Originally posted here.
Walking into 434 Tattoo for the next step in the sleeve telling the story of my spiritual crisis and transformation, the Dark Night of the Soul if you will, was exactly what I’ve come to look for in life: comedy and healing. I did a great job at creating some drama recently and have been refocusing via training martial arts and more meditation to get back to living the comedy in life. Well this trip to the always good vibin’ 434 Honolulu tattoo shop served up comedy and healing…
I walked in and the place was packed. All the team, Adam, Marko, and Andy were there, two Japanese ladies on vacation, Adam’s wife and son, and the stars of the comedy, a mother and daughter on vacation. The daughter was a here for some cheerleading event and wanted her first tattoo, on her foot. Tattooing hurts, I’m not going to lie, and neither will many artists and people with tattoos. You’ve got the occasional people who like to make like it’s nothing but no joke, it hurts. Well…
Apparently getting a tattoo on your foot is enough to make you hate your life. I mean, I’ve three on my rib cage and if anything that made me love my life but anyway, the young lady started to scream. It was the craziest thing I ever saw. I was totally compassionate at first but then I couldn’t help but laugh. It was like I was in the middle of a reality tv show, a movie, and a dream all rolled into one. Everyone was laughing. The Japanese tourists were rolling and making jokes in Japanese. The mother was losing it. Everyone. It was beyond words. This article can do it no justice.
The best part was when she screamed “I hate my life!” to which Adam gave her some wisdom: “Don’t hate your life. If you’re going to hate something, hate the world.” We all had another good laugh and Adam was a wizard man, busting that piece out in 15 minutes, despite her moving, falling off the chair, and asking for many breaks.
She came and sat next to me and asked how it looked. Satisfied despite the life hating and pain she ended it with: “Pretty legit!”
I nearly pissed myself, it was so comical. Next up to bat was me. We were adding on to an already begun journey along my arm. All the tattoos that Adam has done for me have been based on what I’ve seen in dreams, down to the location. This was extending the first part of a Black Jaguar, Black Panther that I’d seen crawling up my arm in a dream. It would be my 7th custom tattoo on 7/07 of all days, very symbolic indeed.
I laid out on the table and Andy walks up and says: “Dude that’s going to hurt!” After the episode earlier and the subsequent discussion that alot of it was mental, I was like: “F@ck, why would you say that right when it’s going to start?” Andy and I ended up talking about rib cage tattoos and how that is awful but that this would hurt as well, which was honest and I respect that. Nothing so far has compared to the rib cage tattoo but this one was no joke.
“Here that rattle? That’s the needle hitting the bone.” Adam says with a grin as the outline of grazed the elbow. I don’t recall now if that was the worst part, it definitely wasn’t tea though that’s for sure. This was the first time I didn’t ask for a break while getting a tattoo. It was also the most that I’ve ever watched of one get done, a fascinating process. Amazing in a sense that I don’t like getting shots but can do this. I suppose the mind is a funny beast, lol, just ask our cheery friend from earlier.
“Just keep talking to Andy.” Adam said. Andy and I trained Jiu-Jitsu for a short time so we always end up talking about training. We also know some of the same people because of that and yeah. He eventually left and I just gazed up at the ceiling in between watching the tattoo machine paint my arm. The last time I was on this table it was to finish up the second part of a lion idea I’d dreamed of the night I had gotten my first tattoo, my oath to choosing love over fear, as fear had paralyzed me in so many ways and I my spiritual crisis went full bloom. It’s been a short/fast/long, jam packed year since. Each tattoo telling an intricate part of the tale, serving as a reminder of who I was and how far I’ve traveled in conscious growth.
When the tattoo was completed, I could only smile. This was one of the more painful tattoos I went through, right behind the rib cage. It was very draining as well. The location on the elbow and the inside of the arm along the joint made it feel like the Being was burying its claws into my arm. That made it mean even more. My lions are just heads and though this doesn’t show the complete body, it is the most part of anything that I have other than words. I am excited to see the finished product but this one means alot and it is very satisfying.
Every tattoo shows the ingenuity of Adam’s vision and I am amazed each time at how something can start as a stencil and come to life. It is so amazing because I think in words, not images and to see how this flows together from what I shared and how he crafted it is priceless to me. How it looks like the body is connected is (insert crazy way to describe here). To feel it climbing my arm, as it had done in the dream so long ago is beyond description. I’ve been telling the Universe that I have paid my dues this lifetime, the last year the climax. I’m ready for the Dark Night of the Soul to pass and this ritual was most welcome, most needed in my healing.
Much thanks to the 434 Tattoo Ohana and the rest of the cast for making my last tattoo meaningful and filled with a laugh that will last beyond this lifetime.