Tattoos and Trials


Curing writer's block. Courtesy of @azusatakano


You guys sent me your suggestions on what to write and so this month, I'm dedicating one blog post per topic. Enjoy!


I got my first tattoo the day I turned 17. I was underaged and my best friend, Gio, drove from San Diego to my parent's place about 3 hours north, to San Bernadino and back for my birthday.

We got our first tattoos together. He got his company's name on his wrists in black and red whereas I got birds of a feather above my right hip. It was supposed to be filled in until I got a call from my parents who wanted me home ASAP. To this day I never got it filled in and I don't think I ever will. I think I've developed a liking for outlined tattoos.


For me, that tattoo had a number of meanings. When I was in the Philippines two years prior, I had a henna of it done in the same place to see if I would like it. The artist at the time said it was simple yet complicated. Kinda like me.
I had been battling with health issues often and around that time and for me, my tattoo meant "Nankuranaisa", which means "It gets better in the end." I actually adopted this saying from my favorite anime, Blood+. I've always felt super embarrassed admitting that but this tattoo was a symbol of strength and determination.


My mom first saw it and immediately I told her that it was a henna that just lasts longer than usual. Three weeks later, she walked in on me and for weeks, I was lectured to no end. But I never said anything. I sat there waiting for them to run out of breath because in the end, they couldn't change anything about it.
It was permanent.


My second tattoo I had gotten about 2-3 years ago by Manny Pacquaio and Lloyd's tattoo artist. Oddly enough, it was in his garage, which almost immediately made me want to turn around. After traveling all that way, I couldn't chicken out now. I was with my (sorority) big for safety precautions.
I remember wanting this tattoo so badly, I had saved up and waited for months just to get it. I got cherry blossoms, which were drawn by N Pugh. I had stumbled upon her drawing years ago on Tumblr and found myself reblogging it whenever I saw it. I had this odd attraction to it and I could never stop thinking about it that I knew I had to get it.


Aside from the fact, I couldn't find any cherry blossom image that WASN'T basic and watercolored. I wanted something truly unique. I couldn't settle for something that was gonna be on me forever.
Unfortunately, the image wouldn't show up when printed when my artist tried placing it on my skin. Instead he copied it himself and ensured that it was placed so the piece flowed with the contours of my arm.
If you look carefully, he also drew the details of the piece in grey instead of making it all black, which gave it dimension.
I. Loved. It.


Cherry blossoms are a symbol of peace and as a kid, I always dreamt about visiting Japan in its cherry blossom season and even getting married beneath them.

Even more so, some of my flowers aren't completely blossomed, which is a reminder that there's always room to grow. The fact that the flowers are attached to stems also means that I must stick to my roots and that my family and friends are the ones who will always support me. They're my foundation. This piece is really for them.


Dress via Zaful / Hat via Miss Pap / Shoes via Public Desire


But my parents didn't think the same. They wanted me to cover up whenever I was at home so my sisters didn't see and think I was a bad role model. It wasn't until my relatives kept wanting to see that my parents eventually got desensitized to it. At this point, they don't want me to get any more.


At this point, I don't think I have much surface area left to get another big tattoo. However, me and my best friend, Steph, have been wanting to get lavender tattooed together. The lavender would be crossing and between them would be a moon.
For me, I'm a Cancer and I'm controlled by the moon whereas she is a Leo, an earth sign. With that, we are yin and yang. The lavender and its color represents royalty and elegance, which is something we really think each other as.


For anyone interested in getting a tattoo, I would advise to do your research on what you want and your artist. I made sure to think about my next piece for a couple months to a year before getting it.
Honestly, I think it's dumb when people ask others what they should get. You're the only one who knows what fits you and what image/phrase works for you. Just ensure that you won't regret it and that you're safe in getting it.


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Photography by Justin Quebral