So I got a little tattoo

So I got a full sleeve - here's the story behind my bear tattoo

This post was a long time coming! I actually wrote the post after my tattoo was finished but kept forgetting to have Kristopher take photos of me. I didn’t have a fancy outfit or hair and makeup but while we were at the Gathering Place in Tulsa I actually remembered AND we had the camera so we rolled with it. I figure you’re not here for fashion anyway. That’s not exactly my expertise unless you count yoga pants as fashion.

Side note: If you’re ever in Tulsa check out the Gathering Place! Memphis had a blast. There are things to do for kids and adults.

OK, back to the story behind the ink.

I put a lot of thought into my half sleeve — the elephant that has lived on my upper left arm since 2015. Story on that is here, if you're interested.

Elephant lotus half sleeve tattoo

I love him. He reminds me how far I've come, up until I got him and now since that turning point in my life.

As time went on, I decided he seemed lonely. He needed a friend. I went from being anxious about a half sleeve to eager for a full sleeve. I knew I wanted to go to the same artist. But I didn't know what to get. So I just had the idea in my mind and figured I'd know when the time was right.

My half sleeve commemorated a life transition after completing my yoga teacher training. Obviously, I recently had another major life transition — Memphis made me a mom. Not only that, a stay-at-home mom.

You don't have to go through a major life transition to get a tattoo, that's for sure. But I do like that the art on my arm marks these significant points in my life. Like my body tells my story.

Anyway, here she is. A beautiful yet fierce momma bear.

Momma bear forearm tattoo

Carlos (the artist) suggested using flowers to fill the space and tie into the rest of the sleeve. I did some Googling and the internet told me that pink carnations symbolize motherhood. So there is meaning behind the carnations ... kind of ... but mostly I just think they look pretty. Ain't nothin' wrong with that!

Here are the questions I get asked the most — mostly by strangers in the grocery store — and the answers.

Did it hurt?

This question makes me giggle. I want to say, "No, it felt amazing!"

Of course it hurt. Tattoos don't exactly feel good.

But you know, it's worth it, and it's tolerable. I will say it hurt worse than the upper arm. The bicep was the most painful for me (getting it and healing), and I expected the wrist and the ditch — your inner elbow crease — to hurt more than they did, so that was good. Also, it hurt way less than childbirth. I reminded myself of this often.

How long did it take?

Four sessions. Some sessions were longer than others, but they were 4-6 hours each. Memphis hung out with his auntie or Grandma during my appointments.

Has she [the bear] ever killed anybody?

Only one person asked me this but it's a hilarious question so I'm including it. She prefers not to use violence unless necessary but the answer is yes. Only when someone has tried to mess with her baby. 

Are you done?

Nope. Now I feel like I'm imbalanced haha. I'm not in a rush to get more work done. Because I don't know what I'd want and because you obviously pay artists to put their work on your body ... so momma's gotta recoup her tattoo fund. So we'll see when it happens. Maybe it will be after another life transition. Or not. I don't really have a plan yet. I just know I'm not done.

Maybe my next one will go outside of the animal kingdom. Who knows. I have time to sort it all out. :)

Living WellCara McDonaldtattoo