Tough as Tears

Got tattooed on Saturday!  Two words:  Holy.  Fuck.

Mental note: gain back the 12+ pounds lost doing the 30 Day Shred and P90 before next session.  Any padding over my ribby back would be welcome.  In fact, gain 30 pounds, soley by eating cream cheese icing and other soft cheese confections.  For fun.

So I got a giant Kali mask tattooed on my back.  We have a giant Kali mask that hangs at the foot of our bed.  It was a wedding present that we bought ourselves.  She is beautiful, violent.  I am not particularly interested in Hindi or Tantra, but I find her image powerful and I particularly enjoyed looking down at her while I gave birth to Maggie in my bed.  While all of my tattoos mean something to me, mostly I just want to look at them.  Because they make me laugh, make me thankful, make me happy.  Nothing I can overly articulate.  I just LIKE them, I like BEING tattooed.  I am not all “every BODY has a story” (thank you for that one, Kat VonD, ahem).   It’s okay to get tattooed just because.

And so I do.

My tattoo session for the Kali outline was longer than my labor with Meeps.  Not kidding.

It hurt.   A lot.  I was quite sure that spread 9 was actually penetrating my ribs, and filleting the top of my ass.  Anyone who says tattoos don’t hurt probably does not have any in their ditches, their throats, their ribs.  Anyone who says tattoos don’t hurt has small tattoos.

Like labor, once you start you have to finish.  There is no turning back.  Like labor, every time the needle lifts, or the contraction stops, there is no discomfort.  Everything is clear.  You just hold on… let go… be ready to dive back into the waves.

The first few hours were OK.  I got by and sat still doing Ina May Gaskin’s “loose lips” breathing.   But by the last hour I was worn out and there was nothing but pain.  I had no energy left and it was at the part where it just feels like torture.  Scott’s friend and #1 Client Myke came in right at the end, I took his hand to hold loosely.  I went from a shaking heap to a still, but weeping heap.  I was so thankful for that understanding hand, I needed that calm and it worked.  He held my hand until the end.  What a ride.  It was totally a wonderful experience, to arrive at the end of that session with those two men.  Transcendent, tremendous… true.

Whenever I am sitting there going “why the hell do I do this to myself?!” I look in the mirror and know.  Because they fucking ROCK, that’s why.  I love it.  I love the experience, I love the result.

I love the adventure.  I love following through.  I love carrying it with me.

We’ll be covering up the “daeomnic energy wave” ass antlers.  And colouring it in… in less marathon lengthed sessions.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In other news, I had a good scare this morning.  Maggie was sitting on the kitchen table naked, and when she stood up there was a clump of brown between her buttcheeks.  I thought ohmygod, this is the payback I get for never changing a poopy Meeps diaper.   She’s just shit on the kitchen table.

I picked her up slowly.  I put my head closer.  I sniffed.

Thank god…

She had just sat on a cupcake.


  1. brenda · March 15, 2010

    Beautiful tattoo, I am so jealous!! Love the cupcake story, it was my laugh for the morning. On another note: do tell about the 30 day shred, do you recommend it? Would I be in for a total ass-kicking?

  2. Caitlin · March 15, 2010

    Ha ha! I sat on a peanut butter sandwich-open faced no less-once, that was fun.

    Nice back!

  3. Kristina · March 15, 2010

    gorgeous tattoo! If I lived closer, I’d have your man finish my back piece! I’m in NY, so a road trip might work, eh?

    the cupcake story is priceless! My son pooped in the tub last week, for the 3rd time, and as I picked him up and out of the tub, a clinger fell to the floor w/o my knowledge. My husband stepped in it, and ground it into the white carpet that the previous owners stupidly installed in the bathroom. That was fun to clean up…

  4. Krissy · March 15, 2010

    Long-time reader, rarely commenter. :)

    I have a back piece that’s only slightly smaller than yours. I could never handle more than two hours at once because I was shaking so hard and in shock every time. Usually I only managed an hour and a half at a time. I am simultaneously envious of your gorgeous body work and freaked out by the idea of submitting to that kind of pain ever again. My back piece was a big spiritual thing for me–I’m definitely in the ‘tattoos should be spiritual’ camp but I don’t have a problem with other people feeling differently. I’m also in the Valium is my friend camp and I know that’s not one that other people agree with. :)

  5. flora amalie · March 15, 2010

    True, they DO rock and they DO hurt.
    Even the small ones, in my opinion.
    I’ve been with my husband for every one of his sessions on his back, and even though i know how bad it hurts, i still look forward to getting my back done.

  6. Mandy Paige · March 15, 2010

    The tattoo looks gooooorgeous! <3

    And Meeps was just the giggle I needed this morning! Last night I sat on the chocolate cake I made for my friends birthday! By the end of the night, I might as well have s*** my pants!

  7. Sarah · March 15, 2010

    Your back looks great. I can’t wait to see more as it gets colored in. I can’t wait to be done being pregnant so I can get to work on mine. And I love that Meeps was 1 sitting on the table naked and 2 happened to sit on a cupcake. Thats amazing.

  8. ashley m. · March 15, 2010

    gorgeous mama! Your hubby does such amazing work. I would give my left arm to get tattooed by him. Actually, I would just get him to tattoo my left arm. It needs covered up in a bad way. I can’t wait to see your back all colored in! I just got my right half sleeve started two weeks ago and I’m jonesing to get the color done now.

    And hilarious cupcake story! hehe

  9. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    Brenda – it’s a GOOD ass kicking. Amazon has it cheap!

    Kristina – white carpet… Who does that?!

    Krissy – both me and Scott are in the Valium is OK camp, really whatever you need to do to be comfortable and sit still!

    Flora – oh yes, small ones certainly rock the monkey just as hard and can be just as painful. I only mention because I have found the only people who tell me their (or their mother’s brother’s cousin’s friend) tattoos don’t hurt have small ones. I always want to ask “really?” I mean, it’s NEEDLES. Not saying they are all excruciating, but how it could NOT hurt at all… I dunno. Never happened to me!

    Mandy – Oh no! Did you make another yet??

    Sarah – Thank you. Oh yes, they’re regular naked and on tables. ha.

    Ashley – What’s your new sleeve? Hooray for new art.

  10. Alex · March 15, 2010

    anyone who says they don’t hurt is lying or hasn’t gotten one big enough yet haha! Belated well done on loosing that weight with your mad exercising (not that you needed it) I did find that shred thing and will try it out soon, but low and behold I just got diagnosed with a stomach ulcer (finally) and this might explain where and how I’ve dropped 10 pounds from! Every cloud has a silver lining.

    Addie’s stains and poo panics are thankfully nearly always food related. Recently she’s been enjoying a lot of frozen berries and every other day I pick her up and think she’s gashed her leg open somewhere, but no, its just a smooshed stealth raspberry.

    I can’t wait to see how your back piece progresses. It looks awesome so far!

  11. ashley m. · March 15, 2010

    It’s a seahorse piece for Finn (his favorite lovey is a seahhorsey). But there’s also a starfish and a really rad jellyfish. My artist had plans for all sorts of other sea critters until he remembered that I have scrawny noodle arms. I have a few pics of it on my blog if you’d like to see it :)

  12. ashley m. · March 15, 2010

    Oh, you beat me to it! Thanks!

  13. bairdduvessa · March 15, 2010

    that is beautiful

  14. Jay · March 15, 2010


  15. erika · March 15, 2010

    its beautiful!!!

    and no, every body doesn’t have a story. most of my tattoos i got just because they are pretty and i like the way they look on me, and it bothers me when people snub their noses at me for that. who the fuck cares? they’re pretty, and they’re mine not yours.

  16. Robyn · March 15, 2010

    How long did it take? I am having Matt Ellis start my backpiece *fingers crossed* sometime in May. I’m super excited, but also really nervous because I know it’s going to be extremely painful.

  17. Siobhan · March 15, 2010

    I love your back and completely agree about tattoos not needing a meaning. I’m always telling people that I just like how tattoos look. I also agree about the pain. I don’t know if it’s just in my head but it seems worse each time I get tattooed.

  18. Meaghan · March 15, 2010

    That is gorgeous!! I was trying to explain to a (non-tattooed) friend recently about the difference between having a tattoo and BEING tattooed. I just think that a tattooed body looks terrific, and as long as mine are visually pleasing and I generally like the subject matter (as in, I wouldn’t get a spider tattoo because they give me the heebs), then I don’t really need it to “mean” anything in particular.

    I can’t comment on back tattoos, but when I was doing my chest I couldn’t sit for more than 2 hours because I would be in so much pain I would start flinching… not a good idea. The first session on my sleeve was 3 though, and I felt like I could’ve gone for quite a bit longer. I think it makes a difference about where on your body it is, although of course I think that’s probably different for everybody.

  19. quinn · March 15, 2010


    Thank you for that…it really made me laugh after a day full of two sick sniffling buggery coughing wingy kids.

    mad love!

  20. Danielle · March 15, 2010

    ribs, butt cheeks, belly, evil under boob and beind the thigh right where the butt meets the leg = owwy pee cutey.
    people ask me all the time, so why the peacock, or pelican, or penguin you got there? ( its a peacock and is name is sergio, thankyou )
    and I say I dont know, I just thought one day, put a peacock there.
    Beautiful tattoo mama :) Cant wait to see it progress.
    heres to cupcakes squished in cute baby bottoms!

  21. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    Alex – I have thought raspberries were blood SO many times. Glad it’s not just me! HAHA

    Robyn – 5.5 hours of sculpted outlines. :)

    Siobhan – mine seem to be getting worse. The last time Scott tattooed my neck I thought he was trying to cut my head off. Wish I was kidding!

    Meaghan – I’ve had similar experience with chest versus arms… arms being significantly easier! I am sure everyone is different (you couldn’t pay me a million bux to tattoo my feet) but some parts are definitely more sensitive than others.

    Quinn – I KNOW. I was like THANK GOD. A friggin cupcake. Hope your kids feel better soon!

  22. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    Danielle – just the top of my butt there, holy CRAP it hurt more than my ribs! This is supposed to come down onto my ass… I’m going to need Rohypnol or something!

    Sergio, I love it. Cheers!!

  23. Sarah · March 15, 2010

    Beautiful back piece. While I have significantly fewer tattoos than you, there is no denying that the process hurts! Hope healing goes well and can’t wait to see more progress. Cheers!

  24. Daniel · March 15, 2010

    First time I’ve ever commented :). Love your new back piece; congrats! The bit about how anyone who says they don’t hurt only has small tattoos cracked me up. My longest sit (thus far…) was just about 5 hours and it was pretty damn intense. I feel the same way you do w/regards to liking BEING tattooed. Sometimes, they make me remember what I was feeling when i got ‘em, or remind of something important and sometimes they just make me happy because they’re art and that’s what art does.

  25. corrie · March 15, 2010

    “It’s okay to get tattooed just because.”

    amen, you said it lady. if i hear one more heartfelt sob story behind an ever so meaningful tattoo on tv i just might cry.

    i have top of my foot done (plan to get the other one done too) but you couldn’t pay me enough to get my back done ! so i guess it is different with everyone. i have the girls names on my lower back, 20 minutes of torture every couple years, thank god molly is a short name.

    i find the older i get, the worse getting tattooed feels…….why that is, i have no idea.

  26. Christi · March 15, 2010

    I really like your new one, lady. I agree with you on thanking Kat Von D. Now I don’t get the “Is it real?” question as much as “What’s the story behind your tattoo?” question. Of course depending on my mood I’ll make up something ridiculous.

    I really wish I had known about EC when my bb was younger, especially since her poops are outrageous now. She’s 10 months so I don’t know how it would work out. But maybe it’s worth a look into either way.

  27. rhiannon · March 15, 2010

    That looks AMAZING! :)

  28. Ryan · March 15, 2010

    As someone who does indeed have their ass tattooed (just outline right now) I can testify that it does indeed feel like someone slicing you open. I’d happily have my back tattooed over and over again rather than the old butt. Good Luck!

  29. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    Corrie – “thank god molly is a short name” — HAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. :D

    Christi – it is NEVER too late to communicate with them about potty. Whenever she goes, give her a verbal cue. Stick her on the potty first thing when she’s waking up, those are almost always guaranteed “catches”. Teach her the ASL sign for potty (twist the ASL letter “T”) or any other sign that means the same thing. You just give her the sign every time she goes, she’ll give it back soon.

    Ryan — Yeah, the ass was a very unpleasant surprise. Wow.

    And thanks guys!!

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  31. ~M~ · March 15, 2010

    Love the back and the cupcake story….just hilarious! I can only imagine the fear turning straight to laughter!

  32. choice · March 15, 2010


    i have a question – because i enjoy your tattoos as well – are/were the cats on your stomach pets of yours, or just random cats?

  33. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    Random cats. :)

  34. MsNomer · March 15, 2010

    I’m always interested to find out how other people experience tattoos. Our experiences are very different. My back really wasn’t too painful (it’s a big ol’ backpiece). It hurt like a deeeeep massage and I found it weirdly relaxing. Under my breasts were intense, to be sure. But my hips? My god, I felt like my skin was being torn off. Both were excruciating, and they were sore for days. I’m actually a little afraid of getting my butt tattooed because of the potential pain. Ugh!

  35. Anonymous · March 15, 2010

    wow, definitely incredible work! can’t wait to see it evolve! cupcake! hah.

  36. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    MsNomer – I didn’t mind the shoulders, or the ribs as much as I minded the top of my hips and ass. That was a SHOCKER, man. I didn’t expect it to hurt nearly as much as it did, let alone the MOST!! :(

  37. Gillian · March 15, 2010

    I always feel like a whiner when I complain about my tattoo hurting, esp when you got your first neck side done and was all “WHATEVER, nothing compared to childbirth!” and I was like, I’d take childbirth over a tattoo gun coming close to my toes ANY DAY.

    Sucks it hurts, but wee-la does it ever look good!

  38. Sarah · March 15, 2010

    GORGEOUS!! i love the way it flows into the flowers on your neck. can’t wait to see it done. but yeah, lack of padding is a bitch! i lost a good bit of weight while i was getting my backpiece done, so i can definitely relate. but then it’s done! :D

  39. Twwly · March 15, 2010

    Gillian – the neck was definitely a walk compared to birth, due to duration. The left side was cake, the right hurt more for whatever reason, but I don’t think I sat for more than 2 hours at a time, which makes it SO much easier. No way could I sit to get my feet tattooed, my feet are sensitive… right NOW, ha.

    But for me, childbirth while I never felt like I was losing control of my body and going into shock like this last tattoo session, was definitely more painful – while I did think Scott was slicing my hips into pieces, I didn’t feel like my entire body was splitting in half from my asshole up, which pretty much sums up my childbirth pain. Hahahaha.

    Neat blog Sarah!

  40. Steph · March 15, 2010

    That’s just stunning! I wish, oh how I wished I “saved” my back for one massive piece. *sigh* I don’t however want to get them covered up, I love them even though those have no real meaning.

    I love getting tattooed for the sake of getting tattooed! Most of them do have meaning behind them but at the end of the day, I got them because I wanted them :) End of story.

    Cupcake tale FTW!

  41. Clive · March 15, 2010

    So far so good on that tattoo! Cant wait to see it when its done!

  42. Nat · March 15, 2010

    Gorgeous outline, can’t wait to see the finished work. You’re a trooper!!

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