i always forget that i have them until i meet a new person and they're always like– "woah what does it mean??" this is my little tattoo story and hopefully i'll have more to tell in the future...
i got my first tattoo this summer in August of 2019.
the first biggest factor for me was the money. it wasn't until i was like 19 that i felt i had the dispensable cash to splurge on a tattoo. i see getting a tattoo as like a luxury purchase and something that you really need to be able to dish out some serious cash for. you can obviously have like a budget, but know that this art is going to be on your body FOREVER. it's OK and GOOD to spend a lot of money on something that will be there literally for a lifetime and it's really good to generously tip your artist. especially when they make the design for you. i got super lucky for my first tattoo because i had an amazing artist and she was an apprentice so she gave me a great price for quality and time she put into it. i tipped her well on top of it but for the entire experience i really got a deal.
when it came to deciding what i wanted i honestly came across the idea when i first saw my dad's cover for one of his band albums. it was this super cool trippy looking wolf with long legs and a moon. i really loved the psychedelic feel to the art and thought it could be cool to have something like that on my body. it was really important that my first tattoo be designed because i wanted it to be really special to me– something no one else had. i didn't really decide on the full design i wanted until i was driving around one day and saw this beautiful looking deer walking around. it reminded me of home, like deer are honestly seen as the rats of Pennsylvania we have so many. but they're so beautiful. i wanted to combine the look from the album cover art with a deer but didn't really know how it would look. i messaged an acquaintance i had been following on social media and saw she was really good at tattooing. she worked close to me at the time so i went for it. a couple days later we set up a consultation.
i showed up to the consult and she showed me her design. it was literally perfect. i had no notes, nothing to change. i just remember looking at it and being like this is so sick and beautiful all in one. the only thing was it looked a little bit more anatomical than i expected as in i thought the design would be a bit more rugged looking like the wolf inspo but i honestly love the choice of having it more structured because you can really tell what it is from close up and far away. like a trippy looking deer with long wavy legs! as far as the process went it was so fun. i realized why people love getting them. it was such an enjoyable experience. we talked while she did it the entire time, took a smoke break in between, and it honestly was not painful at all. only a couple spots were tender but i picked a great spot for my first one. she went in with some shading and everything was complete within a couple of hours.
my SECOND tattoo went TOTALLY differently than my first but i still love it. i remember really itching to get more ink. it's funny because i never understood why people become obsessed with it and now i do. but i have a friend in college who does tattoos and over the fall had just bought their first tattoo gun. you know where this is going... they told me they'd love to tattoo me as a way of getting more practice and i was like why tf not. the way i felt about it was i could always cover it up if i end up hating it or it's just something funny i did in college. either way i didn't think too much about it. after thinking for like a day about what i wanted i decided on two little mushrooms to um represent um my love for mushrooms ofc!! i AM the agricultural fair queen of Unionville mushroom country after all ;)
getting tattooed by my friend was honestly equally as fun. we talked about life, i brought another friend over to chill, and she even ended up getting a cute little snake tat on her ankle! my partner also showed up and got an adorable little possum guy but don't tell their parents... they still don't know lmao. the only thing i wasn't expecting is that this tattoo actually hurt like a little bitch! i got my mushies around my ankle which was close to the bone i guess but it was so painful my leg was like involuntarily shaking. also this one was a bleeder. i don't think it healed as well because i got super impatient and took the bandages off probably before i should have but honestly the tattoo still looks great and the design is still adorable. i know i'll probably be laughing at the fact that i have a mushroom tat on my ankle when im like pregnant or some shit but who even cares it's a memory i'll never forget.
after getting tattooed twice i've come out of the experiences with an entirely different perspective on the entire tattoo process. here were my biggest takeaways-
1. sometimes having a concrete idea in your head of the "perfect" design isn't the best idea. i'd recommend having an idea of what you want and finding an artist's work that you love. you won't be left disappointed about little details that you might've been fixated on. i loved what my first artist designed but i also liked pretty much everything else she designed and tattooed before so i knew chances were it would be my style.
2. having a good experience is the most enjoyable part about getting tattooed. i recommend getting tattooed by an artist you're comfortable with or better yet someone you know who is good. you could have a great tattoo but the whole experience working with someone could be a nightmare and that's just as annoying in general and bad memories.
3. aftercare is essential. getting the tattoo is half of the process. you NEED to take care of it or else it will turn out like shit regardless. keep it wrapped up for as long as your artist tells you to and moisturize it a lot. again, listen to your artist because i'm not the most knowledgable about it but just know that it will make a significant difference it how the end product will be.
4. don't get stuck in your head about wHaT DoEs iT mEaN??? everyone is going to ask you this shit once you get them but honestly just saying you wanted it is a good answer. if you don't like it down the road then whatever. i don't know how i'm going to feel about my tattoos when i'm older and honestly i don't really care right now (as you'd expect me to say as a 20 year old). but i like them right now and i will look back and remember the good memories i have associated with them. that's why i cherish the fact that i've had such good experiences both times. regardless of their lack of meaning or how i'll feel about them in the future i really loved getting them done and had a blast.
5. don't go crazy all at once. i remember when i first became obsessed with tattooing as a young "thriving" tween and all i wanted was to be so coooool and heavily tattooed. if you want to watch a good video about this i'd recommend click on dis. tattooing can be a fun experience that you do over time. you're going to go through so many phases in your life and like so many different styles. i thought that once i got my deer guy that i had to immediately start building on a sleeve or something. but honestly i think the best decision was to just wait and decide on all of that once i'm older and able to really put time, money, and research into it. or maybe i'll never do it! who knows?? i don't!
make sure to get some ink once we get outta quarantine. the artists would appreciate it and so will you <3