My Butterfly Wrist Tattoos

I get asked about these a lot.

“I love your tattoo – oh, you have two?”

“Do they mean anything?”

“Where did you get them done?”

of course the inevitable

“Did it hurt?”

and then my mother’s, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????”

Ok, I don’t get that one that often, and certainly not with the wailing sound she made when she saw them.

I guess “Did it hurt?” is the easiest one to answer.




Yes, it hurt like a bitch. There’s no flesh or muscle there, so it’s just needle, with ink, on bone. Especially in the middle and on the top wings where the bone pokes out the most.

It bled, it was pus-y, it swelled, it scabbed. The getting of the tattoo was not the most pleasant experience of my life, nor was the aftercare healing part. For a week at work my wrists ached, which is difficult when your job is to sit at a computer and type.





Where did I get them done?

Inner Vision @ Darlinghurst by an American called Kian.

He was a fucking maniac – I must’ve looked nervous, because he told me he’d taken speed the night before, so that I would relax (he wasn’t. On speed, I mean. And that didn’t make me relax).

He also didn’t talk much and wasn’t really interested in making conversation, except to say that he was off to Spain soon and he was bummed the Aussie dollar was tanking at the time.

A friend of a friend from England, Meg (Rachel’s friend) came with me to get a Jesus tattoo on her foot. Thank god I had a friend, even if she wasn’t allowed in the room with me when I had it done.





“Do they mean anything?”

Yes, they do. The real meaning is private. But what I tell people is this:

I read a quote from Tim Sharp who is the Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute once where he said,

“… A Buddhist Nun friend of mine once explained that they (practising Buddhists that is) think about happiness as being like a butterfly with two wings. One wing is wisdom and the other wing is compassion. Now after a long and fascinating discussion with my friend I came to understand that wisdom represents an understanding of oneself and one’s own needs, whereas compassion represented an attitude of caring for and being loving and kind to others.

In short, the butterfly cannot fly and, therefore, cannot survive without both wings in good working order.”

It wasn’t the real reason I had them done, but the longer I have them, the more the happiness thing rings true.

Here they are, 18 months later:





ps the manicure colour is Significant Other Color by OPI. You can’t tell in the picture but it’s the coolest, almost holographic pinky-purpley-green colour.

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