Confession: I was a bigoted needle-phobe. I had issues with both needles and tattoos. (If you want to call passing out when I get blood draws, IV’s or, shots a problem…Bonus TMI: my husband says I make weird noises when I pass out. Apparently, I’m entertaining. )
So how on earth did THIS happen? Well- I started a journey a few years ago to get over my bigotries, just one of which was- people with Tattoos. Yes. Really.
I know. It’s 2014. I never pretended to not have more issues than the Wall Street Journal. Anyway- I thought tattoos were um… well-de classe’ would be the nicest way to put it. Trashy might be more accurate.
Then I saw a girl at the nail shop. And after totally writing her off as a hooch for her tattoo at a glance…(Okay- then I was staring and possibly glaring.) I realized her tattoo was the tiny foot prints of her infant. Honestly? It was beautiful.
And I REALLY wanted to know the story behind it. However- I’d missed my chance. MY staring and glaring and judginess didn’t go un noticed. when I tried to talk to her- I got the Elsa from “Frozen” treatment.
I decided that day to get over this stupidness. More than that- I wanted to have a visual reminder to not judge again. And a point of connection- a commitment to reach out and love those I’d been so judgmental against.
I had no idea that first tiny tattoo I got on vacation in Hawaii- (Never do that, btw. Always research both your shop and artist.) would make such a difference in my life.
Sure- it gave me a reminder. It gave me a point of connection. All of which sounds kind of calculated and weird. But when I got home- I realized I wanted the piece re-worked so it could be better recognized. (My first piece was a tiny branch with a nest and 3 eggs and some blossoms. So small it looked like a spider web from eye level. But it was very meaningful.)
Which is when I met Cee Jay Jones. I totally believe meeting Cee Jay was a God thing. We connected right away. She turned my spider web into something beautiful. Something that shares my faith and family without being all screamy.
I had no idea that getting that piece re-worked would lead to a life changing event.
More than getting over my bigotries. (Which it has. Now I see ink as just another way people share their stories and messages. I put mine on paper- and the internet- others put their on skin.) It’s changed how I feel about: myself. Who knew?
Fast forward to a few failed neck surgeries- and I’m left with what I saw as a horrid scar. Up the back of my neck. I’m a short hair girl. NOT a good look.
Kids asked questions about it. It creeped them and me- out.
I went to Cee Jay for help. Cee Jay turned what was ugly into something beautiful and meaningful. She put the “seal” of completion on that part of my journey by covering my scar- with my story. I don’t feel ugly. I love that it peeks out of my collar and shows some sass. I love that instead of asking abut my scar- people ask about my ink.
I also love the surprised look people get when they see a back piece on a conservative Christian Soccer mom. “Wha?”
I love that the first comment I got on my first tattoo was: “That’s not sleazy at all.”
WHY? Because it’s not just my bigotries or stereotypes that have been shattered. So have my husbands. He now sports a Cee Jay created eagle with bacon in it’s talons on his shoulder. A reminder the when we wait on God- we soar. (With a side of bacon. Because: bacon.) And many other people who see and ask about, my ink.
After hours and hours in that tattoo chair- I no longer freak over every needle related medical thing. (De-sensitization- I has it.) I also gained a good friend. Someone I have more in common with than just- ink. She’s more than a tattooist- she’s just plain incredible. A mom who works her butt off to tell people’s stories and create art. On skin.
She’s also a woman in what can be a pretty brutal -man’s industry. A roller derby a**kicker. A health nut. A woman of compassion and integrity who I am proud to call friend.
Someone who’s changed my life by sharing hers- and her talent.
Today- I want to invite YOU to help change HER life. Cee Jay is an award winning Artist who’s been on TV program’s and is working on a hysterical and terrific book project.
She’s also opening a new shop- and needs YOUR help. Our help.
Making beautiful art that changes lives and is a reflection of the person who wears it.
I hope you’ll consider clicking to help her build her new shop. You never know who’s life she’ll touch next.
Follow Cee Jay on FaceBook- and you’ll be able to watch your part in building her happy place- Happy Clam Studios- in action.