My tattoo addiction seems to be growing by the day as I’ve had several this year already; literally as soon as my skin heals I get the itch to have another. I guess that’s just as well considering I earned my PRO card as a Pure Elite Tattoo Muscle Model this year when I started my bodybuilding journey after having two children. Tattoo’s aren’t just aesthetically pleasing but hold such deep meaning and memories for me and have covered up the scars and body hangups that haunted me for years with something I will now cherish forever.
I decided to try a bum/booty/butt/buttocks tattoo after having some pretty severe stretch marks covered over on my thigh and groin with butterflies last year. Tattooing over broken and damaged skin is more sensitive than on smooth skin and I found the closer the needle got to intimate parts of my body the more tender the area became. Pain has never been something to deter me because I know that it only lasts as long as the needle takes and once it’s healed I then have something that I love in its place forever. I chose to have wild flowers as a tattoo as I love the idea that such beautiful, resilient plants can survive and flourish in the harshest of conditions, from sprouting up in between paving slabs in the street to blossoming out of a crack in an old abandoned building. Wild flowers aren’t the traditional commercial roses that people shout about and hold in such high regard; wild flowers are raw, natural, organic and unpredictable. They’re the fighters, the evidence of the journey turning a negative into a positive and true natural beauty.
I deliberated over having a butt tattoo for so many months that I almost talked myself out of it. Because I have a hormone imbalance – of heightened prolactin – over the past couple of years I’ve started to notice that hormonal acne to my chin and buttocks is now scarring me. Since my periods began at the age of 14 I’ve always suffered a breakout of spots to my face and buttocks just before every cycle and then as it finishes they usually clear up and go away but now I’m left with dark purple marks where the spots were which refuse to fade even before my next period arrives and new spots appear on top. The time between me having clear skin is getting shorter and shorter. As a result it makes me feel very self conscious and embarrassed, especially as I’m almost thirty, and I never know to what extent my skin will be scarred each month as some times are worse than others. I guess it’s like having bruises, sometimes you have none and other times you’re covered in them and they take months to go away. But rather than feeling helpless about it I decided to take control and hide my persistent scars forever with body art.
I’ve previously tattoo’d over my pregnancy stretch marks to my stomach, hips and thighs which covered them beautifully and I’m extremely happy with the results. I also had a mole removed from my wrist which I covered the white scar with roses for my children but this is the first time I’ve tattoo’d over acne scars which were purple in colour but made no change to the texture of my skin. I didn’t find my buttocks as a whole any more painful than any other part of my body for tattooing and certainly couldn’t tell when the needle was going over scarred or regular skin. The most sensitive part of the tattoo was in the crease at the top of my legs and towards my underwear line between the cheeks for which I was able to keep a g-string on throughout for a degree of modesty. I found the outside of my thigh to be twitchy which almost itched and I had to stop myself from instinctively wanting to swat the needle away as I laughed through the sensitivity of it tickling me.
People often ask me what the best way is to cope with sitting for long periods of time to have tattoos, this was around 20hrs in total for both cheeks, and I always advise plenty of sleep beforehand, a good filling meal to keep your energy levels up, caffeinated drinks throughout and high protein snacks to nibble on and balance blood sugar levels to avoid the body going into shock. If you focus on the pain of the needle you’ll drive yourself insane and talk yourself out of it within a couple of hours of sitting. It really is mind over matter and the best thing to do is distract yourself from thinking about it; have a conversation with your tattooist, read a book, play a game on your phone or if you’re feeling really brave just Facebook Live the entire thing to millions of people as I do at every session because time flies when you’re having fun. Am I itching for my next tattoo yet? I’ll answer that just as soon as I can sit down again!
Tattoo by John Capasao of RedInk Aylesbury