Tattoos have become the new fashion accessory and I must say I’m pretty chuffed about that! People tend to love them or hate them – I’m one of the former.
I have always wanted a tattoo from a very young age. I think this stemmed from my Dad who had a lovely swallow on his forearm carrying a ribbon with his name. I recall asking my Dad where mine was and him saying that you aren’t born with them dear you have to get them. At that stage I didn’t quite know what he meant by ‘get’ them. Where did I get them? Did I have to purchase one at a grocery shop?
Later, as teens, when my sister and I both looked set to ‘get’ our own, Dad did his best to discourage us regaling tall tales of tears and pain (we are all prone to exaggeration from time to time!) and of tattoos that he knew of that went wrong (you know the guy who had the wrong girlfriends name inked, a name misspelt, a beaver that turned out to be, well, you know…etc..).
I found out when I got my first tattoo (a Celtic inspired bracelet done by Tony Cohen – The Illustrated Man in Sydney) that his stories weren’t quite off the mark. I have to admit tattooing isn’t pain free but I suppose it all depends on your pain threshold too. After my most recent acquisition, (a short sleeve of Japanese inspired Autumn leaves, done by Rodrigo Melo at North Star Tattoo in New York) while I was somewhat tired and emotional, I didn’t quite resort to tears… There were some inner mind games at play keeping me focussed and I did have to keep telling myself, yep it will all be over in just a minute despite that minute taking 2 ½ to 3 hours… I suppose it is like other painful situations like getting your teeth pulled or having a baby, you quickly forget about the pain when it is over, otherwise why would we keep on doing it?
Deciding what to have I think is the greatest challenge. Knowing that it will be a part of who you are for the rest of your life is certainly not something to de taken lightly, but it is also something not to agonise over either – it is only skin and when we are dead, well bye, bye skin!
I would certainly recommend that you give the design some serious thought prior to entering the tattoo studio and avoid any kind of chemical substances – you don’t want any drug or alcohol induced fantasy to leave you in an awkward situation when you wake up the next day. (Hey we’ve all seen The Hangover film amongst others, haven’t we?) I believe the procedure to remove tattoos is far more painful than getting them on.
I hope that with its growing popularity we will see the stigma attached with tattooing disappear and that people can wear their ink proudly whenever and wherever they like! Hey, if it is only causing you pain and no one else then what’s the big deal?
My Dad died a few years ago and while he may not be here in body his spirit and the memory of him and his tattoo is indelibly inked in me!