A couple years ago, at a family bar mitzvah in Florida, my wife suggested I talk to Raquel, her aunt's sister, about her tattoos. Raquel, an attorney in Puerto Rico, was kind enough to let me take some photos and tell me about her work.
Her first tattoo was this rose on her back:
Raquel related the following story:
"I was always impressed by women with tattoos because tattoos meant that these women were ... strong women ... at that time when I was a little girl - I'm not going to tell you my age - I'm very old ... women that did tattoos ... were women that came out from jail, and I remember ... these women, they impressed me so much, strong with personality and things like that. In those days, having a tattoo was bad for women and for men. So finally, when I'm like fifty, having a tattoo was fashion, for both men and women, but particularly for women, so I saw it as an opportunity to be able to have my own tattoo ... I used to do triathlons, I was very heavy into triathalons, and in that world, ... they do a lot of tattoos ... so when I was over 50... I went to this place to have my tattoo done and I got cold feet and I left ... so I went to more than one place, about two more places, before I finally did a rose on my back ...I was very pleased with that ... it was small that one I have now, now it's a little bit bigger. Anyway when I got home and my husband saw me he almost had a heart attack, says 'are you crazy?' - not only my husband but my children, they said 'Ma? What are you doing? There's something wrong with you!'
Raquel also has this butterfly on her wrist:
She continued telling me about her tattoos:
"I always wanted to have a butterfly. So, recently, maybe a year and a half ago, probably maybe less, I don't know. So, I was feeling sick, I was, you know I'm a lawyer, so I was in a seminar, and I was feeling really bad, so I had to leave the seminar and on the way to my home, I guess I felt a little bit better and I remembered I wanted a tattoo, so I stopped at this fancy place in San Juan that I know that did tattoo, and it was the same place, so I went to that place to have my butterfly done and then I went home and, later on, at nighttime, I felt really worse, so they had to take me to Emergency, to the hospital, and I was in the hospital for two days, so when I was in the hospital, I had this tattoo, tried to cover it, because I felt kind of stupid that, you know, being so sick, doing a tattoo on my hand and I didn't even want to tell the doctor or the person who took me to the hospital, that I had this tattoo done, so I had it covered ... so embarrassed that, here I'm so sick and that I got the tattoo, that's the story of my butterfly.
The thing is that, when I went for that tattoo, I kept telling the guy, here is an old lady doing tattoos ... he says, "it's okay, old ladies also need tattoos!"Muchas gracias to Raquel for sharing her two tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!
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