Everything else

Written on the Body

Two tat-loving staffers swap war stories.

Illustration by Hattie

Stephanie: Tattoos are a permanent, sort of scary, but also really amazing way to physically transform yourself. For me, they mark moments of emotional transformation as well. So I thought it would be cool to talk tats with one of my fellow ink-loving Rookies, Laia, and maybe give a little guidance—or at least share our experiences—with those considering membership in the tribe.

The Decision

Laia: I always drew on my hands in high school and, funnily enough, I got the most crap about it from my art teacher. She’d be like, “What the hell are you doing? Are you gonna get tattoos? That’s disgusting.” I always knew I liked tattoos, but I wasn’t sure that I would ever get one, because of the NEEDLE. Did you always know you wanted a tattoo? Or was it like OMG, I need this now?

Stephanie: I’ve always thought tattoos looked really cool, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve loved decorating myself in unique ways, whether it was wearing really funky earrings in fifth grade or streaking my hair with rainbow colors during my sophomore year of high school. Tattoos seemed like the next level. More important, I really loved the idea of being able to have a permanent reminder of a moment or something/someone that I really loved that I could always carry with me. My very first tattoo was actually my attempt to TRANSFORM pain into power. I’d been struggling with the aftermath of an emotionally abusive relationship for a little over a year and doing a lot of self-destructive things, but then I got involved with the Riot Grrrl scene, met all these super-cool supportive women, and began to heal. I decided I wanted an armband of female signs to remind myself of what I’d survived and how I’d survived it. I asked my parents for that tattoo as my 17th birthday present.

Stephanie's first tattoo, as well as some later ones.

Laia: I can’t believe your parents got you your first tattoo! And at 17! That totally doesn’t compute in my brain. I just remember one night, I drew this design or whatever on my wrist with a Sharpie, and I was like, “This is the tattoo I’m gonna get.” So I looked up a tattoo shop and took myself there the next day in my six-hour break between classes. I felt really awesome that I just went and did it by myself. How do you feel about getting a tattoo at 17?

Stephanie: I don’t know that I would recommend tattooing to the general teen population—I’ve known people who got tattoos of band logos and cartoon characters during high school, and they’ve come to regret it. However, I was probably a better decision maker at 17 than I was in my early 20s, so I think it depends on the person. I have no regrets about my first tattoo. I thought about it for a really long time and had special reasons for getting it. I tend to do that with most of my tattoos. I’m a planner. My best friend will think, “Hey, I want a flower,” and go get it. There is one aspect of planning that I do think is necessary if you are under 18: TELLING YOUR PARENTS. Yeah, I know it makes me sound like a goody two-shoes, but I say it for a really important reason: no legit tattoo shop will tattoo you without parental permission, and you don’t want to get tattooed at a shop that is sketchy or by some friend of a friend who is learning to tattoo and happens to have a needle and some India ink. Bad work can be covered or lasered off. Hepatitis, on the other hand, lasts forever. So if you can’t get their permission, just wait. If you really like the idea, you’ll still like it on your 18th birthday.

Laia: Do you get tattooed by dudes or chicks? I’ve only been tattooed by a guy once, and I totally hated it, so I always go to women.

Stephanie:
Oddly enough, I’ve always gotten tattooed by dudes. The only time I was a little nervous about it was when I was getting a tattoo on my chest, but he was totally professional. He didn’t touch me inappropriately or anything. I would love to find a female artist at some point, though.

The Pain

Laia: I had a dream the night before I got my first tattoo that it didn’t hurt at all, and it didn’t.

Stephanie: I didn’t necessarily fear the pain. I worried it would be a trigger. I almost hate to mention this because I don’t want people to even associate tattoos with self-injury, but I did self-injure for many years. Of course, tattooing is a very different sensation than cutting, and the emotions are completely different. When I self-injured, I was dealing with anger, depression, and shame. When I get tattoos, I’m often celebrating a chapter of my life, so I’m proud and happy.

The start of Stephanie's cherry tree.

Laia: My current tattoo lady—OMG, I have a “current” tattoo lady—always says that she loves tattooing me ’cause I can take it better than most dudes, and I don’t know if she’s flattering me or what, but I’ll take it!

Stephanie: It was kind of awesome because this big biker dude did my first tattoo, and he wouldn’t do the female signs all the way around my arm. He said, “I seen Marines cry when I tattooed the underside of their arms. I’m not doing that to no 17-year-old girl.” So we agreed on a half-armband, and I did not even come close to crying. When I did get the underside of my arm tattooed later, it definitely hurt, though not as bad as the one on my stomach/hip. HOLY OW! I definitely recommend calf, bicep, or forearm for beginners. Not hip or, from what I’ve heard, foot.

Laia's severed hand with a quill.

Laia: I got the underside of my arm tattooed, and it wasn’t that bad. The underside of my forearm hurt the most. I’ve still never cried! As for the pain, it’s so worth it because, honestly, I really do love all my tattoos. As soon as I get to the place and I hear that machine turn on I’m like, HELL YES! This is happening! I want to get something on my ribs soon, but I am not tough enough. It’ll happen in the next two tattoos.

Stephanie: I am the exact same way when I hear that machine go on! I thought I was weird. I would love to get something on my ribs, too, but as of now, I’m way too chicken.

The Tattoos

Stephanie: I am always thinking of stuff I want to get soon. I just got the Latin word “spirare” on the inside of my left wrist. It means “breathe,” a reminder that I need because I’m kind of high-strung. Next I want to get “scribere,” which means “write,” on my right wrist because, well, that’s what I do. I also have this really epic plan for a big cherry tree that will go up my arm and onto my back, connecting a few of my tattoos. The problem with me not being an artist is I have stuff scattered all over my body. I always wish I’d had a better vision all along.

Laia: The only tattoo I have that was sort of my design was my first: it is the name of one of my favorite poems by my favorite poet, Julia de Burgos, with a modified Puerto Rican flag under it. A couple of my tattoos are things that existed, like the Little Prince catching a migration of birds and a kinda pretentious (but not really?) DADA portrait of Tristan Tzara by Francis Picabia. My tattoo artist came up with the others: a rocket, a severed hand writing with a quill, my cat in space, aka the Catstronaut.

The Catsronaut!


Stephanie:
Your cat in SPACE!!! I have my cat’s paw print. It was actually quite a feat to get him posed so that my roommate could take a picture of it. I have 11 tats all together. A total hodgepodge. I have a doodle that a friend of mine who passed away made. I got the Rose of No Man’s Land, a tattoo that World War I soldiers would get in honor of their nurses. Both of my parents are nurses. I got it in honor of my mom. She at least pretends to like that one. And I added the little witch in the heart from the liner notes of Live Through This, along with “Przezyj Przez To,” which means “live through this” in Polish, because my maternal lineage is Polish.

The Reaction

Laia: My mom HATES tattoos, but it’s hilarious because the first two tattoos I got (the Julia de Burgos quote and the Little Prince) were things she sort of passed on to me, so she couldn’t REALLY be mad at me. As for the rest, though, she just looks at my arms and tells me they’re ugly. It’s OK, though, she’s a great mom.

Stephanie:
I don’t have punk rock parents or anything. My mom doesn’t particularly like tattoos either, but she understands the reasons why I get mine.

Laia: Eventually I want to have sleeves, but I’m not rushing it. I think it’ll be nice if my sleeves are just, like, a reflection of my life as opposed to OMG I WANT A SLEEVE. And I feel like, by then, people won’t be asking me stupid questions about the tattoos, because everyone will have them, and it won’t be a big deal. I really hate that everyone needs to tell me how they’re just not sure that they want something FOREVER and what about when they’re OLD. I don’t care! No one ever says that to people who just got married, you know? “Oh, that’s crazy, I don’t know if I could sleep with the same person for the rest of my life.”

Stephanie: Since I work as a bartender, I get people asking about my tattoos all the time. Sometimes it’s obnoxious, especially guys asking about my female symbols: “Why don’t you have any male symbols? What do you have against guys?” Sometimes it’s just hard because people want to know exactly what everything means, and those stories are long and personal and I usually don’t feel like telling them to a stranger when I’m at work. When I got my wrist tattoo, I told the artist I wanted the word facing inward, and he was like, “Of course you do because it’s for you, not THEM.” Even though my tattoos are on display, that’s so true. From now on, when I don’t feel like answering questions, I’m just going to shrug and say, “It’s for me.”

A tattoo of Stephanie's friend's doodle.

The Regret. . .?

Stephanie: I ended up covering my second tattoo, which I also had done before I turned 18. Coincidentally (or not!) it was the only one I didn’t really plan out. I totally had the tattoo bug after my first one, so I sketched something out in study hall. It seemed like a good idea at the time—a shooting star with my best friend’s name around it—but since I’m a crap artist, it didn’t turn out well. Also my best friend and I had a falling out for, like, two years, and I secretly thought the tattoo jinxed us.

Laia: I only have one tattoo that I kinda regret. I have a musical note on my ankle. I don’t really regret-regret it. It’s just so random that I wish I had better utilized that space.

The Advice

Laia: Don’t be afraid to go back and forth after the stencil has been done and before they put it on your body!! It took me a couple of ones to realize that.

Stephanie:
Good one. I let that biker guy freehand my female signs and they are kinda uneven. My advice is: be vigilant with the hand-washing when you are caring for your tat during the healing phase. I’ve seen tattoos ruined by icky infection. Also, speaking of the healing phase, the itching KILLS ME, and you can’t scratch it. My husband taught me to slap, with a clean hand, right next to the tattoo. It’s about as satisfying as it gets.

Laia: Yeah, that one’s important! Slapping saves lives. ♦

53 Comments

  • Susann April 5th, 2012 3:16 PM

    Okay, this was really great to read! I still don’t know if I’ll ever get a tattoo, but just reading this made me feel better regarding some moral aspects and the fear of pain :)

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • Abby April 5th, 2012 3:16 PM

    I don’t know if I could ever handle getting a tattoo (just the OUCH factor ha), but my sister got one on the back of her neck recently that has a feather with the word “hope” in Gaelic, “Dochas”. The feather is for the poem that says “Hope is the thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul.” It means a lot to her, because she remembers that it gave her hope when she was younger and being abused. She really loves it, and because I know what it means to her, I love it too.

  • I.ila April 5th, 2012 3:17 PM

    My problem is that when you get a tattoo, you can’t give blood. Blood donations are a huge thing for my family, so I would never get a tattoo. But I think that when people get tasteful or meaningful tattoos, it looks sort of nice. Also, both Winston Churchill and his mom had tattoos.

    • Janine April 5th, 2012 5:13 PM

      Six months after you got inked, you can donate blood again (or at least in Switzerland it’s like that) :)

    • maddzwx April 5th, 2012 8:14 PM

      in the US, if you get your tattoo done in a state that doesn’t regulate tattoo places, then you have to wait a year. after that year you can still give blood :)

  • Abby April 5th, 2012 3:18 PM

    Also, I really like your woman symbol cuff. Very feminist and strong. <3

  • mayaautumn April 5th, 2012 3:19 PM

    it would be pretty cool to get a tattoo, but the thing that puts me off isn’t so much the pain, it’s how it might look when im elderly…. you know what i mean? i just don’t know if that would look ‘good’! it was really interesting to read about though YAY!

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

    • anonymouse April 6th, 2012 7:11 AM

      Yeah, I’ve heard that one a lot. But I figure that if I’m just as awesome as I am now, I’ll be proud of who I was and who I am. To be proud of my mistakes and triumphs, “I earned every grey hair, and every wrinkle [every tattoo]” I would love to have that attitude when I am older.

  • KinuKinu April 5th, 2012 3:24 PM

    Oh, I LOVE this. I’ve been afraid of tats but my dad says it barely hurts. I’m a very impulsive person,so I have to THINK not DO. My dad has eight tattoos right now. A few months after I was born, my dad moved to Florida. He was buying a house and getting things ready (my parents were young when they had me) and one day he called my mom and said “I had an injury. My arm is hurt.” My mom was scared and she moved to Florida a few months later. My mom wanted to see his arm and when he showed her, it said SYL (short for Sylwia, my mom’s Polish) SO SWEET and my dad claims not be a romantic person.♥♥

  • whodatgal April 5th, 2012 3:36 PM

    I’m sorry to say I’ve always hated tatoos. I’ve always loved my skin and have my own veiws about tatoos, but I totally get why you’d want them. Sort of. Anyway, interesting post! :D

    http://www.opheliahorton.wordpress.com

  • Naomi April 5th, 2012 3:37 PM

    this is really helpful. i honestly hadn’t even thought about the pain! so i am glad you both didn’t have bad experiences with that, that’s reassuring.
    in my head i want a tattoo this summer, for my 18th year but only under a few conditions. i would like it to be symbolic of the next part of my life or something. i don’t know. and to just remind me of where i was. to keep some kind of connection with myself as i am now.
    some people are like, what about getting a job?! and i am sorta like, well, i never want a job where having a tattoo would be frowned upon, i want freedom man!! it would be a good way to make sure i never did have one of ‘those’ kinda jobs if that makes sense.
    i am wondering about ‘thou mayest’ which has quite a long back story but is from east of eden and basically means we ourselves have the power to change etc. i am not sure about quotes or words though, maybe a symbol would be better?

    • Abby April 5th, 2012 10:34 PM

      I think if you’re worried about having people judge you when you’re looking for a job, put the tattoo in a place that you can cover easily. But then again, it’d be great to be in a workplace that they wouldn’t judge you for it!

  • Eleanor April 5th, 2012 3:38 PM

    Laia’s catstronaut tattoo must be my favourite tattoo ever!!!

  • Hazel April 5th, 2012 3:38 PM

    I love love love this.

  • tove April 5th, 2012 3:53 PM

    I’m utterly in love with tattoos and I’m definitely getting one in few years, maybe as soon as I’m 18 or 19.
    I’m not afraid of pain, also I’m not afraid of the way it’s gonna look in forty, fifty, sixty years, because I consider tattooed elderly people absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g. the only thing that freaks me out is the big decision: what kind of tattoo do I want (a colorful one, that’s for sure), god, I’m so freakin’ terrible at making any decisions at all.

    oh, and I’m still in shock (a good kind of shock) that one of stephanie’s tattoos is in polish!

  • hollyhotdog April 5th, 2012 4:07 PM

    I’m interested in the bit where you said, “a tattoo that World War I soldiers would get in honor of their nurses.” I’m just curious as to what that was or where I would find anything about that?

    • Stephanie April 5th, 2012 4:51 PM

      It is called the Rose of No Man’s Land. I read about it in a book on the art of the American traditional tattoo artist, Sailor Jerry whose art I adore. The one I got is based on his design but I don’t know if he originated it. The tattoo is inspired by the song of the same name which was from WW1 so I believe military service folks have been getting it a long time!

    • Emmie April 5th, 2012 4:52 PM

      Google image “rose of no man’s land!”

  • mariaantoniavs April 5th, 2012 4:12 PM

    OMG! The astronaut cat is so epic!! Coolest tattoo ever! If I ever decide to get a tattoo, it’s gonna be something like that!

    http://uglyit.blogspot.com/

  • Emmie April 5th, 2012 4:50 PM

    My friend’s grandfather has tattoos and now they are just blobs, totally unrecognizable. it’s partly why I don’t think I’ll ever get one, and I don’t think that taking future appearance into account is a bogus reason for not getting a tattoo. That said, my best friend has a ton of tattoos that I think look really cool. I prefer temporary ones, especially since they can be sparkly or glow and the dark!

  • Janine April 5th, 2012 5:11 PM

    I got my first tattoo a few months ago, on my right forearm. It didn’t really hurt, so I hope the next one(s) won’t be as bad as everyone tells. I just don’t get why everyone wants to touch them. I mean, it’s not like a scar or anything where you can feel anything…
    I like this article. (And I’m sorry if you find any mistakes, English isn’t my native language and I’m actually glad when grammar nazis correct me, because that’s how I learn :))

    • tallulahpond April 5th, 2012 5:32 PM

      Your grammar is pretty good, I wouldn’t have guessed you weren’t a native speaker! You have a pretty good grasp of English- only thing I could find to correct was to replace “tells,” with “says.” Perfect otherwise.

    • April 5th, 2012 5:47 PM

      Okay so I’m gonna be a grammar nazi right now and correct the part of your comment when you said “as everyone tells.” Instead of “tells” it should be “says.” Otherwise your grammer I great, good luck learning English Janine :)

  • Marie April 5th, 2012 5:19 PM

    I remember I got four of my tattoos between age 17 and 18. REBEL GIRL! I hid them from my mom FOR YEARS. I have a butterfly on my rib cage. Strangely enough it didn’t hurt as bad as these little stars on my ankle!

  • polipki April 5th, 2012 5:22 PM

    WOAH! The first Stephanie’s tattoo is written in polish :> i’m surprised

  • tallulahpond April 5th, 2012 5:30 PM

    My mum absolutely HATES tattoos, but I’m kind of curious. I’d need something with meaning though- I’m a choral singer and love writing (I’ll love both for my entire life) so I thought about getting either “carmen” which means song in Latin, or “canto,” which is singer. I don’t know, maybe I’ll decide when I’m older.

  • neenah April 5th, 2012 6:06 PM

    I have 2 tattoos, one is an chysanthymum/lotus hybrid that I picked off the flash art years before while a friend was getting something pierced. I chose to have it face in (it’s on the underisde of my arm and about the size of a fist) so that it would be right side up when I looked at it. When the artist was postitioning it he asked if I was sure that I wanted it like that. I said “of course, it’s for me.” Which he thought was cool (which of course made me feel super cool). Everyone asks how old it is because the colors are so brilliant still (6 years!). MY tip is lotion the shit out of your tat when you first get it done and sunscreen EVERYDAY!!!
    My second tattoo is my wedding ring, a flame with at little heart above it because my hubby and I’s song is “Ring of Fire.”

  • unicorn April 5th, 2012 6:30 PM

    I have always wanted a tattoo. The only problem is that my parents hate tattoos of all kinds, so I have to wait until I’m eighteen.

  • starsinyourheart April 5th, 2012 6:40 PM

    i got my first tatto when i was 16 and my mother loved it aha! :) and i’m actually getting my second one the day after tomorrow :) as an early 18th birthday present to myself. it’s going over te underside of my wrist, over some self injury scars ‘beauty from pain’. i’m so excited :)

  • christinachristina April 5th, 2012 6:44 PM

    I love tattoos. I have four—two of which are Harry Potter tattoos because I’m a total dork/awesome.

  • starsinyourheart April 5th, 2012 6:44 PM

    ooh and my first tat was on my foot! it wasn’t that bad, but i have a really good pain threshold i think! x

  • MissKnowItAll April 5th, 2012 7:13 PM

    When I turn 18 I want to get the Om sign tattooed on my shoulder. I also want one of my Grandfather’s name written in sanskrit. I have it all planned out and everything.

  • Yellie April 5th, 2012 7:35 PM

    I love the idea of representing your soul in a single image, that you can wear like a badge on your body.

    • Abby April 6th, 2012 12:09 PM

      OMG Yellie, that comment was so poetic… you should write a song. Seriously.

  • Nikkita April 5th, 2012 10:08 PM

    Love this! :D
    I’ve been wanting to get a couple sunflowers tattooed on my right ribs for aaaages but I’m a little worried about getting it done there if you tattoo veterans are scared to! Especially because I have a super low pain tolerance :S. I want one anyway because sunflowers represent a whole lot of things that i’ve been through and they’ll remind me to keep looking on the bright side. (Plus I love them, I have one on my window sill right now!)
    Anyway… my question is what would be a better placement for my sunflowers if the ribs are sensitive, especially if it’s my first tattoo?

    • Flossie April 5th, 2012 10:56 PM

      It depends on the shape and flow of your sunflowers. The best thing to do if you’re not sure is to find a good tattoo artist, someone who you’re comfortable with and can talk to, and see whether they have any suggestions. A really good tattooist should know how the body “flows” and what will look good where.

      But ultimately, if you have your heart set on getting tattooed on your ribs, you should go for it, pain be damned!! I mean, the pain only lasts for the time the tattoo is being done (and a tiny bit of tenderness afterwards, kinda like a bruise) and then you have something beautiful for the rest of your life. Short-term pain, long-term gain!

      The one thing I’ve learned about getting tattoos is NEVER COMPROMISE. They last forever, after all, so don’t get something you’re only partially happy with.

      • Nikkita April 6th, 2012 4:42 AM

        This is really good advice, thanks heaps! :D

  • Caden April 6th, 2012 8:07 AM

    My tattoo is on my forearm and it only hurt a little!

  • cookies0905 April 6th, 2012 4:30 PM

    I loved this post!!! I have two tattoos and i am 17. you are probaly thinking that I am pretty irresponsible but i though about getting a tattoo since the begining of high school. before i got my first one i thought about it for a year that way i made sure that i would still love the idea (that way i never went out on a whim and did it). i got the lines from a poem by emily dickonson on my foot. “hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.” becasue i am in high school it is pretty hard to rationalize the idea behind the tattoo to others but after a while i just got to saying that i means a lot to me and its a long story. my mom told me i could get one on my sixteenth birthday and i didnt get on untill 6 moths after that. i went with her to get it. my second one i went to get alone but i told her about it to. i got the hindu sacred om symbol on my the inside of my wrist. this was hard for my parents becasue i am catholic but i tried to explain to them that it wasnt the religion i belived in but the symbol.
    i have two really important pieces of advice: one is the put them in a place where they are easliy concealable becuse you never know when a job dosent like to have employees with tattos. second is that you should really think about what you are going to get for a long time that way you know you love it. i dont regret either one and i want more. i think that even if i dont believe in the same things when i am older and will always remeber that my belief was an important part of my life a some point. each tat is a sysmbol of a part of my life.

  • songbird April 6th, 2012 6:37 PM

    Here’s my advice as a 26-year-old tattoo veteran – and it was almost mentioned in the article at one point – think hard about which design is going where. The shape of your drawing should compliment the shape of the body part you’re putting it on. For example – arms and legs are long and thin, so a square are circular design might not work plopped down in the middle of that. Then if you get more than one, your body doesn’t look like weird clip art or a Nascar jacket full of logo patches!

    • Katherine May 16th, 2012 12:25 AM

      Also, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you aren’t allergic to the ink. My dermatologist mother’s told me all these stories about having to laser tattoos off people who were allergic to the tattoo ink, and it’s apparently a very painful and unpleasant process.

  • appledarling April 6th, 2012 6:37 PM

    i remember once, i was giving a sponge bath to my mom’s best friend’s mom who at the time was 104 years old. she had a tattoo on her arm that said in a heart ‘mom’.
    i wonder how much of a bad ass chick you’d have to be in the early 1900s to get a tattoo like that.

    • back2thepast April 6th, 2012 10:01 PM

      K that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard

    • AYAtheOUSH April 7th, 2012 8:43 AM

      did it look like i regular tattoo or was it deformed? sorry if thats kind of rude but i am really curious. either way that’s awesome.

  • back2thepast April 6th, 2012 10:00 PM

    “I really hate that everyone needs to tell me how they’re just not sure that they want something FOREVER and what about when they’re OLD. I don’t care! No one ever says that to people who just got married, you know? “Oh, that’s crazy, I don’t know if I could sleep with the same person for the rest of my life.”"
    Favorite part of the whole thing, never really thought of it this way. My brother just got a brilliant compass along his side and makes him look like Jack Sparrow :D

  • MissKnowItAll April 7th, 2012 9:16 AM

    I’ve always wanted a tattoo but I’m too much of a wimp too even walk into a tattoo parlor. But I guess I’ll have to work up the courage to do it.
    I’ve been thinking about what I wanted and I really want to get my grandfather’s name in Sanskrit of my shoulder and the Om sign on my palm. I’m only 15 but I really want to get one when I turn 18. But how do I ask my mom. She’s really cool and let me get my nose and my ears pierced but a tattoo just seems different than a piercing.

  • pottersprincess April 7th, 2012 1:30 PM

    I got my First tat over my inner left forearm, and it didn’t hurt that bad. However my sister got hers on her ribcage and nearly passed out. I am actually getting my next one along my hipbone…

  • bethleeroth April 8th, 2012 2:34 PM

    As a veteran tattooed lady who’s now 28, I absolutely love this article and think it’s a great (and important!) read for anyone considering getting tattoos. I love all of my tattoos (I’m up to 8) and don’t regret a single one, even if it’s something I wouldn’t necessarily get tattooed on me given the chance to redo it today. That being said, all of my tattoos were well-thought-out, though I don’t really subscribe to the idea of waiting a REALLY LONG TIME (like a year or so) before getting a tattoo idea committed to ink to make sure you REALLY WANT IT. I think that’s overkill; just be honest with yourself and give it some good thought, but sometimes it just feels right. One of my tattoos was conceived of/inked within about two days and even though it was my least amount of forethought, I knew it was right and I still love it.

    Also, the advice about going back and forth on the drawing/stencil: SO TRUE! It’s going on your body, so don’t be afraid to get picky. Just make sure you’re being clear rather than just saying “I don’t like that; try again.” Brings pics, references, inspiration, photos, anything that will get your vision across. :)

  • Ellie April 8th, 2012 9:42 PM

    Oooo, I’m so excited to turn 18 and look seriously into getting tattoos.

  • pocketmouse April 8th, 2012 10:06 PM

    my first (and only, so far!) tattoo I got when I was 16, and it’s hello kitty on like my shoulder blade/back area, I’m almost 20 now and it’s a bit silly but I think it’s cute and I like the memories behind it :) I just kinda got it spontaneously, my dad and I were downtown at the Pride festival when my best friend called me up and said her tattoo artist cousin was going to give her a tattoo and asked if I wanted to get one too so I just kinda thought of something on the spot then and since I’d loved hello kitty my whole life I thought it would be a good idea, my parents ended up paying for it and I got it done in my best friends living room. from the moment he finished it i’ve wanted to get another tattoo, but I think i’d like to wait to get it for like a time where i’m travelling to a new place, i’d love to get a tattoo somewhere overseas.

  • Allison April 9th, 2012 7:30 PM

    323 days until I get my first (real) tattoo.
    Hohum.

  • Katherine May 16th, 2012 12:17 AM

    I’m Jewish and thus can never get tattooed, but if I were to get one it would probably be something small, like a heart on my ankle. I really like tattoos that mean something, like my super-cool theater teacher’s wedding band tattoo.

  • Geevah May 16th, 2012 2:06 PM

    Hey, my friend is getting Woodie from Toy Story on her ankle for 18th birthday. She’s amazing! :)