A few weeks ago I posted about my trip to the Philippines and Thailand in February. In my post, I promised that I'd write about my tattoo adventure with my friend Elspeth. And an adventure it was!
On one of our nights in Thailand, Elspeth, Ken and I ventured to Patong to do a little "partying" if you will. Patong is definitely known as the party island on Phuket. Lots of bars, loud music, lights, dancing, and LADYBOYS! We had some dinner and scoped out the Ladyboy Shows that were happening that night (think cabaret meets drag queens). We found a decent one, got a seat and a drink and enjoyed the show A LOT! I don't think I've laughed that hard since leaving Thailand.
All week, Elspeth and I had been joking about getting ridiculous henna "tramp stamp" tattoos. I won't tell you what we were going to get because it is extremely embarrassing and maybe even a little offensive. It's an inside joke, we think it's funny, and I'll keep it between the two of us (and the other select people we told who would maybe think it's funny, or just think we are stupid). So, after the show, we were on a high and started looking for henna tattoo parlours. We found one, and when I saw that the henna could stay on for up to 3 weeks, I was out! I didn't want to go back to China with some stupid henna tattoo on my lower back for people to possibly see. I also had an irrational fear that my fair skin would take differently to the tattoo and it would leave a permanent tinge on my skin. No thank you!
So, we found a perch at a bar and got some tequila shots. You know what they say: "One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, LETS GET A REAL TATTOO!" Yes, that makes complete sense. I was afraid to get a henna tattoo of some stupid hashtag (yes, it was a hashtag...but I won't tell you what of, sorry!) but let's get real, permanent tattoos of something I actually want. Makes sense, but at the same time doesn't. Elspeth was on board, but we both agreed we wanted to go somewhere clean and not sketchy.
We got our phones and started researching tattoo parlours in Patong. We found one that was owned by an Australian with nothing but positive, rave reviews. Turns out, it was just around the corner from where we were sitting. We assured Ken we would "be right back," that we were just going to check it out and make an appointment. We assumed it would be busy and they wouldn't be able to take a walk-in. Surprise! Once we found it, there was not a soul inside except for two of the artists. Mind you, it was after 11pm at night and most people were half in the bag by then. We timidly walked in and asked if we could get tattoos. They asked what we wanted and how big they were. We got the okay to do them then and there. This is where I started getting some cold sweats and my knees started to shake a little bit. I'm not one to be spontaneous on this level. Elspeth said she would go first and I could think about it some more. She promised she wouldn't be mad if I backed out, but we both agreed it would be a much better story if we BOTH came back to China with tattoos.
While Elspeth got a beautiful elephant tattoo on the back of her neck, I hummed and hawed, messaged my best friend Sara at home about my crazy idea, and then finally decided to just DO IT! I had been thinking about this tattoo idea for a little while and figured it was a good time to do it. Especially with the meaning behind it.
During my fourth year of university, I started developing this desire and want to travel and see the world. My whole life I've always wanted to travel, but I think I was too much of an introvert to follow through. But something happened in my fourth year; this drive appeared within me. It scared me at first, mostly because I didn't like the thought of being so far away from my loved ones. But what scared me more was the thought of living a life where I didn't know what was outside of my comfort zone. A life where I was jaded and blinded to different cultures, to history, to the "other." This world is so big and there is so much to see. How could I go through life only knowing my little corner of the world? Ultimately, in my mind, life is so unpredictable. We are ever changing and growing. Who knows where I'll be in a year, 5 years, 10 years? What I do know, is that if you had told 18 year old Melissa fresh out of high school that this would be her life at 26, I'd have laughed in your face.
This is my tattoo. It's simple and it's on my right ankle. It's perfect and exactly what I wanted. It symbolizes my drive to explore. It represents the unpredictability of life, and it reminds me that there is still so much of this world left for me to see.
So, while the decision to get the tattoo was quite spontaneous, I'm beyond happy that I did it.
PS - HOME IN 13 DAYS!
PS - HOME IN 13 DAYS!