I received my first tattoo on Saturday, April 13, 2013 from a place called Dream Jungle Tattoo in Downtown Long Beach, California. For the longest time, I was been debating on getting a tattoo — since beginning of college, my brother and I would talk about what kind we’d get if we were to get one and where we’d get it. 5 years later, I finally found the courage and the passion to do so.
A little background about me:
My parents discouraged and completely disregarded anyone with tattoos. They feel as if it “dirties” the body and the mind, and that it’s simply unattractive/unprofessional. When I was in high school, I thought the same way — why would anyone get a tattoo? It’s so tacky and some of them don’t even look good. And after 5 years of discovering yourself, who you are, what you like and what you don’t like, and how you express yourself, a tattoo just seemed like the right thing to do.
In those 5 years, I brainstormed about what I wanted, where I would want it, how big I would want it, and what the actual design would mean to me. I didn’t mind what my parents thought because I figured, hey, this is my body, this is my way of expressing myself, and this represents me. One last tangential piece of “food for thought” was that I came out to my parents about 4 years ago as a gay, male Filipino. I figured, there’s nothing that could be “worse” in their mind than having a gay son — a tattoo wouldn’t set them off.
My boyfriend of 3 years at the time of my first tattoo, already had 2 tattoos. He got two Pisces in Tribal on his calves from a well-known artist in the Bay Area. With his support, guidance, and enthusiasm, I got the following design seen below:
Although it’s not completely original, it represents a lot about who I am and what I stand for. The symbol itself is known as a Hylian Crest, or more commonly to people, the triforce. It originates from a video game, The Legend of Zelda — Ocarina of Time, that I played back when I was young and was the sole inspiration for my design. The three triangles represent balance — Power, Wisdom, and Courage — and when all three are together they are creators of the world. The lower half of the design represents a holy animal or guardian, if you will, that protects and watches over the people of Hyrule (the name of the presiding land and family within the game). As a very protective and creative person myself always searching for balance, peace, and adventure, I thought the triforce was a perfect symbol to carry with me.
I’m already looking into my second tattoo. One of my best friends is getting ready to get hers done and I cannot be more excited to see her go through with the process. I think the research that goes in before hand, the anxiety before, during, and after, and the pride that comes through with this experience makes it an unforgettable moment in our young lives. For the next design, I’m hoping to get a tribal quarter sleeve on my right arm. Although I haven’t done quite the extensive research as my first, I know I’ll have to put in a lot more effort into this one because of its political connotations and affiliations. I want to make sure I accurately represent who I am and the culture I come from, and not just because it “looks cool”.
Long story short, I’m ready for my second tattoo. But I’ve decided to wait one more year, before I actually get another one.
A picture taken off a google search for my 2nd tattoo (perhaps a tribal whale mixed in with my quarter sleeve):