“Next thing he spoke and I nearly said I loved him.”

I’ve tried to write this blog post five or six times now, yet still I’m not entirely sure where or how to start. Lately I learned a very harsh life lesson; you never know what tomorrow will bring. The last two weeks have been extremely tough, as many of you know I tragically lost a friend, Brian. It’s been hard to get back to normality, even small things like going to class have been extremely difficult knowing that he should be there, but isn’t.

From my tweets, statuses and pictures, you can probably gather that the journalism gang are a close bunch. Being in such a small course we all know each other pretty well, something that’s rare with college courses. But lately these people have become more than just people I go out with, I’ve discovered that in many of them I have very good friends. We’ve stuck together and helped each other out in these last few weeks, and whenever I needed a shoulder to cry on or even just somebody to take my mind off things with, everyone was there in a heartbeat. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

So you’re probably thinking, where is Michaela going with this post, and what’s with the title? “Next thing he spoke and I nearly said I loved him” is a quote from “A Call”, which is a poem I studied for my leaving cert by Seamus Heaney. It’s a poem about Heaney’s father, and Heaney reflects on a time where he nearly told his father that he loved him, but didn’t. He only begins to think about this after his father’s death, and in the last few weeks I’ve thought about this poem a lot. There’s a lot of things that I wish I’d said to Brian, and now unfortunately I can’t.

But I can’t look back on that negatively. If I keep thinking about the what if’s, the should have’s and shouldn’t have’s it’s going to eat me up inside. What I can do is make a change, we all have the power to say what’s on our minds. From now on I’m going to tell my friends and family how much I love and appreciate them, thank them for all they do for me, and let them know how I’m feeling. Through horrible circumstances, I’ve learned the importance of this, and never will I take anyone just being there for me for granted again.

Such a sudden and tragic death makes us think about all these things, even overthink them. You never know what tomorrow will bring, and I think that shows the importance of living life to the fullest. I’m going to work hard, and make sure that every night I go to sleep happy with what I’ve achieved that day. I’m going to spend as much time as I can with my amazing friends and family, and do all the things that make me happy. I want to learn to play the guitar, skydive, get some more tattoos, a combination of big and little things that in turn will make a positive impact on my life. You only get one shot at life, and you have to make the most of it.

I don’t really know how to end this blog post but I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s been there for me in the last two weeks. You have no idea how appreciative I am and how much you’ve all helped, I love you guys to bits. It really is true what they say, the hardest of times reveal the truest of friends. Life is a gift, don’t take it for granted.

My First Tattoo Experience

From the outside looking in, I’m well aware that I don’t exactly look like a girl who’d be a fan of body modification. I’m just your average girl, small and blonde and relatively plain. But one thing that sets me apart from others, something that makes me feel like me, is my wide array of piercings. Over my life I’ve had 12 different piercings, some of which I’ve taken out, but they never fail to make me feel a little better about myself. Associated with piercings are tattoos, and it was only a matter of time before I went from one addiction to the next.

I’ve known that I wanted a tattoo since I was 16, and have had the same design in mind since then. I knew I wanted to incorporate a specific type of flower with a quote, and had been searching the internet for ideas for a couple of months. Eventually I found what I was looking for, but I was only 17 at the time and I wanted to make sure that I was 100% certain I wanted the tattoo before permanently placing it on my skin.

Once I had enough money saved up, I began researching different tattoo artists. I checked out around 10 different artists in tattoo studios in Dublin, Limerick and Galway, looking for somebody whose floral designs that I liked, as well as being pretty good at shading. The last artist I looked at was Steve Savage from Hard Knox tattoo studio here in Limerick City, and when I saw his portfolio I knew instantly that I wanted to be tattooed by him.

190After a friend of mine was tattooed by him, I finally bit the bullet and booked a date for a tattoo of my own on the 4th of February 2015. It was the night before and I was extremely nervous, I was told it would take approximately an hour and this seemed like a long time for my first tattoo. However I was reassured by users on Instagram that a thigh tattoo really wasn’t that bad, and seeing that I don’t exactly have the boniest of legs I wasn’t so worried.

The day had finally arrived and I stocked up on sugary drinks and chocolate to keep me going, afraid that I might faint in the middle of it. When I got to the studio I had so much nervous energy I was practically bouncing off the walls, but took a few breaths and calmed down before he got started. The buzzing of the machine started and I froze, suddenly fearful for my poor thigh. But the tattooing process started and I was in complete shock, it didn’t hurt at all! It felt like a scratch or a pinch dragging along my leg, and I was amazed at the lack of pain I was in.191

Because my tattoo has script, colour and shading, different needles were used. A lot of people say that the shading is the worst part, but I didn’t really find it bad at all. In total it took an hour and 45 minutes, and only started to hurt in the last five minutes when he was finishing up the colour. One of the best decisions I made was to bring a friend with me, Holly wasn’t afraid of needles so she helped to keep me calm while informing me of how much was left to go. I didn’t want to look in case I freaked out!

When it was finally finished I jumped up and looked in the mirror, instantly falling in love with my tattoo. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined, and the minimal amount of pain that I experienced was so worth it. I was given aftercare instructions and Steve covered the tattoo, then it was off to reward myself with some McDonalds.

I was pleasantly surprised with my first tattoo experience, and will definitely be getting more in the future. Body modification makes me feel more confident about myself, and although piercings and tattoos are an expensive addiction it’s better than being addicted to something illegal I guess. I’m already thinking of my future tattoos, and would love to have work done by Paul O’Rourke (AllStar Ink, Limerick) and Isnard Barbosa (Dublin Ink) someday.

Tattoos and piercings might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re what make me different, what make me feel like myself, and I’m more than happy with that.

See links below for the Facebook pages of the tattoo studio’s mention:

Hard Knox: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hard-Knox-Tattoo/101660519872970

AllStar Ink: https://www.facebook.com/allstarinktattoos

Dublin Ink: https://www.facebook.com/dublininktattoo

Here’s the finished product!

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