Since many years I was considering having a tattoo, but I could never make up my mind. First, I had no good motif that I was convinced I wanted on my body. Then, I read articles about the toxicity of some inks. Moreover, tattoos are quite expensive and I wasn’t sure if it is worth the investment. After all, it is just an image that, if I want to see it, I could better print out and hang on the wall. Several factors came together that finally made me go for it.
Last year, I envisioned the image of an owl that features the Buddhist symbol of the Eightfold Path, a wheel with eight spokes, on (or ‘as’) its belly. As a tattoo, I wanted it to be rather small and simple, and the owl should look friendly and kind rather than aggressive or angry (like many owl tattoos do). I tried to make a sketch to illustrate this idea for a friend, but I am not good at drawing, so I used MSPaint to combine a simple friendly owl tattoo that I found on the internet with a Buddhist wheel symbol:
About a month ago, I stumbled across an advertisement on facebook. A tattoo artist displayed his clean and well-equipped studio in Taichung, offering ‘small tattoos’ (up to 10 cm) for 4000NT$ (~120 Euro). From photos of his works I knew that he was skilled and creative. I sent my sketch to him, and one week later he came up with this design that is much better than what I could ever imagine, featuring all the elements that have a meaning for me:
We made an appointment, and, finally, last night, I got tattooed. First, the artist transferred a very basic sketch of his design onto my right arm.
Then, he stitched the lines with black ink. This work took him one hour. I was slightly worried about the pain, but it was less painful than I thought. I put myself into a meditative state and just observed the pain when the needle pinched through my skin. My experience of staying in the Buddhist temple and embracing the pain in my legs after hours of sitting cross-legged for meditation certainly helped me now. Don’t whine! Don’t even judge at all! Take it as it is! Breathe and smile!
In the second round, he filled the parts with black, grey, green, red and yellow ink. This part was more painful than the first part, but still bearable with a focused and nonjudgmental mind. Occasionally, it was slightly bleeding, which is quite normal in the tattooing process.
After three hours of tattooing, the owl was done. It felt good! Today, it feels itchy and my whole arm is slightly numb. The skin in and around the tattoo is red and a bit swollen, but all in all it looks and feels alright. In about a month I will visit the tattoo studio again for a check. I am very happy with the tattoo, and also with my decision to have it! May it greet me every morning in the mirror and remind me of my mental power to make a nice day!