my tatau.

Savai`i Travel Blog

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the instruments.
"The purpose of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "HOLY SHIT! What a ride!"

That is right. I got a tatau. Something I never thought I would get. I never understood the need to have something permanently on my body. Then again I never had a symbol or image that I wanted to preserve on my body until I was 6 feet under. It didn't make sense. What if the tatau showed during a job interview? Or it looked hideous with my wedding dress? How would I explain it to my grandchildren?

I have answered all of those questions and more with my quest to decide if were to get a tatau or not.

First of all, this isn't a normal ink and needle tatoo. This tatau was done in the traditional Samoan (and Pacific Island) manner.
the procedure.
A large man with a stick and bores teeth hammering into my skin with his two assistants holding my hand down and pulling the skin tight. No curvy lines, only straight black lines. I have pictures of the whole process and the tools that the man used. Unfortunately I dont have them currently on this computer. I even have a video.

While I was being hammered away at the whole SIT group, Pete and Kelly (both Drew alums), and most of the people at the fale were there. Sitting by my side - singing, making jokes, fanning me and massaging/holding my other hand. A group of 10 people or so there to help me in my journey of pain and mental exhaustion.

This tatau symbolizes so much more then the actual design on my wrist. It serves as a reminder of what I had, what I want and what I've learned.
the tatau.
Its about the Samoan culture I am so fascinated. Its about family, about love, and about my own power as an individual.

I didn't get the tatau until the last day in Savaii. I came to Savaii not wanting a all. I said that I would be the last person to get a tatau. But after doing research and after doing a lot of debating with myself and with others I slowly made the decision. But I was certain all along it was something that I would never regret.

To answer the questions I was always worried about...

What if it shows at a job interview? I hope to never get stuck in a job that would not allow me to share a part of who I am. I don't want the 9to5 job in a cubicle. I want something more from myself. And plus...if i'm going to be a student for life...Pacific Island professors can surely have a Samoan tatau. I saw it myself multiple times at University of HAwaii. :)

What if it looks hideous with my wedding dress? Try on another dress! :)

How will i explain it to my grandchildren? I will explain it to them just like I will explain it to you when I see you in person. It is not something I got because I was 18 and wanted to rebel. It was a painful process that means a lot to me. It is not trashy and it was not based on quick thinking. It was something I took a lot of time in deciding.I will be proud to tell my children and grandchildren about it...and show them the pictures.

This is just one more scar on my body that has an incredible story to go along with it.

(I would love to hear your responses/reactions to this entry)
hudonnoodles says:
I dont know who originally said the quote...I know my dad said it to me the summer before I left for this trip. Its one of my favorite qutotes ever.

What is your tattoo of? And where is it? I love hearing tattoo stories now. :)

In terms of being a tough chick...ha. I was wincing the entire time with one person holding my arm down and another person letting me squeeze their hand. And high five back at ya!!
Posted on: Jun 26, 2007
genetravelling says:
love the starting quote. who said that?

i drew my tatt and waited 18months to be sure i still wanted it.

but there is no point in not doing things you may regret. better to do it and never live a life of regret.

i like the way you thought it all through... very sensible

and you're a tough chick!
high 5

Posted on: Jun 26, 2007
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the instruments.
the instruments.
the procedure.
the procedure.
the tatau.
the tatau.
photo by: hudonnoodles