AMBER LOVE 09-MAY-2016 Last Friday, May 6, was the most unique fundraiser I’d ever been to. It was for people who wanted to support the Live Through This project founded by Dese’Rae Stage.

You may have heard my podcast with Dese’Rae about suicide prevention and mental health advocacy. She’s a skilled photographer and has entered the public speaking market which has given her another way to open the discussion about mental health. With the LTT campaign, Dese’Rae has cultivated a following of her brand which includes shirts and different logos with motivational messaging. One of them is the “Stay” logo which looks like a heartbeat reading within the letters. Several people had expressed interest in getting that or the LTT birds tattooed so with the help of ART MACHINE PRODUCTIONS, the inking began.

LTT stay logo

There were several sheets of designs by different tattoo artists all with a nautical Sailor Jerry vibe but incorporated metaphors in the imagery like a life preserver or an anchor with the yellow ribbon around it; plus one sheet was Dese’Rae’s designs like the Stay logo and the birds with the ribbon, an ampersand, and more.

I had originally be interested in getting the semicolon tattoo as many people have in fashion of The Semicolon Project. I had some reservations about it because it had some religious roots, not that you could tell from the simple graphic. Anything that also worked as a connection to writing and creative life was what I was after. When I noticed a lot of people getting the ampersand either instead of or with the semicolon, I thought it was a good option for me.


On Friday, I strongly considered getting both the tattoos I wanted, the Stay logo and the ampersand. In the end, when it finally my turn, I stayed simple and chose the ampersand by itself for my left wrist in a medium brown color similar to the shade henna would be.

I drove two hours to Philadelphia in the morning. It was raining and I was completely foreign to Fishtown. I drove around the neighborhood looking for parking. Finding a spot on a side street marked for two-hour parking as they all seemed to be, I took it. Then I worried that I wouldn’t be done in two hours because there were about 16 people who were ahead of me all together from the time they opened. After an hour, I moved to another space that was closer but still a two-hour spot. I think by the end of the whole day, I was home close to 6PM.

No, it didn’t hurt at all until the next day which happened to be Free Comic Book Day. I was surprised how much it hurt the day after. Now it’s scabby and still quite tender. My skin doesn’t regen quickly. No Weapon X advancements in me at all, sadly.

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