On January 16, 2010 I started an addiction I haven’t been able to quit.  They talk about people being addicted, but I never believed them.  I thought I could try it once and walk away.  I had a good reason for me sitting in this chair.   The famous buzzing of  needles working on other people was all I focused on as my chosen tattoo artist, Tony Adamson, stared at my back.  I had paid for a full day.  A full day and there I am, a virgin, and I’m about to be blessed with colorful pain that I’ve asked for.  On top of my virgin insanity, I decided I wanted a very large tattoo and not some small one to “test the waters.”  I walked in fully serious on my intent and the meaning of my journey. I knew I was dedicated, but I don’t believe I fully understood at that moment in time what I was in for.  It’s a beautiful thing, thinking about it now.

Taking a step back, I had searched for a little over a year for a tattoo shop.  I was playing it smart.  I read up on tattoo shops, what to look for, what to ask, and I knew I wanted a great artist.  I didn’t want someone who was just a tattooer who plastered pictures on you.   I wanted real art, the kind that make people stop and say wow.  I wanted beautiful realistic art.  I was digging through tattoo magazines and writing down names, later to research the artist and their work.  I relied on the internet pretty heavily.  I was living in Idaho at the time and Boise is a nicely tattooed city.  I started asking people about their art.  Where?  Who?  Address?  I visited plenty of shops.  One shop that came up often was A Mind’s Eye tattoo (amindseyetattoo.com).   As soon as I walked in, I knew this was it.  I was greeted by Wendy, Tony’s wife, and she answered all my questions.  Wendy was so kind, friendly, and very helpful.  The shop was extremely clean and they only focus on custom work.  There’s no flash work to pick off the walls.  They believe in quality and cleanliness.  I was a bit in love so I made a down payment.

I was nervous for the first touch of needles to hit my skin, yet excited for the sounds of the gun to be centered around me.  This was my journey.  Tony was patient with me and patient in his work.  I like that.  We passed ideas around and then he begun to draw on my back.

He wanted it to move along naturally with my curves.  He took pictures in between to make sure this is what I wanted or did I want to change something.  I loved all of it.   All of it from the very beginning is free hand.  I originally handed him two pictures of two very different phoenixes.  I wanted the strength of one and the elegance of the other.  Other than that, I told him he had 100% freedom with the colors, the shape, how the bird would be posed…all of it.

New ink was set out, new gloves donned, a piece of candy in my mouth and we were ready to go.  I shook at the first few touches, but it wasn’t bad….at first.  The first thought in my mind was there’s no going back and I don’t want to.  After 6 1/2 hours, I was sore, tired, hungry, and jittery from adrenaline.  I didn’t make it the 8 hours I paid for, but for a virgin I was damn proud of myself.  This was the brand new me…I won’t lie.  I cried (in private) when I saw the final product.  I was incredibly happy.  I had no words for the start of my journey.  I grabbed coffee and food that night and slept like I hadn’t slept in years.  I had put my body through the ringer.

Sitting number 2…

Sitting number 3…

Sitting number 4 is where it became tricky.  We were starting on the tail which meant rib work.  I liked the idea of having the tail wrapped around me and so did he.  This is the part that made me extremely nervous.  I have heard from the grapevine of others tattooed that ribs are painful.   The kind of painful that makes you grit your teeth and pray for mercy.  Boy were they right.  It was the only time I ever thought of quitting.  My friend Chelsea kept me focused, helped me listen to music, reminded me to breathe, and let me squeeze her hand like I was in the delivery room.  Yeah, it might be slightly funny, but I did sign up for it didn’t I?

Sitting number 5?  I decided to split the tail and wrap it on the other side as well.  Before Tony went to work, I kept thinking that I must be crazy, because the first time was hell on my determination.  If I could do it once, I could do it again.

This is the beginning of the start of the tail.  There’s still some left to be done here.











My journey so far has been amazing and everyone at the shop has been incredible.  I can’t thank Tony enough and we aren’t even done!  We still need to do a bit more on the beginning of the tail and add color to all of it so I’m seeing the future in the chair.  I have an addiction and I’m proud of it.  It’s really great when other artists stop to take a look while the needle is buzzing away or even random strangers.  I enjoy the distraction.  After the second sitting, I’ve moved to Colorado so each sitting I’ve made trips by plane.  I’m determined and hell bent on getting it done.  Even when I’m 60, I won’t regret any moment of this.  I’ll still proudly show my inked skin off like a trophy.