Sian’s first tattoo aged 40 was a ‘spur of the moment thing’

Sian’s favourite tattoo is Madame Butterfly on her left arm. For more photos visit the Mercury website.

Sian’s favourite tattoo is Madame Butterfly on her left arm. For more photos visit the Mercury website.

More Than Skin Deep series

Sian Price is 61 years young.

And while she considers herself a late starter - sitting for her first ink at 40 - she’s found solace in the pain and satisfaction in the splashes of colour that now adorn her body.

Sian’s first tattoo was a ‘’spur of the moment thing’’.

‘’I was in Wollongong, had an appointment, walked past a tattoo parlour and for some reason just stopped, turned around and went in,’’ Sian explains.

The tattoo artist approached Sian as she browsed through the tattoo designs on display.

‘’He was free at the time and he asked me what I was after and I told him I had absolutely no idea,’’ she recalls.

For me: You don't have to like them, just don't judge me, says Sian when asked her thoughts about public perception.

For me: You don't have to like them, just don't judge me, says Sian when asked her thoughts about public perception.

‘’There was no sort of turning back or changing my mind. So that was the beginning.’’

When Sian was 24 she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome – she doesn’t like the title because it means people just think she’s tired all the time.

For her it’s a sentence of daily chronic headaches, fatigue and daily pain which fuels the acute depression she was diagnosed with in her 30s.

The day of that first tattoo ‘’wasn’t a good day’’ emotionally.

Self worth: Sian Price says her spirits lift with each tattoo. She has shared her story for the Mercury's series ''More than skin deep''. Pictures: Sylvia Liber

Self worth: Sian Price says her spirits lift with each tattoo. She has shared her story for the Mercury's series ''More than skin deep''. Pictures: Sylvia Liber

‘’In a way it was me trying to say okay I can cope with this pain and get through it, so I thought I’d have a bit more pain and get tattooed,’’ she said.

‘’And since then I’ve been getting them regularly, I actually look forward to having them.

‘’Yes they are painful but after I’ve had them done I really feel like my spirits have been lifted.

‘’It’s an outlet for me and I love going to the tattoo parlour because where I go it’s like one big happy family. I mean I love them.’’

Sian’s favourite tattoo is Madame Butterfly on her left arm.

‘’It represents a lot to me because eight years ago I was going through a very difficult time.

‘’It took me five years to come to some sort of grips with it so that butterfly represents me turning a corner, coming out of the depression.

‘’I’m not out of it but I’m much better than what I used to be.’’

The Welsh writing on Sian’s arm is the same words that appear on her mother and father’s headstone.

In Welsh it says ‘’God is love’’.

Lyrics from a song in Les Miserables remind her of her son.

He played the part of Marius in the West End production of the musical.

A semicolon at the back of Sian’s ear represents hope for those that suffer with depression.

‘’A lot of my friends don’t like tattoos,’’ she says.

‘’I’m fine with that as long as they don’t judge me by it. Most of my friends just say ‘oh well that’s Sian’.’’

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