On March 18th, 2017, I got my first tattoo at The Torchbearer in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I was quite nervous and scared because I was getting my tattoos on my wrists and I expected it to hurt a lot. I decided to get the Harry Potter chapter stars because one of my favorite memories from my childhood was my mother reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to me. I also wanted something to remember and honor my mother since she died in 2010. I could never remember who her favorite character was or what her favorite quote was, so I decided on the chapter stars.

When I arrived, Chris, the man who was going to tattoo me, talked to me about the size of the stars and how big I should get them. He gave multiple options before I chose the size I wanted. We discussed positioning and I had him move the stars closer to the center of my wrist. I sat down and saw how clean and sterile my tattoo artist and his station was.

When Chris started, to me, it felt like someone was just scratching my wrist. I felt no pain and it took approximately three minutes to do all six chapter stars. I absolutely love my tattoos and I will be back soon to get replicas of the ink paw prints from three of my dogs. While each person has their own pain tolerance levels, I did not find it unbearable whatsoever.

If you want a tattoo, I highly recommend researching the shop you want to get it at. Look at the artists and see what their specialty is - so if you want a shading piece, a portrait, realistic, lettering, pin-ups, tribal, etc. find an artist whose specialty is just that. Also, read Yelp and Facebook reviews. E-mail with the artist, discuss what you are looking for, and then make the appointment. Make sure you are well hydrated and have eaten before you get a tattoo – getting one can take a lot out of you. Make sure you’ve really thought about your tattoo – what you want and where you want it – it is permanent after all.

When it comes to healing, each artist has his or her suggestions of how to take care of your tattoo. Just make sure not to scratch it. It is an open wound and your body will make a scab over it, if you scratch at it or pick at it, your tattoo may be blotchy. Don’t expose it to the sun, don’t go swimming, and don’t take a tub with it when it is healing. One lotion that I found to work really well is Vanicream – it has no dyes or perfumes. After you get your tattoo, don’t be afraid to reach out to your artist, too.