Tatted Tales

By Elie - 3:00 PM

With the year 2021 ending in just a mere 2 weeks away, I decided that this would be a blog post for the books to proudly document that I've... 

Gone and got myself a tattoo

That's right! It came as a bit of a surprise to a lot of my friends, but it's been something that I've been thinking of for a long time running. Of course, the decision to get something this permanent on my body was something I had to mull over for a while. But one morning I woke up and figured that if it were something I felt was special enough to me then I should just go ahead and do it. Also because I really wanted to do something really rash before I turned the big 3-0 next year.

Being the first ink of my life, I'd wanted it to be something that was frankly just a touch cheesy. I had a really long debate with myself on what I wanted on my skin, and an even longer time convincing myself to call my parents because I quite particularly needed them to "design" the tattoo - a combination of their handwritings to form my name in Chinese. 

Fresh off the chair 

While the original idea sounded decent - because I had 3 syllables to my name and it would fit just right if I wrote my surname and had them each write one character to form the full tattoo; the outcome didn't look as good as I had imagined. My dad's handwriting was far too strong to be paired with my mum's almost Chinese calligraphy-like writing. In the end, we collectively agreed that we would only go with my mum's work of art.

On the flip side, my other challenge was to find an artist in the heart of Amsterdam who could do Chinese tattooing and in a style I liked. Granted, it looked simple enough to be writing in Chinese, I wanted someone who seemed like they would know how to handle the odd strokes that came from my mum's fluttery writing or at least mimic about 90% of it.

And boy did I get lucky. This part of the post may sound sponsored, but I can assure you that I paid a full €150 for this tattoo that I'm absolutely obsessed with. Not only did the artist share the name of one of my closest friends, she was the nicest and friendliest when dealing with my 101 questions before, during, and after the tattoo session. Honestly, I asked her randomly stupid things like, "Can I still walk around town after the session or do I have to go home and rest?" and she took it like a champ. 

That said, if anyone's looking to get a tattoo in Amsterdam, I highly recommend Heather from The 9 Muses Tattoo.  

After developing for 3 days

On the day of, I had a number of friends wondering why I decided to do what I did and for the most of it, I'd only mentioned that it was my name in Chinese, written by my mum and I wanted to immortalise it. What I didn't mention was that it felt like a path for me to start loving the name my parents had chosen for me. 

Growing up, I've had many people laugh at my Chinese name because it was likened to a Taiwanese film of the same name from 1965. It also didn't help that the character was really pitiful and cried a lot; something I did a lot as a child. The crying part, not quite the pity part obviously. Eventually, I stopped telling people what my name was in Chinese even friends or colleagues asked because I felt shy about it. 

Being far from home for 2 years in the running without an opportunity to return, however, made me rethink these feelings that haunted me. At some point, I figured that if this was the name my parents thought fit me well, I wanted to wear it loud and proud on my sleeve wrist - quite literally. Today as I document this, I'm proud to say I haven't loved my Chinese name this much in my life ever and think it's the best decision I've made. 

And so that's that for my tatted tale, or at least for the first part of it. I've once heard that getting tattooed can be quite addictive and I can see the charm behind it. For now though, I think I'll let this piece heal before I pray hard enough that I can go home for my second tattoo - this time with something by my dad. Until then, this is it from 林婉君 this time.

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