I recently had my fourth tattoo done by the incredible Rebecca Vincent. It’s a little black and grey hot air balloon ❤
I’m really happy with it! This event also set my thoughts on a ramble spree…
I got my first tattoo done when I was eighteen. I went to a local place with my best friend. It was shabby, cluttered, and the guy that owned it was chubby, sweaty and wore overalls, always reminding us of a character from the horror film Hostel.
It wasn’t the kind of place you’d expect great things from, but something about it was weirdly comforting. My mum had gotten a tattoo of a dancing fairy there and growing up I’d gotten various piercings there. Sure, some kids once threw a stink bomb into the waiting room, and sure, the owner had this habit of pre-piercing anecdotes that seemed to go on forever, the needle waving about terrifyingly in front of you. In the end though it was cheap(ish), close and the only tattoo place we really knew, so seemed the perfect choice.
I remember not really knowing what I wanted, but just knowing that I wanted something. I was in Brighton, seeing a band called The Virgins when I decided that I should get a heart on my left wrist. It didn’t need any grand metaphorical reasoning behind it. I was eighteen, about to leave sixth form after my a-levels, and in that particular moment I felt young and completely free; in love with the world and the cinematic, dramatic perception being eighteen gives it.
So we got them done. A random dude sketched a heart out on paper, we waited for what felt like hours, saw a woman walk out clutching her wrist in pain and felt petrified. I don’t really remember it hurting, but then again, it did only take about two minutes. What I remember most is sitting at home after, staring at my wrist and feeling strange.
There’s still something quite strange staring at it now. Of my three tattoos it’s definitely the worst. It’s tiny and the line work seems to have expanded a little. Still, I don’t regret it. I got it at a time in my life that may not have been especially well thought out, but it was still a time I’m happy to have marked. It feels as naturally a part of me as any other markings of life and most importantly, it was my choice. You have to trust your choices sometimes and feel assured by them, especially when it comes to tattoos. I can laugh at how small and silly it might look to some people, but deep down not let it hurt me.
What my tattoos mean to me
It’s strange, because I feel like someone that shouldn’t like tattoos. I over think every little detail of life, always doubt my decisions (and have trouble making them in the first place), worry and am in general a bit of an anxious mess. For this reason, tattoos should be the worst idea possible!
I feel really proud of them though. While getting tattoos means something different for everyone, for me they make me feel like a stronger version of myself. When other people ask me about them, I feel brave and confident, because they represent things I love and a part of my personality that is unafraid rather than riddled with anxieties or doubts.
If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo too, here’s some humble advice:
1. Research and find an established tattoo artist whose work you love. Finding a style that perfectly connects with your ideas or inspires you makes *all* the difference.
2. Think carefully about placement. Unfortunately, some employers might have issues with tattoos and depending what your work situation is, this is always something to keep in mind.
3. Consider the future. While I’m not so fussed about how my tattoos will look when my body gets older and wrinklier, I do contemplate whether the designs I’ve chosen will have the same meaning to me. You might really love Lady Gaga now, but what about in ten years?
4. Get used to the idea. It’ll be on your body forever after all.
5. Don’t let other people (and the prejudices of society) get to you. Know that if you get a tattoo, there will be those that criticise it and you. Don’t listen.
6. Sun cream is your friend!