What It's Like Getting Your First Tattoo

The Story Of My First Tattoo Experience, For Anyone Considering Getting One, It Wasn't That Bad

For a reference, the pain was just less than that of someone massaging a deep knot out of your back.

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I had known for a while that I wanted a tattoo. Tattoos are something that I have admired for as long as I can remember. They tell a person's story in a beautifully artistic way. The first tattoo I ever truly decided on was a tattoo for my great grandma, which I still plan on getting, but I had an agreement with my mom to get a smaller one first, as the tattoo for my great grandma will take up a large portion of my arm. The design is pictured below.

The tattoo in memory of my great grandma

For my first tattoo, I got a small paw print that is about one inch in length. I have had a few pets throughout my life, and they have meant a lot to me, so I got a tattoo in honor of them. I was really excited about getting my tattoo, but I felt a little bit nervous the night before, so I googled how much it would hurt in the area I got it. As it turned out, the area that I was going to get a tattoo is one of the most painful areas to get a tattoo.

I don't recommend looking up the pain scale the night before, do it ahead of time. When I got to the tattoo place, called "Tatted Up Ypsi", I was definitely nervous. I took a glance at the walls, and they were covered in beautiful artwork. I confirmed my design with the artist and gave him my I.D. As the artist prepared the station,

I glanced at my mom. She looked even more nervous than I was. As the artist put the needle to my skin, I gasped, but not entirely from pain. It was a strange thing that I can't quite describe. It felt like my bone was vibrating. The part that hurt the most was when the tattoo gun went over the tendons in my arm. For a reference, the pain was just less than that of someone massaging a deep knot out of your back. Just as the artist finished the outline, my sight started to go black.

According to my mom, I went pale (well, paler than I already am), my eyes rolled to the back of my head, and I started sweating waterfalls. The artist stopped what he was doing and rushed over to put his hand on my shoulder to keep me from falling out of the chair. I felt like I was going to throw up, so my mom switched places with the artist and grabbed me a trash bag. As soon as I felt the trash bag around my face, I lost my dinner.

After I had recovered, the artist handed me a sucker. He explained that what happened to me is something that sometimes happened to people when the adrenaline hits. I asked if we could just stick with the outline, but he said he had already made it so that it would be filled in. He finished the tattoo without a hitch. The artist was very kind and understanding of what I went through during that tattoo. The tattoo hurt the most after it was completed.

The skin was so sensitive that someone just breathing on it hurt like crazy. It took about two weeks to stop hurting. You have to make sure to take good care of it by gently washing it with mild soap and water, as well as carefully massaging it with unscented lotion a few times a day.

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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You Shouldn't Be Ashamed Of Your Black Hair, Don't Let Anyone Tell You Differently

Growing up in predominantly white schools changed the way I felt about myself, including embracing my hair, but other people's opinion shouldn't stop you from embracing the beauty of your culture.

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Throughout my entire life, something I struggled with was my hair, even though I never really talked about it. I had never been very confident in it, and as I started to do it on my own, I struggled with keeping it healthy and eventually had to keep cutting it short to hide how damaged it was (still is).

I was constantly straightening it and got to a point where I was relaxing it every 3-4 weeks instead of the minimum point of 2-3 months. Every time it looked frizzy in the slightest, I'd text my mom and ask if she'd be able to lather on the chemicals that night. I thought what I was doing was okay and that my hair would somehow manage to become healthy again on its own, but it took me a really long time to admit to myself that I was damaging my hair because of my own insecurities.

This is the first time I'm being completely honest about all of these thoughts.

My first encounter with negative opinions about my hair was when I was in preschool, K4 to be exact, at a predominantly white school. I don't even remember much of it myself, but my mom would tell me how I would come home crying about kids calling me names such as "poodle" and would just constantly pick on me. All because of my hair. Sure, it may not seem that much now, but I was 4 years old. So, my mom decided to relax my hair, thinking that it'd make everything better.

But here comes the third grade. I was new at school and my only close friend was the only other black girl in my class. When my hair had gotten a bit wet during a relay race on field day, a kid in my class touched it and proceeded to ask why it felt like wheat grass.

That's when I stopped letting people touch my hair.

Constantly throughout middle school, I'd get told I had "white girl hair" and black girls would thrust their hand up my scalp to feel for weave tracks. This just encouraged me to do even more damage. But during the summer in-between grades, I would get my hair braided, and friends would text me asking "Why would you get a weave?" Just a few months ago, I had friends saying "I'm glad you never get a weave. I hope you never do that to your hair." This discouraged me from taking the precautions I should have been using to keep my hair protected, its fragile state not being made for being chemically straightened but to bounce freely as natural curls.

It had been almost 5 years since the last time I have braided my hair or done any protective styling in general because these things and the negative way my "friends" talked about me for it were sticking with me, making me think it was wrong to protect my hair. But now I plan on embracing the beauty of my hair and doing whatever I want, and whatever I think is necessary to help it while looking absolutely gorgeous while doing it, no matter what these "friends" think about it.

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