Tattoo by Joseph Shupp of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum in Baltimore, MD
This is my first tattoo, which is on the inside of my left bicep. I got it a few days before the new year to commemorate 2013 with a special memory from a cross-country road trip I took my cousin over the summer.
I was in Yellowstone National Park driving around while my cousin was still sleeping back at our campsite when I went to go get a cup of coffee (I hadn’t really slept the night before). When I came back to my car, to my astonishment, it was surrounded by a gang of elk. The only thing I could do was just sit on a nearby bench and wait for them to leave.
The significance of the timing was meant for reflection. 2013 was a year of extreme personal growth and healing for me, and it seems fitting to have a tattoo of elk antlers when contemplating what can happen in a year. The male elk’s antlers grow into these beautiful massive ornaments. Then in a year, they fall off and the whole process starts over again. Another fun fact: in some parts of Asia, the velvet on the antlers is used for traditional medicinal purposes.