1.OHMYGOD IT LOOKS AWESOME. Also, red. Is the skin supposed to be that red? It’s like mardi gras for my capillaries right now.


2. Time to share it on every social media platform known to man, so that everyone will appreciate my edginess and excellent artistic taste. Forget to tag the artist. Delete tweet. Try again. Forget to tag shop. Feel bad.


3. Time for a beer. I survived pain, hardened the fuck up, endured the agony. I must tell others of the moment where I thought I was going to pass out BUT DIDN’T.


4. Bandage coming off…wow, that’s gross. Is it supposed to be that gunky? It looks like the tattoo is trying to crawl out my skin.


5. Contemplate phoning artist to check. Dial her. Hang up before it rings.


6. Holy shit, it’s sensitive. Washing it is like trying to handle a newborn wolverine.


7. First night. Terrified of rolling over. Wake up thirty times convinced that tattoo has permanently adhered to my sleep-shirt and that it will rip the damn thing right off my body.


8. What the hell is this white stuff?!?


9. The scabbing has started. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing.


10. Definitely good thing. Go online to check.


11. Should not have gone online. SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE ONLINE. Now I don’t know what it means.


12. Scabbing has gotten worse. It’s OK. Breathe. Wash it again, apply cream. Just be cool.


13. so very very sensitive oh my what I don’t ow ow ow


14. Second night. Terrified I will rip scabs off. By now the tattoo feels like liquid spandex adhered to my skin.


15. Scabs are a lot bigger. It looks like my body has decided to armour itself in preparation for a battle. Feel momentarily hardcore before realising just how gross it is.


16. The scabs are actually distorting the tattoo. How is that even possible?




17. One of the scabs has turned green. This is fascinating, as the tattoo is entirely black.


18. It’s not infected. Thank god. It’s just being weird.


19. It’s definitely infected. I looked it up online and it’s going septic and how did this happen and my arm is going to fall off and I will be disfigured and die alone and friendless and WHY ME


20. Frantic email exchange with the artist, who says she’s never heard of anything like it before.


21. Decide to do nothing.


22. Now every scab is green. Cower in the corner for a few minutes, rocking back and forth.


23. Further email exchange. Call from tattoo shop, who tell me to stop washing the tattoo so damn much and just be cool.


24. I’m being cool. I’m ice cold. Frigid. Nothing stresses me out. I totally do not keep sneaking glances at the tattoo while I’m supposed to be working.


25. Itching has started. I can handle this.


26. If I don’t scratch this thing soon I’m going to claw my eyes out.


27. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.


28. It’s started flaking. Hooray! No infection! The skin is healing! On the downside, I now look like I have a horrible skin disease. Apartment is ankle-deep in bits of dried epidermis.


29. Can I shower with it now? No? Shit.


30. Wife refuses to look at me if I don’t have a shirt on.


31. The itching has reached crisis-level proportions.


32. Scabs are coming off. This is weirdly fascinating. Consider ordering collar which delivers electric shocks every time I touch it.


33. It’s going to be OK. Walk around smiling like I just got told I won the lottery, with the news delivered by a naked Scarlett Johansson.


34. Wait, what…what the hell is that? The skin is all shiny and shit! When is that supposed to happen? Feel like I just found out the lottery ticket was one number out and that Scarlett Johansson was actually Donald Trump in disguise.


35. Is it faded? It looks faded. I’m sure it’s faded.


36. Last tiny little bits of flaky skin coming off. Well, most of them. One or two will stay there until judgement day.


37. Show tat in public for the first time. Try to gauge reactions of strangers. Mildly irked when they don’t display any.


38. Skype friends and show off the tat. They are mildly impressed. Mentally write them off Christmas card list.

39. Look in mirror and go, damn that’s cool. Regret nothing.


40. Begin planning the next one.




Thanks to Crystal at Liquid Amber Tattoo in Vancouver for being an awesome artist and for not minding me bombarding her email inbox!


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