My Tattoo Story: Isn’t She LoverLee?

Some might call it midlife crisis, but I prefer to say I checked something off of my bucket list. The thing is I am 62 years old and just got my first tattoo. You’re never too old to make a change right? 

It is something I’ve wanted for some years now, but just never got around to actually doing. I first mentioned it around 15 to 20 years ago while on a family outing and the idea was met with such scorn and derision from my sisters and young daughter that I just let it go. At that time I envisioned a sun shape around my belly button. I was in better shape then and I thought it would be cute. 

Life moved along, my children matured, I lost my husband and I just kept getting on with the business of life. My son graduated college, went to law school and my daughter went to college and studied abroad in Brazil. She came home with the first of her tattoos. Mama was not impressed with her ink. (She went on to get two more and I was still not a fan.)

Fast forward to the present day. I attended a family cookout where there was a tattoo artist hired to do identical tattoos for the sisters of the host. The design was four hearts in vertical formation on the underside of the wrist, with one heart inked red according to birth order. Four hearts, four sisters, you get the gist. They were adorable! I was mesmerized by the idea, the artist’s skill, the whole process. 

Right then it hit me, I should get one, too! And that’s exactly what I did. I fulfilled a wish from years ago—a dream deferred but not forgotten. 

Boy, was my family surprised. 

My daughter (who thinks she’s my mother) was uber upset I didn’t consult her first and brought up the grief I gave her for getting her own tattoos years before. But she did give me great advice on tattoo aftercare and healing since I was a novice in the ink game. She even confided that she plans to get yet another one soon. 

While my tattoo healed, my obsessive-compulsive traits kicked in big time. I diligently washed it gently three times a day with Dial antibacterial soap, being careful to dab it dry with a clean paper towel. (Regular towels can irritate the tattoo or cause little bits of fluff to get stuck in them.) I followed that up with pain relieving antiseptic spray and bacitracin ointment. And I made sure to sleep in a way that didn’t disturb the tat by rubbing it on sheets or covers. 

Luckily, I got it during the summer months, so I didn’t have to worry about contact with fabric from clothing causing irritation or abrasion. 

After three weeks of that strict daily regimen, I continued with the antibacterial soap wash, but then moved on to moisturizing with Aquaphor healing ointment.

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I now proudly sport my moniker LoverLEE on my inside wrist, inked in my own calligraphy. Hell, who knows? Maybe I will get another one, too!

—Cheryl Lee-Owens

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