........the Tat Man and me

Way, way, back in my history, in the late 60's, my girlfriend and I were hanging out with friends in San Francisco and we decided to go get tattooed.
Tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle had a little shop not far from where we were so we headed down, stood in line for over an hour and waited for our turn with excitement and anxiety mixing.
We felt like we were breaking some archaic rule against women getting tattoos...
Tuttle had been creating buzz for himself by tattooing people like
Cher, Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, etc.
All I wanted was the little butterfly above in the photo...

over the years that little butterfly has come to represent freedom and change.
And it had become very faded...

When asked what made tattooing gain in popularity during his early career, Tuttle responded:

"Womens liberation! One hundred percent womens liberation! That put tattooing back on the map. With women getting a new found freedom, they could get tattooed if they so desired. It increased and opened the market by 50% of the population - hell of the human race! For three years, I tattooed almost nothing but women. "

So lovely daughters #1 & #2 pooled their money and bought me a new tattoo for
Mother's Day.
Last Saturday we met for lunch, and then headed to the local tattoo shop where I had a 2pm appointment to get my faded little butterfly made over into something much more glorious.

I knew Jeremy, the Tat Man, was an artist....he 'painted' this beautiful scene on daughter#1's back. Yes, I know it's big...and not for everyone, but it suits her, and makes her happy, and it's beautiful, and it's not on her face!

I had no apprehension or anxiety this time.

I've known jeremey since he was 5...he was the cutest red-headed little boy, so mischievous ...
He and daughter # 1 have been friends since kindergarten.
His mom has been my friend since our first meeting at our daughter's dance class.
I was at Jeremy and his beautiful wife Enis's baby shower.
So knowing him....

I was ready for the new experience of spending the afternoon in a modern day tattoo parlor.

Jeremy knew I wanted a butterfly...there was a little sketch...we picked out my colors...purple, blue, yellow...I gave him free reign to do his thing.

The outlining in black feels a little intense...I think my meditation practice served me. And after a very short time I realized that the pain was going to be easy to ignore, and I was able to relax into it.

The music was loud, but bless jeremy's heart, he switched it from heavy metal to the Doors, something he probably enjoys, himself and puts on for 'older' folks, who are still decorating their bodies with other peoples art.... So loud was alright..even good... fact it sent me back to a time when I would hitchhike into the City and go to Filmore and Winterland to hear the music of the Grateful Dead, The Jefferson Airplane, B.B. King, Santana, The Doors, Janis Joplin....all the bands that were part of the S.F. Summer of Love culture.

And all my colorful friends from that time.

We chatted a little about his new baby girl Athena, who he loves and adores as he does the baby's mother, his wife...his sense of responsibility to them is strong and deep...his love is evident when he looks at them. I was aware that he didn't like to talk a lot while tattooing,
so mostly we were comfortably silent ...
I appreciate his desire to give full attention to what he is doing....he's leaving his mark.

The whole experience was enjoyable

and look at my new tat...!!

I think it's beautiful!!!
the picture doesn't do it justice..and it's still a little bumpy...
but healing beautifully.

I think it not only represents freedom and change,

but it's also a symbol of things to come....
.of looking forward to a kaleidoscope of new experiences...
.growth, creativity, exploration...

a joyful new phase in my life.


Lisa said...

It's beautiful. "it's not on her face" cracked me up. Her tat is beautiful, as well. I don't have one...yet. A few years ago I wouldn't even think that I could want one but lately, I find myself considering what I might like to have.

I love that your butterfly has transformed into an even more colorful one. I'm sure that represents your life and spirit in more ways than one.

Lisa said...

You look so relaxed in the chair. It's so sweet that your daughters would put their money together for this. Just love it.

Sue said...

I don't have a tat - always wanted one and almost had a small bull (my sign) done on my back right hip, however it never happened. Your very joyous post has inspired me to perhaps get that little bull!

Your butterfly is gorgeous (as is your daughter's tat). Jeremy is a true artist.

Enjoy this new phase of your life!



Tammie Lee said...

Oh! this is so gorgeous, he created art on you, your spirit art, part of the butterfly clan. Wishing you a happy birthday and wishes for each day of your new year feeling wonderful to you! xo

ps your daughters tat is amazing too.

JoyceAnn said...

Love your daughter's tat , gorgeous work and your butterfly is beautiful !
I got my first tat when I was about 40 , a wonderful feather with beads over my left ankle , my girls couldn't believe it. It wasn't long after , they got tats too.

~ Beautiful Blessings ~

Deb said...

What a beautiful, new beginning for you Julie. It reaffirms, strengthens, empowers, and brings a new breath into ones' life.

I got my first one last month (wrist and arm)...she is a medicine woman who was gifted to me from a dream state in 2008. Think I should post pics of her.

julie said...

I'm so glad you ladies like my new butterfly and understand it's significance ...If you're contemplating getting one, go for it. It is liberating....and if you can come and have jeremy do it...
Yes, Deb post pictures...we should start a Tattoo'd Ladies Society.
And Lisa, once I got into the moment I was perfectly content laying there soaking up the creative energy of another artists work and studio. And I was probably the most relaxed I'd been all day...crazy but very cool!
hug, hug

Praying Horse said...

The new butterfly turned out beautiful! I've been wondering about that tattoo shop and now - my questions have been answered. I've got two tattoos and another one has been knocking on the door, so to speak. Actually my "screen" name is derived from one of my tattoos.

My sister was tattooed by Lyle Tuttle a good 25, 30 years ago too. She's probably got 20 tattoos, something like that. Heh, I waited till I was 40 and that was my gift to myself, that first tattoo.

How sweet of your daughters to get it for you.

angela recada said...

What a wonderful post! I love that your daughters would arrange for your tat to be updated. And it turned out beautifully! The new butterfly is gorgeous. I really like Jeremy's artistic style and use of colors.

I love what butterflies represent. And I love your joyous creativity and free spiritedness, too!

Hugs and love,

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