Molly, The Tattooed Lady

Warning: There are pictures of Molly’s belly and a little bit of her ass-cheek.  If you feel funny, weird or uncomfortable about seeing that sort of thing we suggest you skip this post!

One day about 20 years ago I decided to get a tattoo.  I’ve always wanted to get a giant sunflower done on my armpit.  The center of the flower would be the actual armpit with the stalk going all the way down my side.  I couldn’t see going through that much discomfort for this glorious design so it just sat in my head for years…and years.

Last March I decided that 2011 was the year for the tattoo.  I ended up deciding on a departure from the sunflower in the armpit theme (I opted for a bunch of flowers winding up my side instead) and went to Dawn, the greatest tattoo artist EVER.  There was only one problem…she was booked all through 2011.  What did I care? I had already waited over 20 years.  What was 9 more months?  2012 is the year of the tattoo!

Towards the end of 2011 Dawn and I met to discuss my ideas.  I brought in a bunch of  flower illustrations that I liked and we talked about how to compose them into a final design on my body.  We had a firm idea of what the flowers looked like but where they were placed and the vining that would connect them would have to be done by hand.  Freehand.  She would apply a few of the flowers (stenciled) and then draw some vines in with a marker working back and forth to develop the design.

My left thigh and hip

Tattoo getting drawn on the left rib

Just for her to draw the tattoo on me took over an hour.  It was so relaxing and pleasant I almost forgot that I had several hours of deep torturous pain ahead of me.  I thought about backing out but she had spent so much time drawing on me I felt obligated to let her finish!  I was stuck.  I figured I could always pass out or run away screaming if it got too bad.  Both seemed like viable options during the tattooing process.

tattoo getting drawn on the left upper side

My girlfriend, J.A.R, joined us and took some wonderful photos.  She also did her damndest to distract me.  During the very worst she patted my leg the way you distract your cat when they are getting a shot. Turns out it works pretty well on Molly too.  Twice Mike and the kids came by to check in on me.

And so it begins...back down to the left hip

Everyone wants to know how it felt.  At the very least it was an uncomfortable deep scratching (on my back) the very worst…like many knives stabbing into me (on the ribs and my hip).  I’ve been on fire, had surgery done on me with Novocain that wasn’t very effective and given birth without drugs.  This is up there with those things as one of the most painful experiences of my life.

It took about two and a half hours for Dawn to get the whole outline done.  Next up is color and adding on one, maybe two flowers and some more vines.  You’re wondering how many hours on the table do I have left?  Eight…Eight goddamn painful hours.  Am I up for it?  Probably not but I’m determined.  I’m so frickin’ happy with what I have so far but it’s not finished by a long shot.

Phase I complete!

The above photo was taken just hours after the tattoo was completed.  Over the next week  when I showered I slathered honey on it and let it sit while I finished showering.  The honey (which is a humectant and antibacterial cleanser) helped it heal really quickly.   I go back next month for another two hour session to start applying color.  It’s really intense even thinking about it but I’m sticking with it!

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