Last week I got my first tattoo. It’s something I’ve been working the courage up to do for years. I’ve always admired them and think they can be incredibly beautiful, and I’m so proud of myself for finally taking the plunge and get one done.
I found my artist on Instagram, she was based in Coventry and I loved all her work. Then I noticed one of my friend’s tattoos on her feed so I dropped her a message and he couldn’t recommend her enough. Decision made.
I love botanical tattoos and I had an idea in mind of a little bouquet of flowers, black and grey and dotwork shading. My journal is filled with drawings like this and it just felt very ‘me’. Before you wonder, there’s no real meaning behind it. I just love the design. I was quite adamant I didn’t want my first tattoo to be one with a deep meaning, and I think I made the right decision as I’ll touch on later.
It's a bit scabby still and not healed yet as you can see in this photo, just ignore that ;)
Friday 7th April. I woke up early, hopped in the shower, shaved all my legs, moisturised everywhere except my upper right leg, got dressed in suitable clothes, packed my bag with lucozade, chocolate buttons and fruit, and headed to the train station. Luke came with me thankfully, I’m not sure I could have handled my nerves on my own.
When I arrived at the tattoo studio I was, inwardly, an absolute wreck. My artist showed me my design and I had a quick look and gulped down a little bit of sick. She put the stencil on my leg and again I distracted myself from everything going on around me while we waited for it to dry.
I have a fear of needles, and pain. I was 100% sure this was what I wanted but the fear of pain was almost too much. Deep breathes.
I sipped some lucozade while she got all set up. I laid on my side, she prepped the ink. Then it was time to go.
She did a tiny bit first so I could adjust to the pain, then gave me a breather. This isn’t too bad, I thought. It’s like a tiny scratch.
5-10 minutes in, it starts to get too much. It’s bearable, but the thought of 2 more hours of this was making my stomach churn. But she’d already started so I couldn’t back out now, or I’d be stuck with a very much unfinished tattoo on my thigh.
So I grinned and beared it. Some bits were easier than others, but I’m not going to lie, it hurt, a lot. I ended up playing games on my phone and browsing social media to distract myself which helped, and I didn’t faint so I’m proud of that!
The shading hurt even less, which was a relief as I was approaching an hour and a half of constant tattoing. I didn’t look the whole time, I can’t look when I get an injection or a blood test or a piercing. In fact I can’t look at that area for quite a while afterwards. So when Bex said she’d finished, I almost didn’t want to look. But of course I did, and I loved it, it was truly beautiful even if looking at the redness and tiny bits of blood was enough to make me think I was going to pass out. She took some pictures, told me about aftercare and that’s it, it was done.
HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT IT NOW?
I’m absolutely in love with it. It’s made me look at my body in a different way, I suddenly want to get my legs out everyday and show it off. I’m so, so happy.
One thing it’s made me realise though is how much I actually care about other people’s opinion. And I know I shouldn’t, trust me I know, and logically I don’t care. It’s my body, I didn’t get this tattoo for anyone other than myself, and if you don’t like it that’s not my problem. But irrationally, I still give a damn. I’ve had a lot of compliments on it which made me feel all warm inside, but not everyone will appreciate your tattoo, just as some people don't like certain clothes or haircuts. It's a matter of taste. The negative comments on something so permanent is definitely something you have to learn to deal with.
Anyway, I’m still ridiculously happy with it and I keep having a peek at it and my face is like a heart-eyed emoji. Massive thanks to my lovely tattoo artist for putting up with my twitches and flinches and the beautiful design, and Luke for letting me almost break his hand. It’s healing well and I’m excited for summer when I can wear shorts and feel a bit more confident.
IF YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT GETTING TATTOOED, HERE ARE MY TIPS:
- Being mentally prepared is as important as being physically prepared. Not everyone will like it, that’s life.
- Find a tattoo artist who’s lovely, patient, tattoos in the style you like and you feel comfortable with.
- Don’t worry about it having meaning, not all tattoos have to mean something. But fall in love with the design.
- Take someone with you, especially if you’re nervous.
- Sugary snacks and drinks are e v e r y t h i n g.
- Go for it! The pain is so worth it.
HAVE YOU HAD A TATTOO? HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH NEGATIVE COMMENTS?