ink fever running its course
I never really wanted a tattoo until I did. Last summer, I noticed myself being attuned to other people’s tattoos and saving artist profiles on Instagram. I’m not sure why the ink fever started, but since then I’ve gotten six tattoos.
After a shower I like to examine each tattoo as I dry my limbs with a towel. Checking in on them like school roll call: bobby pins, mary janes, mirror face, fish charm. starfish. bag.
Each one reminds me of a distinct memory, a time in my life. Because also all of my tattoos have been done by artists in LA, I think of them as souvenirs from short trips. Here are some of the stories behind my tattoos.
Most recently I got my favorite FW99 holographic Miu Miu bag tattooed on my lower calf. No one is going to know that it’s a Miu Miu bag but that’s fine.
When I got this piece done, Emma Chamberlain was in the tattoo bed next to me. I have watched a few of her vlogs but can’t say I’m a big fan, so it was cool I guess? To see a famous person if only to observe and eavesdrop. I turned my screen brightness all the way down and furtively googled “emma chamberlain net worth.” I looked over at her. She wore a maroon sweater and brown corduroy pants, and was talking to her artist about needing more craft hobbies, maybe she’d take up crochet.
Three weeks later in the dead of winter, I think to myself this tattoo is going to age like shit because I did not account for how dry my calf skin is. Under bright lighting, it looks reptilian. I try to put lotion on it daily. It’s ok though. Not every part of me is going to age well.
I got my fish charm tattoo not 24 hours after the Miu Miu tattoo. This was a matching tattoo with Ethaney: the first time we came to LA together we said that the universe would send us a symbol and we we would know to get that as our tattoo design. Well, the universe sent us a fish. I knew I wanted a design that didn’t read as a scientific drawing of a real fish—I wanted it to be obvious it was a fish trinket. A lucky charm. My artist Emily excels at designs of miscellaneous bijouterie, antiques, washed-up treasures. I always love being at Angel Kisses studio. It feels like being in an airport terminal and a college dorm at the same time, in a good way. I read Ricky’s tattoo poems and tear up. We eat gas station food and doordash noodles. It makes me feel young and scrappy and free.