So this is a first… (My First Tattoo!)

So I’ve wanted a tattoo for quite awhile but I’ve never had any ideas of what I’d want. Of course, it’s something that would stay with me for the rest of my life so I didn’t want to just get a tattoo for the sake of getting a tattoo. Plus I’ve always been petrified of needles – once I woke up screaming in an ambulance when I heard a voice say, “We’re going to have to prick her finger.” I’ve cried numerous times in the waiting room before getting bloodwork done. I’ve had a nurse ask if I was okay after putting an IV in my arm because I went ghost-white and she gave me juice (even though I wasn’t supposed to have any food or drink) before running through the hallway, yelling for a doctor. I’ve had my mom ask if I wanted to go for lunch and instead she drove me to the clinic to get bloodwork done because the papers had been sitting in the kitchen for months (and I wasn’t going to get up and do it myself) – so mean! I have been reassured by multiple people that tattoo needles are different. But

either way, I still wasn’t going to voluntarily put myself through pain unless it was for good reason. In terms of deciding what design I wanted, I realised that this entire time, I was in the wrong train of thought.. I had always been thinking of travel-related tattoos, but I didn’t want something that hundreds of other people had gotten, and I’m not really the most creative person so I don’t come up with many ideas on my own. But suddenly about three months ago, an idea came to me.. I’m always travelling, I don’t need anything to remind me of travel. I need something to remind me of home. And what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “Saskatchewan?” Well, the Roughriders..  but I wasn’t about to get Gainer tattooed on my buttocks, that’s for sure (although I seriously considered how I could incorporate the Roughriders into this tattoo before deciding against it). And what next?? Of course, farmland. My ancestors from both sides of my family came over from Europe to farm, and my uncle and aunt still take care of the family farm on my mom’s side of the family. I have never been a farm girl (until now 😉) – I’ve always lived in the city, but even though the fields usually make for a boring drive, there’s something truly calming about them. So this is what my tattoo means to me…

I used to get so mad when people had an opinion about Saskatchewan. Especially because most

Me with my aunt & uncle in the fields

people who had strong (bad) opinions about it weren’t even from there, and many hadn’t even BEEN there before. Saskatchewan has some of the friendliest people in Canada! I realised this when I met other Canadians in London and would say that I missed how nice people were back at home – how strangers would just say hi when walking past you on the sidewalk. Most of the other Canadians were like, “Really??? It’s not like that where I live…” I remember being so surprised on my first day back in Saskatoon after living in London because I was unpacking my car and two people walked by and said good morning. I was so accustomed to living in London that I was wondering why they were talking to me. I noticed the same thing in Warragul – I’d walk past the same people everyday and we’d say good morning to each other. It’s something that’s often lost in those big cities, but something that makes a world of difference. Saskatchewan also has one of the top fan bases in Canada because Roughrider fans are so passionate about their team. Going to a Roughrider game is an experience that everyone should try at least once in their lives! Saskatchewan has prairies, we have forest, we have lakes, and we even have some hills. Go ahead, let everyone think Saskatchewan is boring. Let everyone continue going to Finland to see the Northern Lights.. Let everyone continue going to different parts of the world to see “the most beautiful sunset in the world.” We’re called “The Land of the Living Skies” for a reason that no one will understand unless they’ve lived here. Saskatchewan is the best-kept secret in Canada and it’s a place that I’m truly proud to say that I come from. Even if I end up moving to another part of Canada later on in life, Saskatchewan will always be my home.

My tattoo also has a blue and yellow background, which represents the Ukrainian flag. In the flag,

blue represents the sky while yellow represents the fields. When I was in Ukraine taking the train from Kyiv to Lviv, I was truly shocked that when looking out the window, it looked EXACTLY like home. Also when I was in Ukraine, I was mistaken for a local quite often, and many locals told me that I looked very Ukrainian. While I know that I got many of my characteristics from my dad’s side of the family (as I’m usually told that I look more like my dad while my sister looks like my mom), it’s been something that I’ve been so proud of. I’ve always been so interested in my Ukrainian heritage and the food is my favourite! I even attempted trying to learn Ukrainian on Duolingo during my first couple of months in Warragul (which I failed at horribly – it’s really difficult!). Anyway, especially with what’s happening in Ukraine right now, I definitely wanted something to link me to my heritage.

And the last thing that I somewhat think of when I think of farming is Warragul, which is why I

ended up getting my tattoo in Warragul, as opposed to Melbourne. With wheat, it doesn’t always survive all types of weather. Farmers can have good years and then they can also have tragic years. But the chances of a stalk of wheat surviving are a lot higher when it’s surrounded by a bunch of other stalks of wheat to support it. And that reflects my time in Warragul, and with my life in general. I’ll go through all kinds of storms – ups, downs, everything, but I’m not meant to go through it all alone. It’s all of those people who let me lean on them which helps me survive the worst weather. So thanks to everyone who has been my surrounding wheat! 😀

And last but not least, wheat is very significant for me personally since I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 18. PCOS caused me to be depressed and led me to make the decision to move to France, which started my whole travel experience.  It has also led me to have so many insecurities and has lowered my self-esteem tremendously. It’s caused me to make diet and lifestyle changes to benefit my health and my confidence. One of those diet changes is omitting gluten from my diet as much as possible. So it’s somewhat ironic that I put the one thing on my body that I’m not supposed to eat. But it reminds me that I won’t let something that I was diagnosed with define me. I’m me and that’s all I can be.
Anyway, that’s what my tattoo means to me. And I love it, and that’s all that matters! I’m not looking for approval from anyone cause quite frankly, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. In terms of pain, it actually didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. As a matter of fact, sometimes I was just bored and wished I had a book or something haha but then again, I (thankfully) have a really high pain threshold. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few moments that made me cringe, but it was manageable. I had been following Shanra at Warragul Tattoos on Facebook (see her page here) for awhile because I instantly fell in love with all of her work, so I knew I wanted to get a tattoo done with her. By the way, she even said, “This is going to be a really weird compliment, but you’ve got really great skin for tattooing!! It was definitely meant to be for you to get a tattoo.” And then she told me that if I had any other cool ideas, she would do them for me. So I guess I’ll see if anything else comes to me in the next 1.5 years… 😉 Love always

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