For some years now, I’ve wanted to get a Dan Eldon-inspired tattoo. He’s my hero, and a great inspiration to my art, work ethic and attitude toward people and life. I read his biography and flip through photographs of his journals almost every day for encouragement in my own endeavors.
Last night I had the quote, “The Journey is the Destination,” written in Dan’s own handwriting, etched onto my arm. Not only do I believe it’s true, but it also represents Dan’s amazing, full, and tragically short life that inspires me to be a better version of myself and help others along the way.
I went with my good friend Julianna, also got inked. We actually had our first tattoos done together as well, at a friend’s apartment when we were 19 and 20. The genesis of the burger on my foot, which started out as a funny random joke. JuJu got the Latin phrase, “Nosce te ipsum,” on her arm — as a then-student of psychology, it seemed fitting — “Know thyself.”
We walked into Sunset Strip Tattoo, right next to the very awesome Meltdown comic book store and right across the street from Toi and Popkiller. The environment was very laid back and very clean. Our artist, Paul, took much care of our needs and was very precise and careful.
I went first, hands cold and clammy. I hadn’t done this in 2 years. And before that, 2 years. It seems I’ve started a tradition. The ink went down inside my right upper arm, and it felt like a thousand wasps sinking their stingers in; a continuous kamikaze attack on my most tender, thinnest piece of skin. Getting inked on the foot wasn’t this bad, but then again, I’ve probably blocked out the memory of the torturous pain. It was 4 years ago, the tattoo is the size of a quarter and it’s as far away from my face as possible. I don’t remember much, but I do remember yelling a lot of obscenities and being surprised I didn’t cry.
It was pretty intense. Stinging, stabbing, poking… You forget how much it hurts until you get your next one (which is probably why we all keep going back to get more). Yowzah.
Julianna’s dermal pigmentation (as she calls it) was of the Zen symbol “Enso” on her left wrist. It represents enlightenment, strength, the Universe, and the void to name a few. There’s a closed version and an open one, and she chose the open version because she keeps an open mind. She says it’s to remind herself to accept imperfection in an imperfect world.
UPDATE: Look who’s on DanEldon.org!