The rainbow tattoo story

I’ve had this domain since March 2008, and I still haven’t actually explained my rainbowtatt-ness.

Even a year ago, March 2010, I took a photo of my tattoo,  vowing to finally write a post about it.


(sorry about the stretch marks)

The basics

  • I got the tattoo in 1997, when I was about 19
  • I got it at  The Illustrated Man, Sydney
  • It’s on my tailbone
  • It took 45 minutes to complete
  • And yes, it HURT. So much so, I almost passed out.

I look at that tattoo parlour nowadays and wonder how me, an innocent 19 yo thing, walked into that bikie joint and asked meekly for a tattoo. I held my breath during each “addition” (the nice way of explaining how the needle is dragged through your skin); so after 45 minutes of “work” I admitted I was feeling faint and all the staffers were very attentive and looked after me very well… it was funny to see big burly bikie blokes demanding I drink water and keeping a watchful eye on me while the “work” was completed.

The tattoo itself

  • It’s a full-colour tattoo of a shooting star with a rainbow tail
  • It was one element of a larger, full-back tattoo that included a unicorn and a wolf
  • I didn’t want a unicorn or wolf, thank you very much

A rainbow?

  • Rainbows have always been significant in our family
  • The inscription on my dad’s grave is “there will always be rainbows”
  • The quote is reference to the Noah’s Ark parable, where God sent a rainbow at the end of the 40-day flood.

For me, the tattoo represents many things

  • My dad, of course, who I only knew until I was 8
  • In reference to “there will always be rainbows”, the rainbow represents that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, that every cloud has a silver lining… that whatever shit you’re going through… you can survive it

No, I am not gay, though I can’t tell you how many times it’s been assumed that I am, purely because of my tattoo.


Very rarely do I regret my tattoo. There are times when I learn about my dad (since he died when I was 8, my general knowledge of dad isn’t very strong), where I realise that perhaps he wasn’t always the upstanding parent that I took him to be. But beyond all that, my tattoo embodies  perseverance in the face of your own faults and struggles.

Sure, it gets embarrassing when people point out my tattoo when I least expecting it (like, when I’m rifling through the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet at work). But then I like breaking down the “tattoo” stigma and stereotyping, too.

True story: my tattoo is allergic to grass. I think Couch and Buffalo specifically. It gets all itchy and gets to the point when I can feel the tattoo raised against the rest of my skin. WEIRD.

FAQs about my tattoo

  • Is that thing real?
    My nephews used to think that the tattoo was a crayon drawing on my back – how cute is that? The colours on the tattoo is what throws people, often
  • Can I be the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow?
    This was v popular in the days when I’d go clubbing. Classy. I never did come up with a good comeback

Okay, so there you have it… might not be the most interesting post in the world… if you got this far, well done, you! :)