Trigger Warning: this post contains photographed blood and a healing tattoo wound.
I’ve been wanting a tattoo for the last few years. The idea of getting permanent art etched on my skin really appealed to my artsy side, but I’m horribly, cripplingly indecisive. I couldn’t pick a design I wanted with me for the rest of my life.
Until one day, I came across this design. It clicked instantly, shouting out to me as something that was beautiful, symbolic, and totally right for me.
After getting a second opinion from fiance Dave, I contacted the artist and asked if she’d mind me using the design. She was fine with it, and asked to see it when it was done… which meant I was now honor-bound to go through with this.
I got some recommendations for local tattoo artists from friends, and Angie from 2Tone Tattoos in Inverness was enthusiastically recommended for greyscale and lineart tattoos. I’ve got bad social anxiety when it comes to phoning people up, so originally I just e-mailed her. When no reply came I swallowed my nerves and phoned her. The appointment was booked for the end of that week (last Friday).
Having a tattoo done is a strange experience. Sometimes, it’s just vibrations on your skin, with no pain at all. But when it’s over your bones or veins, it really does sting. Not enough to make me cry out, just enough to make me tense my free arm against the couch or squeeze Dave’s hand.
The image on the left is of the ‘outline’ stage of the tattoo, which was by far the most painful bit. The black fills were easy by comparison. Towards the end we went back to the outline needles to get in some of the finer details. My skin was very raised and swollen by this point, which didn’t help the pain.
At it’s very worst I gritted my teeth, huffed a bit, and took a two minute break to drink fizzy juice and shake my cramped muscles.Most of the time I just kept my eyes away from the needles and stared at the wall, the floor, or Dave pulling stupid faces and showing me pictures of our dogs on his phone. My arm shook a lot, but this was an automatic response I couldn’t actually control.
Tips for Getting Your First Tattoo:
NEVER EVER LOOK AT THE NEEDLE. This advice has got me through blood tests and dental work for years, and it’s just as useful with tattoos. Looking at it makes my mind go ‘ahhhhh blood what’s going on’ and I don’t want to trigger myself into a panic.
Bring something to drink. Dave nipped to the shops to get some fizzy juice, and the sugar definitely helps, but I also regretted not stopping at a cafe for a hot cuppa tea beforehand.
After two hours of not-as-bad-as-I-imagined tattooing, the end result was done. And I love it, you guys. I really love it. As soon as it was done (hell, as soon as we started) I knew it was worth the discomfort and nerves to wear a brilliant piece of art on my arms:
So now, readers, I want to know your stories: have you got tattoos? Do you want tattoos? If you do, what designs are you thinking of?