If you’ve ever mentioned getting a tattoo, you may have heard a few lines like this:
Don’t get a tattoo, you’ll never get a real job.
Tattoos will ruin your wedding pictures.
What if you regret it when you’re older?
Even if it looks good now, it will sag and look terrible as you age.
Do any of those quips sound familiar? If you’re anything like me, you may have heard one or all of those from family and friends when mentioning the idea of getting a tattoo.
Nothing against your loving friends and family. I’d like to think they all have good intentions.
What I’ve learned is that good intentions usually mean you’re playing it safe. Playing it safe means you’re not living like you want. And not living your life means you’re not doing a single thing you want (just what you’re “supposed” to do.)
Well, I say, to hell with good intentions! After going through the process of getting my first tattoo, here are a few of my thoughts:
Do It for You
Ignore the naysayers and get the tattoo for you. If you live life based on what others deem appropriate, you’ll never do anything you want to do. Guaranteed. 100 %.
If you really want a tattoo, just get it. Do it now. And do it for you.
Don’t get a tattoo out of peer pressure. Don’t get one to save a relationship.
My idea for my first tattoo came to me gradually over the years. Growing up, my dad would call me fearless because I was always doing stuff that my family deemed “outside-of-the-box.” In 5th grade soccer, I’d go up the biggest guy on the field and attempt to take the ball away. It only worked once but that didn’t stop me. In high school, I got a job at 14 because I could. In university, I went on a study abroad trip with no one I knew because I wanted to travel. Three years ago, I moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Toronto, Canada to be with my now husband.
So I have a bit of a history of doing things for myself. Fearless to me means doing something in spite of fear, not without it.
Even though I wanted the word fearless, I mostly wanted something from my mom. My mom was my rock. She’s everything I want to be. And I want to always have a part of her with me. Even though I still call her every week, it’s hard living so far away from her. So I asked her to write the word fearless a few times on a piece of paper and email it to me.
And that’s the story of where my tattoo comes from. A bit of my mom and my dad.
I don’t care that Fearless is also a Taylor Swift album. And I don’t care that fearless means something different to me than it does to other people.
I got this tattoo because I wanted it. Period. End of Story.
Get a Tattoo for Your Life as It Is Now
The world is changing all around us. It wasn’t too long ago that the iPhone and emojis didn’t exsist. Think about how fast things will change going forward.
I realize that if you want to be a lawyer one day, then a face tat is probably out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get something that you like in an area that’s not your face.
Besides that, I cannot even count how many times I’ve changed my mind for what my profession would be. Or better yet, how many times life events altered my path. I’m 27 years old and so far I’ve worked in fast food, retail, hospitality, education, and now I own my own business.
My advice: live your life now to its fullest. Get the tattoo if it suits your life now. The rest will work itself out.
Everyone Judges, Even Tattoo Artists
My first attempt at getting a tattoo didn’t go so well. I spent years dreaming up exactly what I wanted and where. I would ask locals who I spotted with tats where they got theirs and who was their artist. After tons of research, I settled on a local shop with great recommendations.
When I walked in the shop, I instantly felt out of place. I wasn’t cool enough to be here. But since I was already there, I walked up to the counter where two very bad-ass tattooed and pierced dudes asked me what I needed.
From the moment I met them, I felt uneasy. As I was explaining to them what I wanted, I realized that they were not taking me seriously. My questions about how to care for the tattoo and how long it would take to get inked were brushed off and basically laughed at. I was humiliated.
Moral of the story: everyone judges, even tattoo artists. So screw them.
Appearance Isn’t Everything
After my first embarrassing tattoo shop experience, I was hesitant to try some place else. Would that place be clean? Will I get laughed at again? Would they answer my questions?
Six months later, my husband recommended a place called Picture Me Perfect Tattoo Studio that he happened to pass by. With absolutely no commitment in mind, I checked it out. My first thought was that it looked like a cheesy biker shop that you see in the movies. You know, the one that drunk people go to at odd ours of the night to get ink that they’ll later regret. It even had a huge rotating sign out front stating “walk-ins welcome.”
But I soldiered on in anyways. I figured the worse that could happen is that I’d get laughed at again.
Plus, they had these huge windows that showed everything going on inside. I liked that.
When I walked in, I was greeted by Matt. He patiently answered all of my questions while making me feel comfortable. He didn’t laugh at my tattoo idea or any of my weird questions. (Like will ink show up on black people. LOL) After chatting for about 30 minutes, I booked an appointment with him.
The days leading up to the appointment, I emailed Matt directly asking even more stupid questions and he patiently answered them all. The day of the appointment, I was so nervous that Matt recommended I eat something and drink a bit of caffeine. Before starting the inking process, he printed up several sizes of my tattoo concept and allowed me to try it out with a temporary ink version first.
All in all, the entire experience was lovely and I’m already planning out my next tattoo.
No Pain, No Gain
The biggest question I get now from non-tattooed people is this: Did it hurt?
Of course, you dumbos!
In seriousness, yes it hurt a bit but it wasn’t so painful that I wouldn’t get another. My tattoo took probably 20 minutes to apply and hurt most on the inside of my arm, near my armpit. My superhero of a tattoo artist Matt said it would feel like ice. And it did. Like if ice could burn….
So yes, it hurt. But as they say, no pain, no gain.
Allow for Healing
The healing process or my little tattoo lasted about two weeks. And in those two weeks, I took care of my new ink like it was a little baby.
Here’s what the healing process of my tattoo taught me about, well, life:
- Sometimes, giving it room to breath is the best thing to do.
- Taking care of your body is super important for longevity.
- Don’t over-care for yourself. Give yourself what you need. Nothing more. Nothing less.
- It’s a wonderful thing to commit to yourself.
- Though it may be uncomfortable now, trust that the end result will be what you wanted.
- Don’t scratch!
Ok, that last one isn’t really a life lesson but it’s vital to caring for your new tattoo.
Overall, I have zero regrets getting a tattoo. And as I said above, I’m already planning a second one. So if you’re on the fence, my advice is to go for it!
And if you don’t like it, tattoo removal is becoming more and more accessible every day. 😀