On Tattoos and Body Image

I’ve been a little Pinterest-happy because I had an idea for a tattoo on my forearm. As majority of my pieces are on my back or front torso, I (obvi) don’t get to look at them often and I wanted a piece I could actually see without a mirror. The other afternoon, I took a timed photo so I could see what my back pieces looked like together and posted it online on impulse. I would never have had the chutzpah to do that when I was younger.

I’m not petite by Asian girl standards and I felt this acutely growing up. Medical physical exams would send me down an anxiety spiral. I was self-conscious of my heavy cheeks, my big ass, my cellulite, my jiggly arms, my pudgy belly, and teenagers have a tendency to be cruel.

In 2010, I got my first tattoo. It was one of scariest decisions I’ve ever made, not because of the commitment, or the pain, but because of my deeply religious extended family. I managed to hide my first few tattoos for over a year, but when I stopped, it was a big deal for a very long time. My mother cried, aunts and uncles would make snide, passive-aggressive comments, but I really couldn’t regret anything less.

My first tattoo took about six hours to do. That was six hours of me in a bandeau bra, my shirt bunched up around my waist– the longest I’d been in any state of undress in front of other people. And that was when I genuinely stopped giving a fuck that my body wasn’t what I’d been conditioned to think it should be. I’d gone from, “Don’t look at me,” to, “LET ME RIP OFF MY SHIRT AND SHOW YOU THE AWESOME WORK MY TATTOO ARTIST DID.”

📸: Katrina Pallon

I now have five tattoos and I am so ridiculously proud of every single one that I forget to be self-conscious. While I’m sure we could list all the practical things the money could have gone to instead, it’s money well spent. I don’t see a body that isn’t perfect, I see a body that is a gallery of amazing art. Not to mention a body that has been able to collectively withstand twenty-something hours sitting in a tattoo artist’s chair, because fuck yeah, that’s why.

Of New Tattoos and Fictional Boyfriends:

…for with Jo, brain developed earlier than heart, and she preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen ‘til called for, and latter were less manageable. — Little Women

I’d been planning a Harry Potter-related tattoo for years now, but could never decide on what. I knew I wanted something small and subtle – something like the Hallows, only not the Hallows haha!


In the end, it took a month-long fanfic binge (prompted by this article a friend shared on Facebook) for me to decide on something for my favourite Marauder and fictional boyfriend of my teenage years, Sirius Black.

So this just happened. 💀

A photo posted by Gab Lopez (@teluete) on

Sirius’ Azkaban Prison number is my smallest tattoo to date, but it was the hardest for me to sit for. I don’t think I’ll be getting any more work done on my ribs. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Haha!


Happy early Christmas, self!

Done and done!

Three months, thirteen hours, two sessions, and a shit load of movies later, my birthday tattoo‘s finally done! ^_^


I didn’t think it would take me this long to go back for my second and last session with Ram, but I couldn’t afford to miss another class and had to wait til Module 3 was over. (I passed by the way, YAY!)


I do think this is my prettiest tattoo yet. Not that there’s much to choose from, but I just think it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Break time with Detroit Rock City

My pain tolerance was horribly low that day. I usually only really start feeling the pain around two to three hours into it, but I felt all the pain from the beginning. It felt a lot longer than the first session, when it actually took less time.

P1010227 copy

But it was oh, so worth it. ♥

Designed and tattooed by DaddyRam Marual of Psyko Studio Tattoos Cavite.
Block 8, Lot 30, Siena Villas, Camella Bacoor, 4102 Bacoor, Cavite
Phone 09179276267 / 09173165522
Email flamingtoad11@yahoo.com

Life Update + New Tattoo

It’s been about a month now since I quit my once-perfect job, which sucks, but I just couldn’t take it there anymore.

Long story short (because I don’t believe in badmouthing a former employer), the offshore head office hired some new people which resulted in some Game of Thrones shit to hit the fan. I was never one for office politics, so I left.


I wasn’t a bum for long. I’m doing graphics and shit from home. It’s a little lonely, but it pays the bills. I also lost the 15 lbs I put on last year so yay!

To celebrate not being unemployed, my 28th birthday, and a little over a year of singledom, I decided to get my 4th tattoo.

My wonderful support bitchez. Without whom, I would not have survived the 7-hour session. Photo by Mo Lalisan.

I’d wanted something connected to my octopus for quite some time since it feels a little half-assed to me now. It’s kinda just to one side of my back, leaving a lot of blank space,  so I asked Ram to design me a Ukiyo-e/Irezumi-inspired chrysanthemum in waves to make everything look more cohesive. (It was inevitable that I’d get something Japanese-y eventually, yes?)

Due to its size, it had to be split into two sessions. We only got the lining and the chrysanthemum’s colours done this time.

Photo by Mo Lalisan.

I’m excited to see it all finished.

Designed and tattooed by DaddyRam Marual of Psyko Studio Tattoos Cavite.
Block 8, Lot 30, Siena Villas, Camella Bacoor, 4102 Bacoor, Cavite
Phone 09179276267 / 09173165522
Email flamingtoad11@yahoo.com

Week 3: Tattooed Pin-Up

While I’ve always had an obsession on how women dressed made themselves up in the 40’s and 50’s, I’ve been on a particular pin-up girl/rockabilly  kick these past couple of days thanks to the pilot episode of Bomb Girls.

Much love to Pallon for helping me with the rose. I srsly fail at drawing flowers.

I realised today that my anatomy is shit. I really need to practice drawing bodies again instead of just busts. Bad habits need to be unlearned. But hooray for week two!

Tattoos # 2 & 3

My brother, Andy, and I got almost-matching tattoos for our love of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s such an amazing show; Fantastic world building, and flawed, multi-dimensional characters, and we’ve spent many a night binging this show as a family.

While I’m still mad at that godawful The Last Airbender Movie, I’m glad now that they changed the bending symbols in the movie , that way these tattoos are only associated with the animated series.

I got the Water-bending symbol below my right clavicle and the Water Tribe emblem below my left. I knew I didn’t want it to be just plain blue because I think it’s a bit of a flat colour on skin on it’s own. Ram used a medium blue for the outlines and a sea foam green to fill it in, but it came out more on the greenish side for some reason. Which I like better, even if it’s not completely faithful to the original art.

Pardon the redness and the bruising and the bleeding. This was taken immediately after they were finished.

Andy wasn’t feeling the Water Tribe emblem too much, so he got two Waterbending symbols, one flipped so they’d be facing each other.

Also still red, bruised and bleeding.


Tattoos by Ram Marual of Psyko Studio Tattoos Cavite, who also did my custom Octopus tattoo. Check out their Facebook page!

Meet Ringo, my octopus tattoo

Noelle and I missed FB’s Free Comic Book Day because we were at Psyko Studio Tattoos in Cavite getting our first tattoos!

This is Ringo, my octopus. Ringo and his garden in the shade.

This took around 7 1/2 hours to do, counting several breaks. If I’d gotten something smaller and simpler, I would have said getting tattooed was easy. But after about the first 2 or 3 hours, it gets harder to block out the discomfort and the pain. The really bad parts were when the needles hit parts with bone — like the shoulder, spine and the shoulder blade. The ultimate WORST was the parts near the underarm. Words are not enough to describe the agony. Hahaha.

This was done by Ram MarualI gave Ram a bunch of octopus pegs, left everything in his hands and the finished product so went above and beyond any of my expectations.

If you’re planning on getting a tattoo, I highly recommend getting it at Psyko Studio Tattoos Cavite. It’s a little out of the way if you live in the Metro like me, but so worth it.

It’s so beeyootipul! ♥♥♥  I can’t wait for it to heal! ♥♥♥ (Now, when and how do I tell my parents?)