I finally took the plunge and stained my bare skin with a design that will forever be displayed under my wrist. In other words, I got a tattoo!
After mulling over the idea of my tattoo for a little over a year, having a temporary design made from henna to test the waters, discussing it with close friends, and always saying I would get it rather than taking action to do it, I made the fateful decision to pursue it. It happened on May 31, my 21st birthday, because I wanted to capitalize on that significance to make the experience as memorable as possible.
To create the tattoo. I consulted with the extremely talented Heather Ritchie of Heather’s Letters, who used her artistic gifts to create the design that’s been bouncing around in my head for this past year. When she showed me her work, my heart stopped, and I thought, Wow, that’s it; that’s exactly what I imagined!
The drive to 510 Expert Tattoo in NoDa with Scott was a special one. We love exploring new places together, and this experience was fraught with the unfamiliar. Justin Pearce, the tattoo artist, met with us and got a feel for what I wanted and where I wanted it when I showed him Heather’s design, offered some qualified insight, and went to work on my wrist within minutes. When you dive right into something that could be scary, you don’t have time for fear.
Before I knew it, I was relaxing on the cushioned chair, turning my head away from my wrist and gritting my teeth as the pain surged sharply and periodically. I liken the pain to the feeling of a safety pin needle dragging across your skin, digging a little deeper and causing a brief burst of pain.
Within two minutes, it was over. I looked down and smiled, completely overwhelmed by how much I loved it. The experience at 510 Expert Tattoo was incredible, and I highly recommend that business for anyone who wants to get some permanent artwork done.
Before this day, I’d looked down at my blank wrist and pictured it with the black lines, numbers, and shapes of my desired tattoo, and now, it’s finally on my body forever, sewn into my skin, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
When I first thought of the idea for this tattoo, I was in my car at a red light, and I was looking down at my gear shift pattern. I turned my hand over, put the underside of my wrist next to the design, and pictured it on my skin. Since that moment, I haven’t been able to dispell the desire to have it on my arm forever.
As a dedicated car enthusiast working to become an automotive journalist, I strive to constantly surround myself within the car world that I love so dearly. Anyone who knows me is aware of my love and devotion to my car. For the greater part of this year, I had to be without my beloved Rodger (the name of my 2001 BMW 330CI) for 2.5 months while he underwent repairs in the aftermath of a Collision with a deer that jumped out into me on a country road.
I walked away from the accident unscathed because my bodyguard Bimmer absorbed all of the damage himself. Those 1141 hours I spent without my car were filled revelation after revelation, and when I finally sat back down in the driver’s seat and turned the key after months apart, I drove away with a new appreciation for the things and the people that I love; fresh gratitude for the blessings God has bestowed upon me.
The Gear Shift Pattern
The pattern is a tribute to my 5-speed Bimmer: the first manual that I have had as of yet. It represents my love for my car, and by extension, my love for manual driving, reinforcing my belief that it is the only mode of driving that intimately connects the driver to its car and the car to its driver.
I’ve grown up with a passion for cars that has only consumed me with age, and I am immersed within the automotive world now more than ever before. It’s an incredible feeling to pursue such a calling.
Instead of getting the ///M symbol that is featured on my car’s shifter knob (it has an M5 transmission) or just leaving that space filled in with lines, I had a heart placed at the center of the design. As a whole, it represents how much my own heart beats for the automotive world, for the people I work with and interact with, for my car itself, and for the endless excitement found around every corner of this industry. It captures a God-given love that was cultivated at birth and nurtured for these past 21 years.
It represents one of my dearest passions, and the placement of the tattoo itself was meant to be on the hand I shift with. It is also a commentary on how much I wear my heart on my sleeve, and how much I love sharing my passion with others.
Last and absolutely not least, the heart embodies my appreciation for the love of my life who has been involved in my time with my Bimmer since day one. Scott drove it 11 hours down to me once we bought the car since he lived only a mile from the seller. He taught me how to drive it with all of the dedication, patience, and grace of a wonderful teacher. He helped and continues to help me with repairs and modifications whenever he comes to visit. And most of all, he encourages me and feeds into my great passion.
It’s been said that you know you have found the right person when he makes you a better version of yourself, and I have found that with him.
To Heather: Thank you for making my imagination come to life, from my heart to your hand, and providing the means by which this entire experience was set into motion; you put my idea on paper.
To Justin: Thank you for your incredible demeanor and expert hand; you made that idea on paper into a reality.
To Scott: Thank you for being with me throughout the experience; you helped inspire the design. I wouldn’t have done it without one of my key inspirations by my side, even though I’m still sad that I couldn’t drive Rodger inside with me so he could witness it too.
I can’t seem to stop staring at my wrist. Every time I look at the design, I smile as I think of the joyful reasons behind its intricate design, the memories of getting it on my birthday, the wonderful individuals I met along the way, the exciting conversations that have been sparked by its birth on my skin, and the great discussions that have yet to come.