoo expo and leon was dead tired. after a few days of obsessing i accepted it for what it was: not the exact picture i had in my mind, but a beautiful and unique artwork nevertheless.
the pain may not have been as bad as expected, but the healing process was much longer and more uncomfortable. it bled for a few hours immediately after, and was red, raised and tender for at least a week. on the second week, it began to peel, with the thickly inked lines falling off in scabs. i know it sounds gross, but it was looked ok — kind of like when you have an old black leather bag and it starts flaking off in your hand or on your arm. 
AND it itched like the devil. i had to keep it constantly moisturized, and lotion was one of the few things that gave temporary relief. i also became a master of precision scratching — using my fingernail to scratch as close to the lines as possible.

with my second tattoo, the lines are so fine that they didn’t bleed at all. but the PAIN. according to leon, finer needles really feel more like cuts than anything and i have to agree. i was expecting the worst pain on the spine (something i had heard about from a former colleague) and received a nasty surprise — it had nothing to do with what part of the body the needle was on, but with how fine the needle was and what it was actually doing. so the parts that hurt the most were the fine lines of the tail and its teeny, tiny stars, as well as the details in and around the hooves. 

but the pain was worth it. leon was at his most focused and relaxed, having a looser schedule and spending a whole week in singapore. we were in a lovely, airy old shophouse with a proper tattoo bed (or bench?), adjustable lamps, enough space to work in and the prospect of beers afterwards. i’m not surprised it turned out as beautifully as it did. of my two pieces of ink, this is the one that i am truly in love with. 
the fineness of the lines has helped with the healing, too. after feeling like a bad sunburn for the first two days, i began to forget that i had just gotten a tattoo. there was barely any swelling, itching and peeling — maybe 10% to 20% of what i felt with the first tattoo. even now that the thicker lines on the body of the unicorn are going through a second round of peeling, i can barely feel it. 


the nice thing about being married and living in another country is that my mom can’t suspend my allowance, confiscate my cellphone, or ground me. she never actually did any of that (because i was such a good girl, har har har), but it’s nice to be safe from parental freak-outs all the same.
in this week’s call to my mother:
me: i got another tattoo.
mom: aaaaaaa!!! another one? ano na bang nangyari sa ‘yo? itatawa na kita! pag may nagtanong sa akin, sasabihin ko “hindi po sa akin yan! napulot ko lang!”
me: …
mom: maganda ba?
me: yeah, maganda. you’ll like it, i promise. cute siya. it’s a unicorn.
mom: saan? baka pag nakita kita, hindi na kita makilala.
me: sa likod. it’s small lang, smaller than my hand. 
mom: kasi yung una, ang laki-laki, ano ba naman yon. pero sa bagay malaki naman ang legs mo. hahaha!
me: ano ba. it’s not as big. don’t worry.
mom: baka mamaya pati braso mo, meron na rin!
me: wala, no. never. pinipili ko yung mga areas na hindi tumataba.

well, at least she didn’t say mukha akong preso. or baka pag nakita ako ng taga-gang, pagkamalan akong taga-rival gang (which is what marlon’s dad says about tattoos). 

More firsts (A 7-Month Roundup)

i promised myself i would take this weekend to do a roundup of everything i’ve been up to during the past seven months. it was one of the things i looked forward to all this hectic week. now i’m happy just to be curled up in bed, with the aircon on and a scarf thrown over the lamp, finally taking time for myself to just write. i can hear marlon watching wrestling in the next room, and i know my cat is lying in the hallway watching both our doors! all is good :)
my last post before i sank into radio silence last january was a list of all the ‘firsts’ i had last year. i had fun doing that — so that’s what i’m going to do to fill you in on the last seven months!
i got my first tattoo! this was the long-delayed mutual wedding gift marlon and i had agreed on.
i went to boracay with marlon for the first time. i had been there twice previously — first as part of my freelance stint with the philippine star, and the second time to be a bridesmaid at julien and eena’s wedding — but i had always wanted to go with marlon. it was his first time to go too!
i went parasailing for the first time. fifteen glorious minutes riding the wind, hovering over the sea amidst a glowing dusk. it felt like being in a fantasy novel. 
i made my first attempt at skimboarding. this resulted in a grand buttwhacking on that fine boracay sand, which was, i realized, the first sports-related injury of my brief but sedentary life.
i appeared as an extra in one of my own promos! this was for a series of vignettes for season five of “the office” on universal. 
i dragged marlon into the shoot as well. 
his friend allan was a great casting find for this — he was hilarious, with a perfect sense of comic timing. 

i saw wolfgang live! i know, i know, this is not a first, but it was just such a huge event for me! okay, it’s the first time i’ve seen them in 10 years! is that better? 
basti *swoon*
i went to vietnam for the first time! hanoi was the minibreak of choice for holy week. hanoi’s chaos and energy reminded me of manila, yet it also seemed like a city that manila could have been. 
halong bay, a dead ringer for neverland

luon cave, a surreal chunk of outer space carved into one of halong bay’s many islets

spiced truffle fritters at our best discovery of the trip: the green tangerine restaurant

last afternoon having vietnamese coffee overlooking hoan kiem lake

first time to visit phuket, too. sorry, no pictures — our beloved lumix died a few hours after we landed.
… to be continued

I’m back!

as in BACK. hehehe. 
microblogging via facebook and twitter slowly crept up on me and usurped the function of this blog. i should probably restore my faith in my brain and my writing by proving that i can still have thoughts that are longer than 140 characters!
but mostly i’m blogging again because my sister told me she missed my updates. awww. 
i haven’t even blogged about my first tattoo yet, and here i am posting a picture of my second one. i got this one yesterday from leon lam-hien, the same artist who did my first. i can’t imagine having any other artist ink me. marlon even has this whole series of tattoos planned around leon’s style. fortunately for our wallets, leon has relocated from france to hong kong in the name of love. whoever this girl is, i sure hope she’s the one.