A favorite tattoo and my first here in Washington

One of my favorite tattoos is an excerpt written by Daniell Koepke.  I also really love the story of how I got this tattoo.  I will post the actual excerpt at the end of this blog.

One day I came across this excerpt that was SOOO relevant to how I feel.  It is fairly long, but I knew that I wanted this on my body. I had lived in Washington for a few months and didn't know any artists at this point.  I went around to several different shops to see if this was something I could get in the way I wanted it.

Pretty much everyone told me they would need my entire back to do this tattoo properly.  Unfortunately, I don't have my entire back, or even half my back, or any space on my body that large for this tattoo.  And then, I found Michael Gardner at Tattoo Gardens in Everett, Washington.

He too, explained that the tattoo really should be quite large.  And, he also explained that I am an adult and if I know the possible outcomes of the tattoo's lifetime, if this is truly something I want, he would do it.

We set up an appointment for a month or two down the road when our schedules aligned.  I will forever remember this day.  It was absolutely perfect!  He has his own space and he is the only artist that works from there.  (Most tattoos I have gotten are in a shop with multiple people around.)  I am generally an introvert and a woman of few words (yes, I know, I'm writing all sorts of words on this blog.....but trust me....it is not often I 'speak' so much.....unless I am super excited and passionate about the topic haha).

I arrived on the day of the appointment.  It was a hot summer day, July maybe?  I was wearing shorts and a tank top because it was so hot.  Usually during tattoos I wear as many clothes as possible because I get extremely cold during the process.  Michael positioned the stencil and I checked it out in the mirror, I was so STOKED to be getting this!  The large window in the space was open, letting a slight breeze in.  He had a playlist running that was some of the most chill music I had heard in a long time.  I don't listen to a whole lot of music other than instrumental.  He began working and was so calm and cool.  He didn't talk much with me, which I super appreciated.  He was focused, and busy at work.  A song came on sometime in, Resilient by Rising Appalachia.  I had never heard of this group before, but WOW, what an aMaZing fucking song!!!  I text myself some lyrics so I could remember and look them up when I got home!  The entire environment was so delicious.  The warm sweet air, the slight breeze that was gently warm and felt good with the movement, the lack of word exchange, the calming good vibe music in the background, knowing that I was getting these words placed on my body that felt so good to me, the extremely long nap that I got to take during this six hour tattoo.....all of it, so good, and so fitting to the words I had chosen to place on myself. 

Everything about that experience is exactly how I would have chosen things to be.  And of course it was that way, because I was putting powerful intentions out into the world with the excerpt I was in the process of permanently getting placed onto my body.

And now....for the excerpt:

"Most of my life has been spent trying to shrink myself.  Trying to become smaller.  Quieter.  Less sensitive.  Less opinionated.  Less needy.  Less me.  Because I didn't want to be a burden.  I didn't want to be too much or push people away.  I wanted people to like me.  I wanted to be cared for and valued.  I wanted to be wanted.  So for years, I sacrificed myself for the sake of making other people happy.  And for years, I suffered.  But I'm tired of suffering, and I'm done shrinking.  It's not my job to change who I am in order to become someone else's idea of a worthwhile human being.  I am worthwhile.  Not because other people think I am, but because I exist, and therefore I matter.  My thoughts matter.  My feelings matter.  My voice matters.  And with or without anyone's permission or approval, I will continue to be who I am and speak my truth.  Even if it makes people angry.  Even if it makes them uncomfortable.  Even if they choose to leave.  I refuse to shrink.  I choose to take up space.  I choose to honor my feelings.  I choose to give myself permission to get my needs met.  I choose to make self-care a priority.  I choose me" -Daniell Koepke

And this....is where I get the name for my business....I Choose Myself LLC :)