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I experienced my first 8-hour tattoo session at the age of 28. I must say, I learned a bit about pain and endurance that day.

A First Time For Everything

I’d had some experience with getting tattooed in the past. A few hours worth of work here and there. An 8-hour tattoo session, on the other hand, ✒️ was not something I’d been familiar with.

It was at Brighton Road Thirteen Inc. and the tattoo was done by an artist by the name of Paul.

Paul is a friend of my sister Kanti, whom I met at one of her parties.

We got to talking about tattoos, and I asked him if he could do my back. He said yes and off I went.

It really was that simple.

Design and Conquer

I was used to going in, looking at tattoo flash, trying to find a size, getting a stencil put together and then getting the artwork done.

Paul enjoyed drawing 🖊️and stylizing images to fit you. As an artist, Paul gave the art a personal touch that I was not accustomed to.

Not As Fun As It Sounds

I had a fair amount of tattoos on my body at the time I met Paul and thought I knew what pain was.

However, the longest I’d ever spent in a chair was 3-4 hours. Laying flat on your stomach while you’re getting your back tattooed, and doing so for hours upon hours at a time… is not a fun. 😧

Prep for Pain

I used to pinch a part of my body just hard enough to get some kind of adrenaline going, increase my Dopamine levels. I’ve found that it’s interesting to experience life and realize what pain does to you.

We have a strange relationship with pain.

When pain is too intense or extreme, we’re able to block it out. 💪

There was a clear intentional output, in this instance, because I knew the end result was a tattoo.

Distractions

While getting tattooed, I would listen to songs 🎧, I would think about the people in my family dying and at times I would talk a little with Paul.

I liked to talk and he had questions about my military experience and the British army; it kept my mind going.

These things, in the end, all helped me distract myself from the bit of agony I was going through at the receiving end of the needle.

And the Hours Go By…

Going into the 7th hour 🕑, my stamina began to wave. The pain was overcoming me and I was losing the will to live. I had seriously never experienced pain like that before.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

The final stretch of tattooing– It’s not that different to when you get towards the end of an endurance event.

I had some of those shutdown moments when it felt like my body wanted to give up in both cases.

You have to push through it, especially if you’ve got a goal in mind. You have to pull through and continue and know that you’re almost at the finish line.

Even if it does hurt. A LOT.

Endurance

It was a happy moment when Paul said that few ever last an 8-hour tattoo.

He said that I was only the second person in his time of having a tattoo shop that had gone the whole distance.

I’m still quite proud of knowing how much I was able to endure.

Pain Teaches You

Pain is a wonderful thing to go through in your life.

  • Physical pain
  • Intense pain

It means there’s not much else that scares you. You walk away feeling proud. So at 28, that was my first experience of 8 hours in a tattoo chair– and a hell of a lot of pain. 🙌

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