This Sh#@! Ain't Henna - Jessica Kirby


I was 8 years old when I tagged along with Dad to get another one of his tattoos. It was out of a friend’s garage so I got the up and close look at how tattooing even works. I was fascinated by the whole thing; the loud buzz of the gun and the colors of the ink as I watched the art come alive on my dad’s back. I told my dad that I was going to be the absolute best tattoo artist when I grew up. This dream stuck with me all the way until it was time to apply for colleges. I got the idea in my head that it wasn’t a practical or wise career choice, so I decided to get into botany research since the parents insisted I go to college. So I set my art aside as a hobby and dedicated my efforts to a dense science degree. I thought that was what I wanted, but 4 studious years and 4 universities later, I found myself miserable in the counselor’s office of California’s Humboldt State University discussing the consequences of my academic probation. I was struggling with depression and couldn’t even find motivation to finish my degree. Still dragging my feet through the semester, things started to change when a tattoo gun was placed in my hand.

A month ago, a friend of mine let me borrow all his tattoo gear when he heard I wanted to give it a try. With the tattoo gun in my hand, I was shocked with how straight my lines came out. I started giving out a few free small tattoos to friends one week, but I was too afraid to do anything more than that. I wanted to dedicate all my efforts into this, not some degree that I wasn’t passionate about, so I started to consider leaving my University. But the real inspiration began when I ran into Jenner and Chris.

The night before my final, I had my notes out to study but wasn’t feeling it. So naturally, I pulled out Tinder (the ultimate procrastination tool). I came across a cute looking dude, but swiped right because of his bio “Wisco kid on a 65 day road trip around the U.S. Be apart of our story.” Jenner messaged me asking for advice on where to camp due to low funds. I knew I needed to study but decided to offer these boys my living room in exchange for a pizza. Little did I know they were going to inspire me the way they did. After exchanges of pizza and life aspirations, Jenner decided to let me tattoo him. I told him I had only done 3 small tattoos before him and that I was incredibly nervous with the symmetrical design; I wasn’t sure if I was good enough. Chris and Jenner agreed that if this is what I wanted to do with my life, then I needed to go for it. So I stenciled him up and got to it. As I was tracing the lines with my needle, they told me about their philosophy of “Take Today”. They explained that they want people to follow their passions and actually take action towards their dreams. I was loss for words when I finished because the tattoo came out amazing. I stayed up all night creating pages for my art and trying to market my work to see if anyone wanted my tattoos and was met with overwhelming support. Jenner and Chris may have left in the morning, but the inspiration did not.

Every day since they’ve left I have found a new client to tattoo, each one progressively more difficult but coming out exponentially better. I’m officially withdrawing from my university and pursuing what I’ve wanted to do all along. I’ve never been so excited for my future. Turns out all I had to do was to Take Today.


1 comment


  • Jim

    Thank you for your message of inspiration and truth. It made me both smile & tear up at your elequent exploration. You rock!


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