Having just recently put the deposit down on my third and probably my most painful tattoo (ribs) i'm reminded of the first time I got inked. I was nineteen and a few months into my freshman year of college. I had spent the last few weeks second guessing my decision, googling everything that could go wrong, marathoning LA Ink, Ink Master, religiously trying to prepare myself to pay someone to stab me. My parents were not loving my decision to permanently scar my body with art but I had refused to give in and had been questioning almost all of my life choices. The night before the appointment was spent worrying. Worrying if I could handle the pain, worrying if i'd be able to get through it, worrying if i'd get there and decide not to go through with it, therefore, wasting everyone's time. Getting my tattoo was one of the first decisions I got to make as an young adult living on my own and i've never regretted it. For anyone who's made the decision to get a tattoo for the first time, this one's for you.


1. Take Your Time.

There's no rush to get tattooed. Take your time deciding what you want, because, as your parents will almost certainly remind you, it's going to be on you forever. Maybe run through a couple designs first before making your decision. Remember, this is your body, the only person you need to worry about loving what you put on it is yourself.

2. Pick The Right Artist

Your artist is key. I would recommend getting to know them a little bit more before you decide to trust them with your body. Take a look at their portfolios. Remember that there are plenty of great and talented artists, you don't have to go with the first one you meet. There are also lots different styles, pick the artist that can is willing to work with you to get exactly what you want.

3. Bring A Friend.

Understandably, you're a little nervous. Chances are you don't know your tattoo artist super well. So the situation may feel a little weird at first. I had a couple of my closest friends at my tattoo. Friends to take pictures, hold my hand, and distract me when I got a bit freaked. Bring someone who isn't going to squeal or freak out rather than someone who can keep you calm and relaxed.

4. Breathe.

I promise, like most scary things, it's not going to be nearly as bad and you think it will. Take deep steady breaths and try not to overthink it. The design is gorgeous and it will look even better when it's all done. The best I can describe the pain is that it's like a vibrating cat scratch being dragged across your skin. Uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

5. Trust Yourself.

The worst time to doubt yourself is on the chair half way through the tattoo. I fully accepted what was happening just as soon as I sat down. That's when it became real for me. I was like, "Well this is happening..." When that occurs to you, remember that this the choice you've made. Ignore the doubt and tell yourself that this is right. Your body is your own, nobody knows it better than yourself. If this is how you choose to decorate it, that is 100% up to you.