Alternative Therapy

Tatau. Tattoo.

The world of body art.


Some of my last few pieces have been on the serious side (alright alright, gloom and doom, and more gloom and doom), and I felt it high time to demonstrate that I actually do more with my life than just contemplate and ponder and dissect and analyse.  I really am a goofy (and occasionally) fun-to-be-around-with sort of person, pinkie swear (although you may want to ask Shelbee for her unbiased opinion, or perhaps Oby, or maybe you could drop Sofia a line to see what she has to say).  As such, for today (and perhaps the next post as well), allow me to share with you a few of the (major) cool things that Eve and I managed to do during our one week stay in Singapore. Once upon a time back in early June.  Shallow as the (vast majority of) people might be, there are still a gazillion and one epic things to partake of in the Lion City, such as Universal Studios, the Zoo, Gardens By The Bay, the Night Safari, stuff like that.

For starters, let’s talk about Eve’s tattoo tattoos.

Since she was 12, I’ve been (so not) subtly encouraging her to have one.  I have several, and her father has both arms covered with body art of all sorts.  She’s always told me that pigs would fly and socks would sing before that happened.  Well, not in those precise words but the message came out loud and clear.  Eve was not into tattoos.  So I left her alone and stopped trying to persuade her, say, 2, 3 years ago.  She was her own person and I had absolutely no right to bulldoze her into doing something I wanted.

Then a few months ago, she comes up to me and (ever so casually) confesses she’s been toying with the idea of getting one.

W E L L    T H E N

I only had two conditions and they were (1) I’d choose the tattoo parlour to be assured of the validity of their license, and the hygiene/cleanliness of both premises as well as equipment; and (2) that she conducted extensive research prior to deciding what to ink upon which part of her body, so she’d fully comprehend the pain level that would come with the process.

The last thing I wanted was for her to go into it blind.

Completely freak out, and not finish the exercise.

And be eternally traumatised by an incomplete tattoo.

So she did her thing and I did my thing, and for some reason it never happened. Not in Houston, anyway. Then as plans began forming for our trip to Singapore, things fell in place, and I knew where to take her.

You see, I had my very first ink done in 2000, at Johnny Two Thumbs which was, at the time, the only licensed tattoo parlour in Singapore.  It’d been recently glorified in a leading local women’s publication which made me feel confident that I would be in good hands.  No scary possibility of HIV infection (it was 17 years ago) or any sort of infection for that matter.  A year later, I went back for my second, and everything went smoothly then too.  It made sense was fitting, therefore, for Eve to have her first tattoo done where I’d done mine.


Apropos, yes?

And that’s what we did.  For her first tattoo.  A gorgeous rose.  On the side of her wrist.  Which was a brilliant spot, I thought, simultaneously wondering why I hadn’t thought of that myself.  A situation I quickly rectified, as evident from subsequent photos in this post (yes, boo, I admit it, I copied you). And if you were wondering whether Belle had anything to do with her choice of design, that’d be a most emphatic, “Of course!!!!“.  Belle (and, later, Emma Watson) and the woman she represents has long served as role model, first to me, and then 26 years later, to my daughter.  Fiercely independent, intelligent, witty, a bookworm with a heart of gold, and the courage of a lion even when completely terrified.

That’s also where we went for her second tattoo.

Because, later that night, after her first,  Eve confessed she wanted a second.

To all tattoo virgins out there, yes, it’s highly addictive.

Here comes a fighter.  That’s what Eve chose as her second tattoo.  An acknowledgement of how she battled debilitating depression and anxiety two years ago.  That phase of her life to which she refers as, “When shit happened“.  When the mere thought of going to school would cause intense (and by that I mean severe AF) cramps.  Fever.  Nausea.  And she would curl up in a corner, shivering, completely unable to move.  Paralysed.  She continues to fight this on a daily basis but she has learned to recognise the signs.  She knows what her triggers are.  She knows what to do before they’re triggered, and she fights them like hell.

That, in my mind, is true courage.  That, to me, is a warrior.

By the by, you can read Eve’s side of the story too.  Here.

(I confess it’s taken me over three months to complete this post)

(as in I started writing it on 27th June)

So, I’m quite certain my support of body art and tattooing (for Eve) is going to create backlash amongst those who feel I really ought to be a “stricter parent“.  Well, that’s a truckload of rubbish your prerogative, and I respect that, just as I expect you to respect my views on body art.

There are, in my mind, so many other things that appear on my list of no-no’s.  Such as drugs and drinks and smoking, rudeness and a racist/sexist manner,  and wearing shorts so tiny one’s butt cheeks are exposed.

So tell me, what would YOU be alright with, and what wouldn’t you?  For yourself.  For your child.  Please do join in the discussion and leave me a comment, because many most of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel, your thoughts.

Happy weekend ahead, all!!!

Love, Sheela

I link up here.


13 Replies to “Alternative Therapy”

  1. I’m about to get my 6th tattoo, but hell, who’s counting? At this point, I have my upper back, and both upper arms done. I’m doing my next one with my brother – we are having complementary tattoos of our dad’s signature (a family joke). I’m glad you let Eve make her own decisions and happy that she’s feeling strong and empowered because of them. I love the “here comes a fighter” – tattoos are pain we choose, and I believe they make us stronger. Kudos to you both on the lovely work!


  2. Although I love tattoos, I don’t own them myself. I’ve wanted them all of my puberty and during my twenties, I even had a design for years in my closet. And then when I was in my early thirty I decided I didn’t want it. Never regretted it, but still love a hole body full! Busy for Eve for her two tattoos!


  3. Hi Sheela! I replied a few days ago and then WP decided it was going to go funky on me and not let me post… anyhow… I wanted to say I love the fact that you both got beautiful roses, they look great and your daughter eventually was interested in tatoos! I have wanted to get a tattoo, but with a connective tisssue disease and faulty collegen, it isnt recommended. not to mention, i am a slow healer. If i could though… a photo realsitic pic of my fur boy, Gibson’s face .. aww. he is my shadow and has been such a saving grace. or.. since i played jazz guitar in college , my degree, i thouhgt a pin up red head holding a jazz guitar on my arm would be cool… ah well…
    enjoyed the pos.t
    have a great weekend,
    jess xx


  4. I think you never can say no 🙂 Therefore, I’m not surprised that Eve finally got not only one tattoo but even two! Both are beautiful and you are such a good friend to take her to this good place for getting a tattoo. Thanks for the story!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena


  5. Love this nuanced art. So very well written and sensitive, this post ! I am myself, not a fan for ME, but I do quite like them on other people. A good from of personal expression, what could be closer than skin? You sound like a wonderful parent, btw. Thank you for emphasizing the hygiene aspect as well as the aesthetics!


  6. My mom has a spider vein on her leg that she is always worried about covering up, and one of her friends actually suggested covering it with a tattoo. Of course, she laughed it off, but I’ve been reminding her about it occasionally. I think it’s a perfect solution! But you know, that age group thinks differently about them.
    Personally, I have a small one, that no one really sees. And I made myself numb for the experience—totally easier!! Maybe cheating??


  7. Culturally, tattoos have not been on my radar nor my daughter’s but piercing is another thing (limited to the ears). She and I got our 3rd holes on our lobes together. Since she turned 18, my daughter has moved onto other areas as well but I’m good with just the ears. It sounds like you and Eve have a great relationship and it is one to cherish.



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