I just got back from New York City (first trip ever), and I am on a high of positive energy and have a renewed sense of "fight" for the cause. This trip was mind blowing in so many ways. I met amazing women from advocates, to survivors to artists. Everyone gave something to make the weekend as amazing as possible for the participants and the coordinators.
We arrived Sunday night to our hotel. It was crazy driving through the city, through tunnels and across bridges, dodging bikers and pedestrians. It was something I had never seen before. Once we arrived, we got ready for a pre-event reception in lower Manhattan. There I met the P.INK team as well as tattoo artists and fellow survivor participants. Right away the energy in the room was hopeful and excited. We were all so very grateful for each other and listened adoringly to each story as we had a chance to meet and connect. As we said our goodbyes I was overwhelmed with excitement that I had a hard time sleeping.
Monday morning, we all gathered outside of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn. Saved Tattoo graciously allowed P.INK to use their space and invite guest artists to complete 10 mastectomy tattoos for the first P.INK Day. Stephanie Tomez is a part owner of Saved Tattoo and she, along with other artists of Saved Tattoo participated in marathon tattooing. Some women were there for more than 8 hours of tattooing. That is nothing short of miraculous and fierce for not only the woman being tattooed, but also the tattoo artist.
My artist, Joy Rumore, is from Twelve 28 Tattoo around the corner from Saved Tattoo. She single handedly owns Twelve 28 Tattoo and has a connection with the cause. She herself had a cancer scare herself at 19 and lost loved ones to the disease. We connected immediately on these points and our silly witty personalities. I was tattooed for 3-4 hours and we laughed the entire time. I am honored to say that Joy is a truly beautiful person inside and out and I look forward to a forever friendship and bond from this experience with her.
After we were all tattooed and refreshed, we met for a post reception at a local bar/restaurant. There we talked about the day and exchanged thank yous to the organizers. We got to further meet and talk to Mollie the inspiration behind the entire project (see Mollie's story here). There I was asked an interesting question. What makes a mastectomy tattoo different than any other tattoo? I'll get back to this answer later, because it is a provocative question.
The next day, Tuesday, I was asked to participate in an interview with HuffLive about my experiences with P.INK and P.INK Day 2013. Of course I said yes! While in the "Green Room" (which is not green at all), I rubbed elbows with a super cute TV star, Tyler Blackburn of Pretty Little Liars and Ravenswood.
After taking pics and drinking yummy coffee drinks, I was on set talking about my mom, my story and P.INK Day 2013. You can see the full conversation here . Huffington Post also wrote up a short article about my personal story with BRCA and my mom, as well as clipped just my speaking parts. You can see both the article and the short clip here.
The interview was an amazing experience. I was apprehensive at first being a teacher. I wasn't sure if I would have negative backlash for talking about a sensitive issue so publically. But, after much antagonizing thought, I decided that I am not doing anything wrong, ugly or perverse, so I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. I dare anyone to say otherwise. Go on, I dare you! (haha)
The experience I had with P.INK cannot be categorized with words. I didn't realize what I was being given and I cannot find the words to adequately express my gratitude, and pride for this organization. I hope to help in any way I can for the future of P.INK and for survivors and women everywhere.
Please consider donating to P.INK 2013 and to future events.