Recently I published an article titled, “Things To Think About Before You Get A Tattoo.” I gave six pieces of advice that I challenged people to think about. Many people have been wondering what my experience with getting my tattoo was, so here is how I followed those six pieces of advice. Stay tuned for next week, when I will answer common tattoo questions with what I experienced.
1. Think about your motivation behind getting the tattoo.
I wanted my tattoo for five years before I got it. I didn’t get it to just rebel against my parents or my Christian upbringing. It wasn’t a snap decision just because I was away from home. The reasonings behind it, and the story behind it are timeless. They will be things that are always incredibly important and shaped me into who I am. Due to these reasons, I know I won’t regret my tattoo due to impulse or immature reasoning. I may for other reasons, but I can be confident in these.
2. Talk to others
The night before I got my tattoo, I called my sister, my parents (more on this in my next post), my friend who got a tattoo, and his mom. I talked to a ton of people about wanting to get a tattoo. Through talking to people, I rethought the location of my tattoo and was reminded of a bunch of things that solidified why I was getting a tattoo. It also made me advocate for my decision and what I wanted, ensuring I was ready to do this especially after I got my tattoo. It also made me realize who I wanted to bring along to the appointment. I encourage you to talk to others, as it reminds you of things you have thought through behind why you want a tattoo, as well as some things you might have forgotten.
3. Location, location, location (on your body)
For the five years that I wanted my tattoo, I wanted it on my wrist. Up until the night before, I was confident in this location. However, the more I talked to others and the more I thought about the difficulty of hiding something on my wrist, I knew I needed to move the location. When I went to the studio and they informed me of the size the writing was going to need to be, I knew there was no way I would be able to hide it on my wrist. Being able to hide it was incredibly important to me since I want to be an elementary school teacher, so moving it to my back was a great decision. Each and every day since getting my tattoo, I am so grateful I moved it to my back. Many suggest thinking about your design and placement for a year before going through with it. I thought about mine for five years before I went through with it. It is truly up to you, but no matter what I encourage everyone to think about it for at least a while.
4. Do your research
I was deciding between two tattoo studios that my friends had recommended to me. Both people had been with other people and could vouch for the cleanliness of the locations so I wasn’t concerned about this aspect of the studios. I searched through Yelp reviews and the studios’ websites to determine which one I wanted to go with. It actually came down to me calling both studios to talk through my questions with the receptionist. The studio I didn’t go to had an incredibly rude receptionist who made me feel like an idiot for asking the questions I did (Do I need an appointment? Can you give me a quote or do I need to come in person before you can do so? Can I bring in my design and you copy it directly [since the wording was in my own handwriting]?).
The studio I went to had an incredibly kind receptionist who answered all of my questions. And funny enough, that was the deciding factor. I went in, looked through a lot of the artist’s work, and was confident that the studio would allow me to back out at any time during the process (before actually starting the tattoo). Through the whole experience, checking ID, stenciling my tattoo, signing waivers, and the actual tattooing, I was confident that everything was sterile, professional, and done correctly.
I got my tattoo on December 13th, 2016. This was a great time to get it because I wasn’t going swimming anytime soon and my clothes or jacket always covered my tattoo so it wasn’t being damaged by the sun. However, it was hard to find clothes loose enough that didn’t rub against my tattoo for the first few days, so I wish the weather would have been a little bit warmer and I could have worn tank tops. I got it right before I went home for break, where I could give it the time and attention it deserved to heal correctly.
6. It’s permanent
I’ve wanted my tattoo for five years, so I don’t think there is something as thinking about it for too long. However, there is a point in time when you just need to do it. Five years was enough for me. I could have thought about it for another nine years and still not have felt ready to go, but there is a point in time where you have to take a leap in faith and trust in yourself and what your heart desires. Through being confident in all of these other decisions, I knew I was ready to go forward with my plan. Tattoo's are something incredible. They are incredibly powerful, and while many abuse this power, many use them to tell meaningful stories and exemplify something incredibly important to them.
I hope this answers some questions you may have had, stay tuned for next week when I will answer questions I'm asked over and over again when people find out I have a tattoo.