edge

Regrets by the Armful

Picture courtesy Mark Lyndesay
Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayMy name is Shaun Ghany
and I’m not bashing anybody else’s preference or the tattoo community but I regret my tattoo.

I come from the East, between Trincity and Arima. A small family, two parents, me, my younger sister.

I went to Charis Works Christian Centre and Curepe Junior Sec but I wouldn’t really say school was something I liked. It feel like a prison to me. They was REAL strict. Especially my primary school. I completely finished school but it was more something I endured than enjoyed.

I used to be in retail, then I went to medical distribution, I worked on the oilfields for a while, contract work, went back into retail and started working along with my wife. It’s just me and her in our family now.

I enjoy my food. The whole burger combo: burger, fries, coleslaw, milkshake. Everything. In local food, it would be curry-goat and dhalpuri. Wrapped, eh. One hand.

I have a Chihuahua I love dearly named Chalupa. He’s my sister’s dog, but he comes like everybody’s.

My family is all Roman Catholic but our parents didn’t baptise us, they wanted to give us the choice. My father’s family is supposed to be Muslim but he’s not a practising one. He found it was too…he couldn’t keep up.

I was real heavy into Christianity because I went to a Christian school. I know everything about it. But then I get older and start to think different, start to question religion and the truth about the world. I’m not totally dismissing it or saying it’s not true but some things are not what they seem.

I know it have higher forces at work. But not in the format we were taught.

I look at the suffering in the world and get angry. When you see a child die. Or a robbery and they kill or beat up an old person. I don’t think the worst man in the world would allow that, far less an all-loving, all-powerful God.

Something is definitely wrong with the earthly system. But my beliefs are very far “out there”. I believe in energy, consciousness that keeps going. I think of us as infinite beings. I look at reincarnation as a trap that keeps you going until you learn your lesson, ascend, and get out of it. All my past lives, I might have forgotten but the mission is [nevertheless] to get out this time. Or next time. Your higher self is your true “you” that you have to get in touch with. This physical world is just conditioning [and] reactions.

I want to get out of this cycle of [repeated lives] and, I don’t mean any insult to the tattoo community, but I also want to get out of my tattoo. My personal experience is I regret it. I got it in 2007 so it’s 12 years but I really don’t want it. I mean, “tribal” [style tattoos] are totally out of style, for one.

Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayI play drums, bass and guitar. I think part of wanting to get a tattoo was that it was part of the rock culture, seeing all my favourite bands, when I was younger, like Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Metallica – all of them covered in tattoos. I still play heavy music professionally but, when you get accustomed making that music, you don’t want to hear it in your free time. I listen to a lot of folk, indie-rock, very soft, light music.

Originally, I’d got the tribal tattoo part because, in other cultures, it is a form of becoming a man. Unlike other tattoos, [even if they have] intricate designs, you could just touch the needle and do your designs. A tribal tattoo, as simple as it looks, is the most painful and painstaking thing to go through. Because you have to go through the process four times over! The amount of pain you’s endure, it really is like a rite of passage – because certain cultures will see it and respect it, because they know what you went through to get it.

During getting my tattoo, they almost had to call an ambulance. I sat down for eight hours and my body couldn’t take it any more and I started to go into shock. I don’t know how I came out of it naturally. That’s why part was never finished. I had to stop because it was life-threatening.

I had to sit through four tattoo processes in the same eight hours. The first was the outline, the second to colour between the thin lines with a smaller cluster of needles. The third was to colour in and the fourth was to pass over the whole thing again, to cover all the little spaces. I endured all of this and the whole tattoo wasn’t even completed. When I started to feel the sickness from it, I regretted it. It’s a horrible feeling to have that toxicity in your system.

It was a lot of ink that went into my system in one shot, Japanese inks, known for having high [concentrations of] metals, to make it so black for so long. For weeks and weeks after, I suffer from this “toxic” feeling, like I was poisoned! Peeing was burning – the metals had to come out of my system – I had headaches, fatigue. It took me a good while to get over it.

When it started to heal, waking up every single day and looking at this exact same thing on my hand every single day, I regretted it. In the tattoo world, a “sleeve” is prime real estate, where everybody could see it. But I didn’t know that back then. I might have put something different. Or nothing at all.

I couldn’t go in the sun with my tattoo, or it would have totally blurred out and got ruined. I had to stay inside for two months. My arm was swollen for a good while. I mean, I did overdo it. Other people would do [that kind of tattoo] in parts, in four sittings. I wanted it in one.

One of my Rastafarian friends went with me [to the tattoo parlour] for company and he was playing a song, A Heart like a Lion. That was what was driving me, because he was only saying, “You real lion-ing out there, boy!” Enduring this kinda [pain]. He was like, “Nah, I wouldn’t go through that!”

Even after all that, I got another tattoo, the “rabbit hole”, from Alice in Wonderland. This means going beyond esoteric knowledge, going down the rabbit hole of knowledge. My girlfriend at that time was a tattoo artist and she wanted to practise, so I let her do the silhouette on my arm. I keep it simple, though, just a silhouette.

I always advise people not to get tattoos. I mean, it’s cool, is part of culture – but is wrong to do your body the trauma, the toxicity. And it going to look bad in a few years. If you have to get one, consider, consider and consider again. Be mindful of the design you choose, know the risks with inks and unsafe needles and unprofessional people.

My left arm could be dry and I wouldn’t have to cream it. The one with the tattoo, I have to cream. The slightest bit of dryness [in the skin] and it shows [up hugely on tattooed skin]. And sometimes, it itches. And the skin on it ages faster.

Motorbike is another bad idea. No second chances with that.

I wouldn’t say there was any good thing about having my tattoo. A lot of people prejudge you. Say you just sitting down in your car in traffic, when people pull up, if you have your [arm] on the car window, everybody would look at you. I don’t like that kind of unnecessary attention. You get a lot of problems with jobs. Even when I was going to work offshore, I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt. You can’t give blood for years, because they ‘fraid hepatitis.

I don’t feel unsafe in Trinidad but I feel uncomfortable. The tolerance level in the country is zero. Even the most decent people you meet, everybody on the edge. Even an old lady will give you a bad-drive now, because she fed-up of what going on in traffic. I try to break the cycle, so it don’t come right around. If they do me something on the road, I say, “You know what? Let it slide.”

The country is on a bad cycle now: anger; hate; closed-mindedness; intolerance. The world is on a bad cycle, yes, but, for a Caribbean country that’s supposed to be on peace and fun, you would think it could be better.

A Trini is anything you could imagine yourself to be. We’s reach all over the world, you find us doing anything, everywhere.

Trinidad & Tobago means a beautiful melting pot of chaos and love. It’s everything in one.

Regrets by the Armful

Picture courtesy Mark Lyndesay
Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayMy name is Shaun Ghany
and I’m not bashing anybody else’s preference or the tattoo community but I regret my tattoo.

I come from the East, between Trincity and Arima. A small family, two parents, me, my younger sister.

I went to Charis Works Christian Centre and Curepe Junior Sec but I wouldn’t really say school was something I liked. It feel like a prison to me. They was REAL strict. Especially my primary school. I completely finished school but it was more something I endured than enjoyed.

I used to be in retail, then I went to medical distribution, I worked on the oilfields for a while, contract work, went back into retail and started working along with my wife. It’s just me and her in our family now.

I enjoy my food. The whole burger combo: burger, fries, coleslaw, milkshake. Everything. In local food, it would be curry-goat and dhalpuri. Wrapped, eh. One hand.

I have a Chihuahua I love dearly named Chalupa. He’s my sister’s dog, but he comes like everybody’s.

My family is all Roman Catholic but our parents didn’t baptise us, they wanted to give us the choice. My father’s family is supposed to be Muslim but he’s not a practising one. He found it was too…he couldn’t keep up.

I was real heavy into Christianity because I went to a Christian school. I know everything about it. But then I get older and start to think different, start to question religion and the truth about the world. I’m not totally dismissing it or saying it’s not true but some things are not what they seem.

I know it have higher forces at work. But not in the format we were taught.

I look at the suffering in the world and get angry. When you see a child die. Or a robbery and they kill or beat up an old person. I don’t think the worst man in the world would allow that, far less an all-loving, all-powerful God.

Something is definitely wrong with the earthly system. But my beliefs are very far “out there”. I believe in energy, consciousness that keeps going. I think of us as infinite beings. I look at reincarnation as a trap that keeps you going until you learn your lesson, ascend, and get out of it. All my past lives, I might have forgotten but the mission is [nevertheless] to get out this time. Or next time. Your higher self is your true “you” that you have to get in touch with. This physical world is just conditioning [and] reactions.

I want to get out of this cycle of [repeated lives] and, I don’t mean any insult to the tattoo community, but I also want to get out of my tattoo. My personal experience is I regret it. I got it in 2007 so it’s 12 years but I really don’t want it. I mean, “tribal” [style tattoos] are totally out of style, for one.

Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayI play drums, bass and guitar. I think part of wanting to get a tattoo was that it was part of the rock culture, seeing all my favourite bands, when I was younger, like Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Metallica – all of them covered in tattoos. I still play heavy music professionally but, when you get accustomed making that music, you don’t want to hear it in your free time. I listen to a lot of folk, indie-rock, very soft, light music.

Originally, I’d got the tribal tattoo part because, in other cultures, it is a form of becoming a man. Unlike other tattoos, [even if they have] intricate designs, you could just touch the needle and do your designs. A tribal tattoo, as simple as it looks, is the most painful and painstaking thing to go through. Because you have to go through the process four times over! The amount of pain you’s endure, it really is like a rite of passage – because certain cultures will see it and respect it, because they know what you went through to get it.

During getting my tattoo, they almost had to call an ambulance. I sat down for eight hours and my body couldn’t take it any more and I started to go into shock. I don’t know how I came out of it naturally. That’s why part was never finished. I had to stop because it was life-threatening.

I had to sit through four tattoo processes in the same eight hours. The first was the outline, the second to colour between the thin lines with a smaller cluster of needles. The third was to colour in and the fourth was to pass over the whole thing again, to cover all the little spaces. I endured all of this and the whole tattoo wasn’t even completed. When I started to feel the sickness from it, I regretted it. It’s a horrible feeling to have that toxicity in your system.

It was a lot of ink that went into my system in one shot, Japanese inks, known for having high [concentrations of] metals, to make it so black for so long. For weeks and weeks after, I suffer from this “toxic” feeling, like I was poisoned! Peeing was burning – the metals had to come out of my system – I had headaches, fatigue. It took me a good while to get over it.

When it started to heal, waking up every single day and looking at this exact same thing on my hand every single day, I regretted it. In the tattoo world, a “sleeve” is prime real estate, where everybody could see it. But I didn’t know that back then. I might have put something different. Or nothing at all.

I couldn’t go in the sun with my tattoo, or it would have totally blurred out and got ruined. I had to stay inside for two months. My arm was swollen for a good while. I mean, I did overdo it. Other people would do [that kind of tattoo] in parts, in four sittings. I wanted it in one.

One of my Rastafarian friends went with me [to the tattoo parlour] for company and he was playing a song, A Heart like a Lion. That was what was driving me, because he was only saying, “You real lion-ing out there, boy!” Enduring this kinda [pain]. He was like, “Nah, I wouldn’t go through that!”

Even after all that, I got another tattoo, the “rabbit hole”, from Alice in Wonderland. This means going beyond esoteric knowledge, going down the rabbit hole of knowledge. My girlfriend at that time was a tattoo artist and she wanted to practise, so I let her do the silhouette on my arm. I keep it simple, though, just a silhouette.

I always advise people not to get tattoos. I mean, it’s cool, is part of culture – but is wrong to do your body the trauma, the toxicity. And it going to look bad in a few years. If you have to get one, consider, consider and consider again. Be mindful of the design you choose, know the risks with inks and unsafe needles and unprofessional people.

My left arm could be dry and I wouldn’t have to cream it. The one with the tattoo, I have to cream. The slightest bit of dryness [in the skin] and it shows [up hugely on tattooed skin]. And sometimes, it itches. And the skin on it ages faster.

Motorbike is another bad idea. No second chances with that.

I wouldn’t say there was any good thing about having my tattoo. A lot of people prejudge you. Say you just sitting down in your car in traffic, when people pull up, if you have your [arm] on the car window, everybody would look at you. I don’t like that kind of unnecessary attention. You get a lot of problems with jobs. Even when I was going to work offshore, I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt. You can’t give blood for years, because they ‘fraid hepatitis.

I don’t feel unsafe in Trinidad but I feel uncomfortable. The tolerance level in the country is zero. Even the most decent people you meet, everybody on the edge. Even an old lady will give you a bad-drive now, because she fed-up of what going on in traffic. I try to break the cycle, so it don’t come right around. If they do me something on the road, I say, “You know what? Let it slide.”

The country is on a bad cycle now: anger; hate; closed-mindedness; intolerance. The world is on a bad cycle, yes, but, for a Caribbean country that’s supposed to be on peace and fun, you would think it could be better.

A Trini is anything you could imagine yourself to be. We’s reach all over the world, you find us doing anything, everywhere.

Trinidad & Tobago means a beautiful melting pot of chaos and love. It’s everything in one.