By Sharon Ruedeman:
Every year we collectively celebrate the ushering in of a new year, reflect on the past, and make new goals or resolutions for the year ahead. Even if you don’t celebrate the New Year, it is still a giant marker in time for us all; and believe it or not, this experience is sort of like getting new tattoo. Especially 2020. The pain and the transformation that we’ve all gone through this year has been permanently tattooed on all our lives. So, just like NYE, I see getting a new tattoo as a marker of time or a rite of passage that you choose to permanently add to your body in order to reflect, heal, remember, inspire, or even let go.
Maybe that’s not always the case for everyone, but I think a lot of tattooed people out there would agree with me that getting a tattoo is a healing experience. It’s big decision to make, and choosing your tattooer is one of the most important steps of getting a new tattoo. Think about the amount of trust you’re putting into the hands of someone to add this new piece of art onto your skin forever!
And I think when you find that person who you really trust and vibe with, you keep going back to them again and again. At least that’s been my experience with Karen Glass of Flowerhouse Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. I am the proud owner of five tattoos by Karen.
We first met back in 2014, the same year I finished my first Yoga Teacher Training, and I was going through tons of transformations and starting my healing journey. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this tattoo was a major mile marker for me. I also didn’t realize how addicting it would be! I have gotten a new tattoo from Karen almost once a year since we met. And it's not just getting the tattoos that are addicting, I truly just love spending time with Karen. And there’s some kind of palpable magic that you can feel in the room when getting tattooed by her.
I think the most important word to explain why tattoos are so healing is the word surrender: surrender to the artist and trusting them to do a good job; surrender to the pain and the incredible discomfort of receiving the tattoo; and then finally surrender to the healing process where you have to nurture and tenderly protect this very vulnerable part of yourself for about a week or so. Surrender is a big word for me; as you see in this episode, I even got the word tattooed on my right arm, that’s how much it means to me. It keeps changing in definition too, and I think that’s one of the coolest parts of getting a tattoo. They change with you; they stretch and transform just like you do over time, and sometimes even the meaning changes or transmutes.
Oh, yeah, and after the surrender comes this major release. I can’t really describe this one as well for you (I think it’s a highly individual feeling), but it’s something akin to that feeling of a long exhale or that euphoria you feel after a deep sob.
I honestly don’t know what it’s like getting a tattoo from anyone else; maybe it’s just Karen that creates such a healing experience. After all, she is one of the coolest people I know, an amazing artist and tattooer, mom, healer, and listener.
Sharon Ruedeman is an award-winning Brooklyn-based video editor, storyteller, healer, and witch and the creator of the docu-series WILD WOMEN HEALERS. When she’s not making video magic or casting spells, she’s mo