Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Tattoo Post

I LOVE my tattoo...I just want to get that out there. I am going to post some pics here of the experience.

First off, I found this piece of work I did several years ago and thought it would be fun to post it here.
I have been thinking of getting a tattoo for at least a year and maybe even longer. I didn't know what I wanted but I sort of knew that I wanted it on the back of my neck. I had been to my brother-in-law's tattoo parties in the past and never thought I'd even consider it. I can't remember now why I was opposed to them, but I guess I least on my body.

There is a Dolan family history of tattoos...John and his brothers all have a shamrock on their buttocks, with Patrick's being the largest for some reason. (Side note: now that John is getting older and a know...bigger...we joke that his tattoo is now the largest of his brothers' tattoos.) each of the children of these brothers turn 18, they, in turn, get their own shamrocks. In addition to his shamrock, my son, Johnny, also got a huge kairos cross on his upper right shoulder. I thought it was totally cool and realized that tattoos weren't as taboo as I had previously thought.

I love my "married-into-family". I really do, but I didn't want to copy them. I wanted my own Whalen identity to always be a part of my soul. I needed a remnant of my own self, aside from my husband and children. That's why it wasn't a shamrock on my butt that I wanted. I wanted something special.

My sisters and I get together for a "retreat" each year, as some of you already know, not just because you know me, but because I talk about this special time for weeks and weeks and weeks before and after one takes place. Every other year, we invite husbands and children and we call it "Cousin Camp" intead of "Sister's Retreat". The year 2011 was a "Sister Retreat" year. We met in Nashville, TN. I was the first to arrive this year and as my sister Jeanette lives nearby, she picked me up at the airport and we went to lunch.
This is my sister, Jeanette. Here, at this very table, the tattoo thing started to become a reality. I said, "Hey, let's get tattoos this trip."
"YEAH!", she said.
We immediately called up the other three, who were in various airports across the country...
"Hey, you guys want to get a tattoo this trip?" (Around our little lunch table, Jeanette and I made bets on who would want to and who wouldn't.) Much to our surprise, the idea was well-received.

As these retreats go by, our spontaneity tends to take us in directions we hadn't planned, so it was toward the end of our trip when the tattoo idea sort of fizzled a little. There were more important things to do...we are a "play it by ear" sort of group at times. On Friday afternoon, we headed to downtown Nashville to eat and try and grab some crumbled stone from the famous theater (can't really remember the name now, but it starts with an "R" - the Top Ramen Theater?) for Margie's husband, as well as some photos from some famous place for that same husband. We stopped to eat at a Jimmy Buffet restaurant (we almost had a repeat of the previous day's lunch, but I nipped THAT in the bud real quick.)

As we were walking back to the car - it was H-O-T and we thought we'd go back to Jeanette's for a swim - IT just appeared, IT being the coolest tattoo parlor in town. We looked at each other. Let's do it! Mom was really tired and if we had all been good daughters we would have taken her home so that she could rest, but that tattoo parlor was calling to us.
"I'll just take a nap in the car," says Mom. "I don't mind that it's 110 degrees outside and that the car that I'll be sleeping in is black and in the sun. You girls go on ahead and get your tattoos."

I had to ask, "Mom, are you sure you don't want to get one with us?"
"No...I'm too old and the tattoo would sag."

So we left mom in the car, making sure that the windows were open and entered the most awesome tattoo parlor ever. It's "hook", if you will was that it was a Christian tattoo parlor, run by good Christian people. It even had one of Jeanette's husband's gold records hanging on the wall...although the word "gold" here is deceiving. It looked more silvery to me.

We spent a goodly amount of time looking through the pictures of tattoos we could get. As I said before, it needed to be special. We looked at flowers, butterflies, crosses, all kinds of things, but there wasn't any one, special thing that we all agreed on.
"How about a word?" someone suggested.

Great idea! We had the tattoo parlor people look up the word "sisterhood" in Hebrew. There were about five symbols for the Hebrew version of "sisterhood". We wanted to keep it small and simple, so we kept looking. Someone looked up "sisterhood" in Kanji (an eastern Asian language). It had two symbols - one for "sister" and one for "tree." Together it meant "sisterhood".

After signing our lives away and making multiple copies of our Drivers Licenses and insurance cards and birth certificates, we were ready to begin. They assigned us to our tattoo artists, placed mock-ups of the actual tattoos on our bodies, let us take a look at them and then went to work.

Here is a photo of me getting mine on the back of my neck:
Here is the finished tattoo:
Here is a photo of all of us with our tattoo artists - a great bunch of guys:
I LOVE my tattoo. I LOVE my sisters and I LOVE our adventures together.



Diane Dolan said...

...and I'd just like to say that I look pretty cute in my thrift store outfit.

Jeannie said...

Omg I love it!!! Also, is that jeanette at the Pfunky griddle?! I LOVE that place!!!!!

Jan B said...

a. yes, you look dang cute in your thrift store outfit.
b. your tat is so cool - don't you just love having meaning art inscribed on your body forever?
c. I miss ya!

Jan B said...

That should say "meaningFUL"

Julie said...

Just in case you're still wondering, it's the Ryman~not the Ramen Noodle (dork!). I ran into John yesterday at the Northfield Restaurant and I just knew you were at home blogging! I must be psychic. I adore your boots with the thrift store dress (very classy). Your tat is nothing short of fabulous!