Epilepsy

Behind The Ink – Epilepsy Awareness Tattoo

“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” —  Johnny Depp

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I had began at just three tattoos. That was going to be the extent of my inkwork on my body. The tattoos that I had, I had strategically placed so that if I wanted, I could conceal them and no one would ever know that I had tattoos at all. However, if I wanted, I could reveal them and explain the story behind the tattoo. I like tattoos! I think they’re awesome and tell so much of a persons journey in life. Some people have a couple tattoos, some people are covered literally head to toe in inkwork. As for me, I’m an ink sparingly kinda girl.

A short time period after becoming diagnosed with epilepsy and beginning my journey as an epilepsy advocate, I thought long and hard and made the decision that I wanted one more tattoo commemorating this very journey with epilepsy. I went to my husband and told him of my idea and with love and support he completely understood. He decided to help me create an ideal design to take to the tattoo artist who inked my other tattoos that I’d gotten.

When the day had arrived to be inked, of course I was absolutely nervous. It was like approaching the front of the line at the biggest roller coaster at the theme park. I’d been through this three other times, however you forget what the process feels like when it’s been a while. I chose to have my tattoo placed over an old tiny tattoo from years ago. A cover-up. On my right leg above my ankle. The tattoo artist designing the tattoo for me that was a real laid back guy who was amazingly interested to wanting to know the backstory of the design of my tattoo. As he flipped the switch and the tattoo gun kicked into gear, it reminded me of once again, when the roller coaster guns forward and up that gigantic first hill. As the tattoo artist raises his gloved hand with the buzzing tattoo gun in hand saying, “Here we go!”

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As the needle hit the skin, just like taking the dive down that first roller coaster hill, sure it makes your eyes open a little wider but I believe I have a higher pain tolerance than most. However, I tend to scream like crazy on coasters. In the case of the tattooing, it wasn’t so bad. It stung, yes. Tattooing stings. There’s no lying about that. If you get a tattoo, it will sting. A lot. My husband, sitting next to me often asked if I needed water or a break and in reply, I’d shake my head, “No, I’m good.” Astonished that I was actually having this creation happen before my very eyes. Yes, this would be my very last tattoo. I couldn’t see much from the angle I was at but from what I could see, she was a beaut.

When the outline had been complete and it was time to take a break, I was given a few moments to rest and was given the opportunity to see the tattoo thus far. I was completely and profoundly amazed!

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It was everything I had envisioned, dreamed it would be, prayed it would be, worked on with my loving husband Chris to create it to be and it wasn’t even yet finished. How incredible? Was it worth the stinging pain? Yes. Was I ready to hop back up on that table and take on some more pain to see the finished product? Oh yes. HaHa!

The time had come to put the color into the tattoo and I couldn’t had been more excited for that. I was extremely pleased that not only was my tattoo artist a great tattoo artist but he was also taking exceptional care to want to make it a great tattoo and want to understand more about the backstory of the tattoo.

When it was time for the big reveal of the finished Epilepsy Awareness Inkwork, I was both elated and nervous all stirred into one. I hopped off of the table taking my husbands hand, closing my eyes, stood in front of the mirror and was completely jaw dropped with amazement.

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So, what was the inspiration behind my Epilepsy Awareness tattoo?

“Rising above the storm clouds, embracing all things beautiful wonderful and lovely in life and not allowing Epilepsy to steal my sunshine.” — Tiffany Kairos

It was the biggest brightest tattoo that I had inked on my body with the most profound inspirational history behind it and I was so proud in looking at it at that very moment. It was worth every stinging sensation that I felt getting tattooed. It was completely worth it.

It will be my very last tattoo that I get inked upon me and I reveal it as often as I am able to so that I can share the backstory behind it. I talk about Epilepsy on a daily basis regardless. However, if this particular inkwork is mentioned, I’m always eager and willing to share the backstory behind it.

How many of you have Epilepsy Awareness Ink? What is the story behind your epilepsy awareness ink? Is it something you’re still considering? I in no way want to push anyone one way or the other. This is a personal decision that I’ve made for myself.

However, just in case, here are

21 Things You Need To Know Before Getting A Tattoo (Courtesy Of Cosmopolitan.com)

  1. Don’t use Google or Pinterest when looking for a tattoo idea. Unless you want your tattoo to look like everyone else’s. So many feather tattoos. So. Many. Feather tattoos.
  2. Instead, scour Instagram for inspiration or to help you find an artist you’d like to use. Most tattoo artists use their Instagram feeds as portfolios to showcase their recent work and the pieces they’re most proud of. If you find an artist you’re really drawn to but don’t know what to get, reach out to them and ask for their input. Many tattoo artists have tons of designs they’ve created on the side and are dying to tattoo on people. Also, read Yelp reviews. Customers don’t hold back on those, good or bad.
  3. If you’re allergic to a particular lipstick or eyeshadow, you might also get an allergic reaction from a tattoo. Sometimes the same compounds found in the pigments of tattoo ink are also found in certain makeup formulas. If you’ve had a reaction to an eyeshadow pigment in the past, have your dermatologist run some tests beforehand to see what kinds of ink you should avoid.
  4. The most famous artists have a waiting list. A well-known tattoo artist could have a waiting list up to a year or longer. If you’re obsessed with the artist, then wait. Otherwise, find a more low-key artist who is just as talented — you’ll also save quite a bit of money that way.
  5. Unlike at most places of business, a tattoo artist doesn’t have to help you if they don’t want. They can and will send a customer away based on grounds as simple as “bad vibes.” They do enough business that they can choose whom they want to work with.
  6. A good tattoo isn’t cheap, and a cheap tattoo isn’t good. The price of a tattoo depends on the size, area of the body you want covered, and the artist, but typically a good tattoo will cost you anywhere from $50 for a tiny design to a few month’s rent for more elaborate art.
  7. Prices are non-negotiable. You really can’t bargain with a tattoo artist on the set price he or she charges for a tattoo. Just like how you can’t bargain with the salesperson at Bloomingdale’s.
  8. Visit the shop before you go get your tattoo. Check that the place looks clean, they have good artwork on the walls, the staff is friendly, and then schedule a consultation with the artist to talk about pricing and any questions you might have. You can (and should!) also ask to see the artist’s state tattoo license to make sure he or she has completed the necessary safety course on blood-borne pathogens (i.e., HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, etc.).
  9. A good tattoo comes out of good communication. Don’t be shy. Most tattoo ideas are a collaboration between the customer and the artist. Let the artist know what aspects of the tattoo you’re not willing to change and where you’re flexible. Just like a haircut, if you don’t speak up, you’ll get something you didn’t want. But unlike a bad haircut, a tattoo doesn’t grow out.
  10. If you’re getting a tattoo with words, proofread. Don’t get too wrapped up in looking at a tattoo as a whole and forget to pay attention to detail. You and the tattoo artist will probably make a few edits during the sketching and stenciling process, so make sure you spellcheck after each round of edits. No one wants to be a walking typo.
  11. Your ribs and feet will hurt the most. So if you were planning on getting both of those areas tattooed, maybe you should reconsider or bring along some Advil to take after your appointment (taking it before will thin your blood and possibly make you bleed more during the process).
  12. Designs on your hands and feet will fade the fastest. Skin regenerates more quickly on your hands and feet because you use them so much during the day, so the ink doesn’t last as long. Keep that in mind before you lay down a few hundred bucks.
  13. You can get just about every part of your body tattooed.
  14. The most difficult part of your body to tattoo is the area between your shoulder and your hip. Tattooing the torso area usually requires a lot of breaks for both the artist and the customer because it’s an incredibly sensitive, and therefore painful, spot, and you have to keep your breathing steady so you don’t pass out.
  15. Before a tattoo session, get a good night’s sleep, eat a full meal, and don’t go in hungover or drunk. You know, just like what teachers say to do before an exam. You’ll need energy to tolerate the pain of a tattoo, and you should stay away from alcohol because it’ll thin your blood and make you bleed more during the process.
  16. Getting a tattoo feels nothing like getting a shot. If you’re really afraid of needles, you’ll probably still want to pass on a tattoo. But if you imagine the sensation of a tattoo as being similar to how to feels when a nurse draws blood, that’s not the case. A tattoo needle doesn’t go very deep into the skin like a shot does, but that doesn’t mean it’s pain-free either. Realistically, it feels like a touch of pain coupled with an annoying, intense vibration and the sensation that someone is dragging a needle across your skin. Because that’s exactly what they’re doing.
  17. Most likely you’ll feel the pain lessen after about 15 minutes. Your adrenaline will start kicking in around this time and help manage some of the pain. Most tattooists will only work in two-hour sessions at a time, so if you have a very large design, you’ll have to schedule a couple of appointments two weeks apart, first for the outline and then to complete the shading.
  18. While the tattoo is healing, it’ll scab like a cut and feel sensitive like a sunburn. Right when it’s finished, the tattoo will look perfect. After a couple of days, it’ll start to dry out a little bit and might peel like a sunburn. You also might get a few scabs, but it’s important not to pick at them or it won’t heal correctly. After two weeks, it should be all healed if you’ve kept it clean properly and moisturized with unscented lotion.
  19. You’re not allowed to be in any body of water for two weeks after your tattoo is completely finished, and you have to stay out of the sun. It takes about two weeks for the tattoo to heal completely, so during that time, stick to just showers, and steer clear of your bath tub, any hot tubs, pools, lakes — you get the idea — to prevent infection. Then, after your tattoo is totally healed, you’ll need to slather that sucker with sunscreen forever to prevent the colors from breaking down and fading.
  20. Laser tattoo removal hurts worse than any kind of tattoo. If you can’t decide whether you want a tattoo or not, wait. You can always get one in the future. But if you get a picture of a donut tattooed around your bellybutton and decide 10 years later that was a horrible (albeit awesome at the time) idea, you only have one very painful option to get rid of it: laser removal, which hurts like hell and works best when removing black ink. Of course, you can always cover it up with another design, but there’s no telling if your original tattoo will be salvageable.
  21. Many artists will touch up your tattoos for life. If a portion of it didn’t heal right or you have some discoloration down the road and want to get it touched up, pay your artist a visit. He or she will probably be more than happy to fix any imperfections either for free or a nominal charge.

 “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” ― Jack London

This is my Epilepsy Awareness tattoo, its history and the journey I am on in the name of Epilepsy Awareness!

I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!

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