My first tattoo is my star sign - Leo - on my wrist. I'd always wanted a tattoo but my long term partner at the time had been vehemently against them so when we eventually parted ways it was one of the first things I changed about myself, along with a haircut and a nose stud. If you take an interest in your star sign then it can become something extremely important to you, a way of defining who you are. I have the classic temper and bossiness of the fire sign, a smidge of the creativity and a lot of the desperation to be loved. This is probably my favourite tattoo because it's obvious enough to see it everyday yet discrete enough that most people don't even notice it. It has become even more special to me since the birth of my little boy, whom we called Leo.
My second tattoo is George the gecko. I love George. I'm not sure why I love geckos so much, perhaps because they are somewhat salamander like and salamander's are fire-related animals and I am a Leo but maybe that is stretching it a bit thin. I spent hours and hours and hours searching online for the exact right shape of tail, body position and feet. He perches on my shoulder and keeps the vampires away. I can't see him and often forget he's there but that doesn't mean I don't love him to bits. He was the gentlest of all my tattoos, I barely felt him at all. He was a quick successor to my star sign and the addiction to being inked began.
I apologise for the expanse of back but this is the best picture I have of my third and final tattoo. This is my dragon. It took two sessions to complete - one was the outline, the other was the colour and the filling in. It runs up my vertebrae and when the needle was over the bone I can honestly say that it was so painful i could barely breathe and liquid leaked out of my eyes uncontrollably. I didn't cry. I sat still and tried to ride it out but my face just leaked. I almost didn't have it filled in. One - it was a while before I could afford to do so and two - because there was quite a long break between sessions, I really had to psych myself up to get it finished. I am not sure about my dragon. I like it, I'm glad I have it but I wish I didn't. It was a continuation of a fight for freedom, the thrill of being inked - the sound and smells of the tattoo shop are very intoxicating and yet I think I rushed from Leo to George to dragon. I wasn't ready for such a (relatively) large tattoo. It is also my last thus far. I think it will be a long time before I have another.
I knew the tattoo artist who did all three of my tattoos in a previous life. We used to work together when we were both fresh faced and rosy cheeked. I came with a friend to the tattoo shop - he was getting a new one and I was interested to see the process. That's when Keith piped up 'Hello'. Suddenly the whole experience became a lot more personal and involved. I was fascinated to watch how Keith brought the artwork to life and I think he let me sit and watch a bit closer than the average punter. I was enthralled and just had to have one of my very own. Even though my three tattoos aren't really the type of artwork Keith does, he still did them all for me - I am very grateful. I am not sure I would trust anyone else and should the time come for me to have another, unless it's Ami James wielding the needle then it's Keith or no-one.