My First (And Only) Tattoo!

Waning friends and family… this post one is a long one!

This weekend I got a tattoo. My very first one. Mike was a trooper and hung out for the whole time (I even offered for him to go get a beer). He held my hand at the very beginning when I didn’t know how bad it would hurt.

Me & My Artist, Eli
Me & My Artist, Eli

Eli at Iron Crown Tattoos did it… and let me tell you, if you’re every looking for a place to go, I recommend this one! The very first thing I noticed when I walked in was the music… it was a mix of jazz, the Eagles, blues, and just generally chill music. I mentioned that to Eli at one point and he responded with “Why would you want to get a tattoo to death metal? I don’t get that – some people are scared or getting their first tattoos… the music should be mellow!”. How perfect is that? The whole experience was awesome… they were welcoming and patient!

My tattoo is of a seahorse. Why a seahorse you ask? Many ancient cultures revered the seahorse: the Ancient Greeks & Romans (symbol of strength and power), ancient Europeans (safe passage & protection), and Chinese cultures (power and good luck).

The seahorse represents many things:

Patience & Contentment: their bodies are geared to just sort of cruise through the ocean; they tend to be happy where they are and are not in a hurry to get anywhere. They are considered to be content to be who they are – their bodies have not evolved since they were discovered. I feel like I’m getting better with this as I get older… but it’s definitely something I need to remember to keep working on!

Inflexibility & Stubbornness: this one sounded a bit out of character with all of the other symbols, but I find it really interesting. In addition to being in no hurry to get anywhere, the seahorse wraps its tail around the nearest object to anchor itself in turbulent waters. In case you didn’t know, one more than one occasion, I have been called stubborn. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. My reminder here is to continue to be stubborn when it’s necessary and to have the wisdom to know when it’s not!

Perception: seahorses can move their eyes independently and as such have excellent eyesight. They can actually look forwards and backwards at the same time! I love the concept of looking to the future but remembering the past.

Personally, the seahorse reminds me to continue to focus on these attributes, but it also has a deeper personal meaning. In 2012, I decided to run my first marathon (that’s 26.2 miles). I chose the San Diego Rock & Roll marathon because I had gone to college there and absolutely love San Diego and the beach.

The marathon was a disaster. My worst fear came true.. I had some serious stomach issues and basically ran crouched over for the last 17 miles (along with stopping at every blue porta potty).

It was terrible. But I finished. I am so proud of my 5+ hour marathon because the worse happened and I survived. I pushed through pain and mental demons to get myself across that finish line. Almost immediately after, I wanted to get a seahorse tattoo with 26.2 somehow incorporated. The seahorse to represent San Diego (along with the fact that I’ve always been fascinated with them).

Flash forward to this weekend. We were in Monterey and I thought “you only live once”. I decided not to try to incorporate the 26.2 because the tattoo means so much more than the accomplishment of running a marathon. Of course, I now own a horse, so I like that symbolism too… I put it on my right ankle for several reasons – it’s the foot I broke so badly that I needed surgery to remove the bone and it happens to be the same ankle that Mike has his tattoo on.

Here’s how the whole tattooing process works. First, he drew my seahorse and transferred it onto my ankle (it’s on paper… ends up like a temporary tattoo so you can check placement, size, etc).

The Template
The Template

Next, he started inking the outline. I was nervous about how much it was going to hurt. I won’t lie, it did hurt, but after a while I felt more vibration than anything. It did hurt a little more when he got down to the tail (I think because it’s close to the bone). And lets be real, it didn’t hurt like running for 5 hours and 45 minutes with the worst “tummy troubles” of my life.

The Outline
The Outline

After the outline was done, Eli started on the color. I had wanted blues and greens – he asked if he could add some gold for contrast… which turned out really well!

Adding The Color
Adding The Color

Here’s the finished product!

The Finished Product!
The Finished Product!
I Did It!
I Did It!

I am seriously so happy with it… I have always said that if I got a tattoo it would be very meaningful, and this one covers so many aspects of my life!

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