Like pretty much every person on this site, I've been interested in body modification since my (much older) cousin showed me her navel piercing when I was about six years old. That summer spent in London kicked off my obsession, and I always remembered her mentioning the area she had all her mods done. Of course, I was a little kid and didn't know anything about mods other than they were “pretty” and coming from a small town where cartilage piercings were considered odd made me think there was only one place with shops for body modification. In the summer of 1997 I promised myself I'd go to Camden.
Bring everything forward to the end of October 2008. At the start of the month I turned 18. Since the legal age for tattooing in the UK is 18 I'd always been wary of places that would willingly tattoo underage kids, and didn't think much of the kids at my high school who would go to a local scratcher. I promised myself I would wait for my tattoo and occupied myself with piercing. I visit London a couple of times a year too, but had never made it to Camden since we travelled down for conventions that would take up all our time there. However, my friend and I agreed to stay an extra night this time as a late birthday celebration for the two of us- our goal was to go to Camden on the final day. I planned to get another piercing, the thought of getting a tattoo not even crossing my mind.
As we wandered around Camden on the last day of our trip, my friend was diving in and out of shops trying to find one she liked and would trust. I originally planned on getting a nostril piercing but I also wanted to someday have “Dei” tattooed on me. It's my nickname I go by in real life; I'd picked it up when I left home and didn't want to be called by my real name. As far as I'm concerned that was my name when I was shy, stayed in my house all day and just generally my life in my old town. People called me by that name there. I'm a whole new person since I moved to the new city I live in; a happier person. People here call me Dei. Therefore it symbolizes a new start of my life and who I am. It also involves religious irony as "dei" is an inflected form of "deus", which is the Latin word for "god" or "deity". I like to ultimately think I determine what happens in my life, and that I am my own god (so to speak) and having it there reassures me of who I am. While standing in Dark Angel I noticed a writing style I really liked and- with some pushing from my friend- decided I would go ahead and get my tattoo done. I was quoted £40 and given an appointment an hour away. Enough time to grab a quick bite to eat and get ready for my first ink. I left a £20 deposit, showed two forms of ID and signed and read the consent form.
An hour later I was back and ready to go. I decided to go first since I could feel my courage starting to go. The studio itself had a calm, friendly atmosphere as well as being thoroughly clean and professional. I sat in the chair with my arm stretched out and my other arm shaking with a tight grasp around my friends hand. I'd never been anywhere near this nervous before, but now I think it was more excitement than fright. I saw the artist take a fresh needle out the packet and sort his inks out after putting on a pair of rubber gloves, and after sorting his equipment he put on another pair. He then put the stencil on where I had asked, and checked with me that the placement was okay. With my go-ahead, he started. The second the needle touched my skin I relaxed my grip on my friends hand immediately. This is what I was worried about? It was enjoyable! Throughout it my tattooist kept checking if I was okay, and talking away to me and making the experience that bit more friendly- I'd hate to go to a place where it was silent! Twenty minutes later my name was on my arm. I paid the other £20 and was talked through aftercare. Our group left to find a tube of Bepanthen, as recommended by the tattooist.
After this we still had three hours to spend around the city itself and twelve hours of travel before I could get home. Still, I cleaned up the area around my new ink, applied some Bepanthen cream then recovered it before we left to return to Scotland. On the bus, around 4am, I woke up and nudged my friend to ask if I'd really got a tattoo. It seemed so surreal; not even 18 for a month and I'd already got my first ink. It healed and turned out even better than I expected. It's been one of the best decisions that I've ever made.
I'm now 19 and have another three tattoos. On the same arm I have stars. No matter how small and unimpressive the tattoo may seem to people, I'll never have it covered up. It was my first tattoo and symbolised the start of a new life for me.
submitted by: deisaster
on: 02 June 2010
in Lettering Tattoos