When did you get your first tattoo?

I was 24 and it was right after a heartbreak that changed my mind about life completely. I tattooed the intimate nickname of my first love. It had two main meanings: what the relationship had started for me (it was the first time I was able to feel deep connection), and what it ended for me as I re-birthed into a whole new human being internally, and obviously a whole new image externally too.

I never thought anything would be meaningful enough to have permanently tattooed before that, but I couldn't let go and move on without commemorating what that experience had done for me. I also desperately needed a reminder of the consequences and pain I put myself through by tolerating behaviours in an abusive situation instead of trusting my intuition.

To what extent do your tattoos tell a story?

Every single one of my tattoos has a significant memory. When I'm old and nearly dying I want to remember major life events. Since I've experienced such a radically diverse and extreme range of transformations already at 30 years, I imagine that looking back at my life will be one stormy, cosmic blur.

Each of my tattoos will remind me of the most important lessons and souls I've met. My second tattoo, for example, was inspired by a lady who guided me along my early spiritual and psychic development.

Do people ever try to touch your tattoos?

I don't think I give off a very approachable vibe towards strangers, haha, so that hasn’t happened often. I have had guests at restaurants I work at do it, but sometimes there was a good chemistry and I liked the attention. Other times there was zero conversation and people have spontaneously put their hands close and I jerk my arm or face away. I get more people trying to touch my hair which I hate. Just don't, please.

Tattoos last forever. How do you feel about that?

Well, we don't live forever. My body will survive another 70 years or so if I'm lucky. Life is very short to try preserving my skin exactly as it is. We also have laser removal, haha.

The same time I had the inspiration for my first tattoo I had this feeling that soothed the hesitancy I felt regarding permanence: it's only for the time period of one life. I believe my soul will move on to another body and so that helps me feel much more easy about conducting life for more present pleasures and choices rather than worrying about permanence.

Are there qualities you look for in a tattoo artist?

Professional, communicative, eager to answer questions and patient. I've had ones I wish I had challenged more. With each tattoo I learned to be more assertive and find an artist who listens and is very direct with what's possible and what's not. Is helpful, caring, doesn’t rush you or make arrogant remarks about his art/skill level, not condescending towards your choices or experience with tattoos. Just a nice and professional person with good boundaries.

Is there anything you've discovered about yourself through the process of getting tattoos?

That I am too impulsive and over excited and need more patience with my process to make sure I am set in stone about the design. Also, that I should research chemicals injected into my skin more. I never thought of it, but came across some articles about tattoo ink. We assume because something is commonly executed that it's safe. But actually a lot of ink suppliers use cheap, junk materials. I now only go to artists who use eco friendly, vegan and non-toxic ink.

Have you ever regretted one of your tattoos or wished you had waited before going ahead with it?

I regretted the artist I chose for my face tattoo. I want to remove it and have it redone. She was the one I learned my lesson about professionalism through. Choosing an artist on social media popularity was a mistake. I should've properly looked at her skill level and professional attitude. She wasn't concerned with my long-term happiness with the result. Some artists believe they know best and that ego can overtake the clients' needs and desires.

Tattoo receivers aren’t empty canvases for the artist to do as they please and express their ideals on. We have to look at and live with those tattoos every day. My latest artist is amazing though. He tells me to fuss him all I want.

Do you have any methods for preparing for the experience of getting a tattoo?

I spend almost a year preparing mentally to be with the tattoo as if it's a relationship I'm committing to for the rest of my life, because it is. I have to have an intimate and personal connection with the feeling of the concept I have chosen. I do meditations towards it and a main one coming close to the time of receiving it. I play a song and dance for it. I dedicate loving thoughts, intentions and feelings of affection as if I am warming up to it, preparing it to meet me, like a pet, a person or sentimental jewellery.

Regarding pain, I practice deep breathing meditations. Going into pain mentally alleviates it, whereas resisting it prolongs the focus on it. There's this ongoing memory when you tense up and resist the pain. The needle might have moved off, but you're still mentally feeling the pain from two seconds ago.

❤ Featured artists ❤
kykilljoy (Japanese lettering)

You can find out more about Divinity through her YouTube channel

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