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I’ve been gone, y’all. Partly, I mean, gone from home for a while, and partly just that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to sit down and read anyone else’s blogs or write on my own. It’s not you, baby, it’s me. And while I don’t foresee much free time in the near future, I did have a little bit of time today so I’m sitting down to the computer to update you. Because you care. You really do. I can tell. And if you don’t, I’m still going to pretend you do, because imagination.

There’s so much to tell you, and if I put it all into one blog post, it’ll take you years to read it, and you’ll probably die sitting there for so long, and then I’ll have blood on my hands. And no one likes blood on their hands. Except maybe serial killers – but not all serial killers because some of them wear gloves which is partly so that they don’t leave fingerprints but also probably partly because no one likes blood on their hands except for the aforementioned serial killers that do. Anyway, this post is not supposed to be about blood…mostly. I’ve struggled with how to share this because I don’t want to rip a certain person a new one or hurt her business in any way, but I also really want to tell you about my experience because it was funny when it wasn’t terrifying. So here we go.

If you follow this blog, you have no doubt read that I am in the process of opening a tattoo studio. One of the things that I’m going to offer is paramedical tattooing and cosmetic tattooing, i.e., permanent makeup. Cosmetic tattooing is a little different than conventional tattooing, because we use different equipment, the pigments are different and aren’t implanted as deeply, and it doesn’t last forever like a regular tattoo. So I had to get training for permanent makeup somewhere besides from a traditional tattoo artist. Enter Amira (at least, that’s what I’m going to call her), a large matriarch of Middle Eastern descent. Amira likes to yell. A lot. She also likes to whack you on the head. A lot.

Her other favorite activity is yelling at her adult son who works with her. We’ll call him Farid. Farid’s main job, as I understand it, is to stop doing whatever else he’s doing, and fetch things for his mother. “Farid, get me after care form!” “Farid, go get kleenex!” “Farid, we need pencil!” “Farid, scratch my butt!” And if he’s one room over and doesn’t answer because he is actually working on a customer, she calls him on the phone, “Farid, why you don’t answer?! I dropped pencil. I need you to pick it up!” At which point, Farid good-naturedly stops what he’s doing, gets whatever she needs, and, I assume, dies a little inside.

But she doesn’t save her screaming for her son. No, Amira likes to spread the love around. On my first day, I almost cried. We started out by learning to tattoo eyeliner. Yes, let’s start with the scariest procedure, and just when your student has a vibrating needle millimeters from a customer’s eyeball, let’s smack her on the back of the head and scream, “STOP!! Stop! What are you doing?! Not like that!” So I’d stop, and then she’d shout, “Why you stop?!!” I’ve never felt so incompetent in all my life. I was shaking. And you don’t want to be shaking when tattooing so close to someone’s eyeball. And everything that could go wrong went wrong, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. It scared the everlivin’ outta me, but it also taught me that shit happens and I can handle it, and I know what’s cause for true concern and what’s stuff that just comes up a lot. Like, blood. Blood comes up a lot. That’s what gloves are for, as we established above.

The second day, we learned how to microblade eyebrows. Finally, 15 years of doodling faces in the margins of my textbooks paid off. I know how to draw a fanfreakingtastic eyebrow, y’all. So the day went a little more smoothly, until Amira decided to give me a compliment and then smacked me on the back of the head so that I wouldn’t get cocky. As if anything could “go to my head” other than her palm as she bludgeoned me. And then, after she’d complimented how great the eyebrows I just did looked, she went back and filled them in even more. “Natural” was not a look she understood. I know heavy eyebrows are in right now, but Groucho Marx brows? She also didn’t seem to understand “customer service.” When I’d ask the customer to turn their head towards me, she’d yell, “No! You don’t ask! You just grab their head and turn!” When the customer would flinch, she’d say, “It hurt, but you okay!” instead of numbing them up some more.

The subsequent days went similarly. I’d get up in the dark, drive a couple hours to get to her space, make an attempt at not looking too bleary-eyed, and experiment on peoples’ faces. Those were some brave souls, you guys. Seriously. I wouldn’t let anyone practice on my face because it’s my face. But they were happy to get a huge discount so that I could learn and possibly disfigure them. I learned how to do eyeliner, eyebrows, and lips, and in my opinion, they all still looked totally human when I was done. Next week I get to go back to learn how to do areolas – but not on anyone’s face…unless they request it …or unless Amira decides that that’s where you should have them. You don’t say “no” to that woman.

Now, where did I put my calendar book? “Farid!! Bring me calendar book!”

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