The Year of the Dragon

Happy Vietnamese New Year! The new year came early this year, so I guess the year of the cat was cut short. This is going to be a great year for me, I can already tell. Wow, year of the dragon. Gonna be as great as the new millenium, right? I get to turn 21 this year too (along with billions of other people, but whatever), so that’s pretty cool. Looks like I just typed “year” a lot.

I played games for the first time in a long time. Of course, since I can’t afford new games, I just played Arkham Asylum (I played this during the new year of the tiger too. Yup, still impossibly difficult), and the FFXIII-2 demo. So excited for new games soon…maybe…I realized that I put a lot of my leisure time into reading, which is a nice alternative to gaming.

I also started wearing my last pair of contacts I have before I go back to the optometrist next month. I realized I’ve been wearing glasses a lot lately…for the past couple of months. They’re so comfortable and I guess I only need contacts for cutting my hair (which I did this weekend, too).

Saturday was gloomy. I studied and then went to the Getty with APO. So cold. So much art. So cold.

Sunday was another story.

I don’t know the exact moment where I decided I actually wanted to get inked, but it has officially happened. I had a list of ideas probably around the time I turned 19, but I never got around to deciding officially. During the year of being 19, I decided I wanted a quote that I try to live my life by as my first tattoo. Earlier this month, I started designing what I wanted it to look like. It changed drastically from its infancy- I started out wanting on my ribs, but then I thought the quote by itself would look plain. So I wanted to add a design to it. I added a dragon and moved it to my back. As I was looking at dragon designs, I found one that I thought was really cool, and decided it would look better larger and by itself (as my next tattoo).

So I moved my quote to my bicep, and combined with my other tattoo idea: bats. I started finalizing the font, the design of the bats, and the placement of the bats around the words. Last week, my sister and I went into White Lotus tattoo to show them our designs and get our price quotes. We went back a day later to set an appointment.

And we arrive to Sunday. I was pretty nervous, and as a first-timer, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I had the support of 3LP (NLP?), so all was well. Fast forward past the brutal waiting time. The first poke of the needle was pretty intense, like teeth-grinding, eye-closing intensity. It was around the inner elbow, so I guess that’s why it was so painful. And then everything else was pretty fine except the part closer to the armpit also hurt and the bottom-most part close to the back of the arm. It hurt more than I thought it would, but it wasn’t unbearable. My hand got really numb, which was a cool feeling. I always like the out-of-body feeling of numbness. Anyway, I was pretty much zoning out of all the conversations and just looking up into the light. I found my mind wandering to wondering which part of the tattoo he was working on at the current moment. My hands got sweaty throughout the ordeal.

It was over in about an hour. He said that it was a pretty precise font that he may have messed up if I wasn’t so still. I was surprised I did stay so still, as I thought I was probably shaking. But when I looked at the finished product in the mirror, I was so amazed and happy at the way it turned out. It is so beautiful. I do have to applaud people who get large, detailed, intricate tattoos and sit for hours at a time…and even more, those that get them in sensitive body areas.

The next few weeks will be crucial in taking care of it and having to maneuver around my parents. To reveal or not to reveal? When would be a good time? How should I do it? I can keep it hidden for the most part, but we will see.

Anyway, I cannot wait to get my next tattoo!

The meaning behind the tattoo (here comes the cheese!):

My life motto is to “be your own hero”. It mainly has to do with self-actualization. I think it’s great to have people who you look up to- heroes. I have many. But at the end of the day, I have to do what makes me happy; I want to be proud of the person I am. I try to be my own hero every day. Getting it tattooed where I can look at it every day in the mirror just emphasizes it for me. The bats have a lot of symbolism. For me, mainly it’s about the fact that change/adaptation/transition/growth is nothing new to life and I love to embrace change, whether it comes by chance or whether I strive to change. I always try to change for the better. Overall, it’s a subtle homage to Batman, one of my heroes. Like Batman, I would like to know my fears and address them rather than run from them. Also, the font is Gotham bold.

Gosh, I love my tattoo. And I know I will love all my future tattoos as long as they represent something important to me. My arm is sore.

Like right after it was finished.

~ by Btab on 23 January 2012.

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