Barbara is the Tattooing Shamanatrix at Dancing Bones Ink, Inc.
Specializing in mid-life [or any other time period] crisises with custom self-affirming Totems.
Yes, I’m talking to you…
—Why am I starting to write a blog? Because my husband, David, thinks my voice should be heard! Is the world ready to hear what I have to say? Not sure about that!
I am a 49 year old female tattoo artist that has done many, many occupations in my life.
I have been tattooing for a little over three years now, although I’ve been an artist for about thirty years.
I’ve said I started as a result of a mid-life crisis, but that is only part of it.
About four years ago I was working for a local hospital as a computer geek, giving support to nurses, therapists and office staff of a home health, hospice and private care agency when I had an incidence with skin cancer.
I was completely surprised when I had a mole removed to find out it was melanoma, which is the most severe form of skin cancer (and since I worked for hospice, I knew it could be fatal!).
Luckily for me, we caught it early on and removed it, but I still need to be wary of recurrence.
At the time of this discovery, I was quite stressed and unhappy in my work environment and I decided that this incident was sent to me as a wake up call to make changes in my life.
I have had a lot of things happen in the past ten or fifteen years that have impacted me deeply and have sent me on a spiritual quest, so when the universe sends me a wake up call, I try to listen!
Anyway, at the time, I thought,
“What else could I do to earn a living and be happier and more fulfilled?”
My husband (jokingly I think) suggested I go into tattooing…. I looked into apprenticeships, but at my age, it didn’t seem to be too realistic.
So I found a tattoo school over in Spokane, WA which is only about 5 hours away and thought, “Why not?” The long and the short of it is I ended up cashing in my retirement from the hospital and going to school.
Since then I opened my own tattoo shop in the back of my home and haven’t looked back!
Now what is stranger about this tale is that early on in my life I was not supportive of tattoos or tattooing because I was raised in kind of a strict household where they weren’t held in high regard.
In fact, when my older daughters got their first tattoos at 18, I was not too thrilled about it! So how did my opinion change? It started with my husband, of course! (Maybe he should learn not talk to me because I act on his words?)
In the 90’s, I suffered a back injury that was a result of my work for the City of Tucson, so it was being handled under Workman’s Comp. Because it was Workman’s Comp, they put me through hell and back before ultimately having back surgery in about ’95. That of course left me with a scar on my lower back and many more deeper psychological scars from the whole process. I was recovering from the surgery and recovering my life when we moved to Columbia Falls, MT, but occasionally those ghosts would still haunt me.
Anyway, one day my husband made the suggestion that I get a tattoo to cover the scar on my lower back.
At first I poo-pooed the idea, because of my prior prejudice about tattoos.
Then I thought about it more and more and thought, “Why not?” So in my early forties, I found a Chinese design from an early dynasty porcelain and had it put on me over the scar….
I was very surprised by the healing effect of covering the scar with something that was beautiful and special to me!
So that changed my mind about tattoos—
I started thinking about them in terms of being healing or sources of positive energy or personal totems.
I also started thinking about them as an artist…
Here was an art media that people could carry around with them wherever they went!
As they say, the rest is history…
So in addition to talking about tattoos and tattooing and such, this blog also is a way to share my personal story of awakening to the possibilities that the universe has to offer…
If you have any questions about tattoos or tattooing, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll try to address them for you!