The stories behind my ink

My tattoos are part of my story. I get questions constantly about what my tattoos mean, why and where I got them, how much they cost, if they hurt and more. I don’t mind the questions; I for one like being a tattoo advocate and have no shame in being a tatted up, gym rat of a chick. I like sharing their stories and what I’ve learned from getting them, both good and bad!

I thought I’d sum it all up in one post with photos from when I first got each of the seven that I have. Enjoy!

1. I believe they can take anything from me, but they can’t succeed in taking my inner peace from me. Now, don’t laugh at me, but I got this tattoo on my 18th birthday (thanks Nana for paying) and I was, and still am, a massive Christina Aguilera fan. Not just her voice, but the things she sings about , her soulfulness and the fact that I grew up listening to her music. The very first album I ever bought with my own money was her Stripped album when I was 9 years old. There’s a song on that album called Soar and the lyrics I have on my rib cage (yes it hurt like a mother f*****) are from the chorus. The reason these lyrics stood out to me is because I was nearing the end of my teen angst and needed something motivational to keep my head on straight when it came to what people thought about me. I was struggling to find my inner peace and when I listened to this song again one day, it just really resonated. My first tattoo, no matter how questionable I think it looks nowadays, will always hold a special place in my heart.

2. Love, passion.

These Japanese symbols are called Kanji. The top symbol is love while the bottom two make up passion. This was another birthday tattoo the following year. Love and passion were two things I experienced whenever I was in the saddle, riding around on my heart horse, Stretch. The bond I shared with Stretch was the most stripped down, raw version of love I have ever known and it was what I was and still am the most passionate about. I wanted to have something permanent to remind me of this love and to remember to always pursue your passions. Oh, and yes, it hurt. Not as bad as my rib cage…but still. F***.

3. Breast Cancer Ribbon Growing up, I did the Race for the Cure every year. We started this because my mom had friends who were affected by breast cancer, so we walked In honor of them. As I grew up, one of my closest girlfriends and I loved everything pink ribbon related. This Is a whole other topic as I genuinely feel that the pink ribbon Is now a very commercialized symbol, but that’s for another day. Anyway – October is breast cancer awareness month and there was a tattoo shop doing “tattoos for tips” I.e. tip what you feel like and get a free tattoo. Forewarning to those who want a tattoo – pay for It. Please don’t get a free one. It’s probably my least quality tattoo even though It was at a legit shop. I had to choose from 5 templates of ribbons and I went with the one where the ribbon was a heart. I still love what It stands for, but If I could go back, I probably wouldn’t get It again. It hurt.

4. Roman Numerals These numerals are the years my Dad, Mom, and sister were born, respectively; 1961, 1963, 1995. I actually still really like this tattoo and it’s located in one of my favorite tattoo locations. This bad boy only cost me $40 and was done in someone’s basement…that being said, the dude was in between shops and gave me a deal because I was a referral from a friend and we went to get new tattoos together. There’s not much to tell on this one other than I was 20 years old and could make my own decisions and this was a decision I could afford! Yahhhhh, it hurt friends.

5. Stretch’s Arrow This tattoo is my most meaningful, by far. It represents my childhood, love, loss, and reminds me to always follow my arrow; my favorite mantra. This tattoo is for my childhood horse, Stretch. Why an arrow? Well, his ears were always pointed forward and with being half Thoroughbred, he had some pretty pointy ears. I got this tattoo after he passed away. It was the worst day of the almost 26 years I’ve been alive and I will never forget it. The last photo I ever took of him was the day he passed. I was out on a trail ride with a couple of friends and I was able to get the perfect shot from the saddle: a winding path that I was viewing from in between his pointed ears. This was the ultimate inspiration of this tattoo. He stayed true to his personality right up until the very end and each time I look at my wrist, I am reminded of how capable I am of love. His brand, Lazy K Y, is inked within the arrow as well. I mean for obvious reasons, I couldn’t simply get the letters “KY” tattooed on me, so in came the arrow. I miss him every single day. And yes, it hurt, but I was too focused my memories to care.

6. Anchored Tree This is my second most meaningful tattoo after my arrow. It’s a Blue Spruce which is Colorado’s State tree and represents my nativity to the state. The anchor is to symbolize my love and passion for where I come from and that no matter where I might end up, I’ll always be reminded of my roots. The craziest part about this tattoo was the time and care my artist, Levi at Tribe Tattoo, took in the texture of the leaves. They were small strokes, and like my ribcage, it hurt like a MOTHER. This is the tattoo, of my seven, that gets the most attention from onlookers, because yes, I being inked up makes you a zoo animal. But it’s usually all very flattering.

7. Geometric Flower Talk about random. Everything about this tattoo and experience was random. I got the itch for new ink, and if you’ve ever had that itch before, it REALLY itches. I called around local shops to see who was open as it was over Labor Day and when one shop answered and said they were taking walk-ins, I hopped in my car and off I went! I got to the shop and the artist, Chase, was the one assigned to walk-ins that day. I told him I wanted something on my shoulder, something kind of like a flower, but not super floral because (and these were my exact words) “I’m not that nice of a person”. I wanted something geometric too, so I really left it up to his creativity. He came up with three separate designs and we actually ended up merging two of the designs together, as you can somewhat see from the photo. The shading throughout the tattoo – it’s all individual dots! Like a gradient. IT HURT PEOPLE. It was a random experience, but I am in love with this tattoo and I’m thinking it just may be the start of a sleeve!

Thanks for reading friends. Did I mention tattoos hurt?

Until next time,

xoxo, H

5 thoughts on “The stories behind my ink

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