Love, Pain, and First Times
It started with a bad decision. His name was Mike, and I was so in love with him. We had been dating for a while and I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo of a heart with an infinity symbol around it and his initials underneath to show that I'd always love him. I knew I had to wait until I was legal, and I was planning on making the tattoo a 20th birthday present to myself because I really didn't want to do anything rash. I made a general sketch and then took to the internet to find validation. I ended up finding something similar and put it as the background on my phone so that I would get used to seeing it all the time and would have plenty of time to change my mind if I got sick of it.
Fast forward a bit. Mike turned out to be a disaster. I was really bummed for a while that I couldn't have my tattoo anymore, but then I decided that I could still get it if I just changed the way I looked at it. I've put myself through a lot of pain for love over and over again, but I still go crawling back for it because the good times are just so damn good. I know love is something I'll always want to have in my life, even if it isn't with Mike. I could still have my love tattoo. I could even get it sooner now that it didn't have his initials attached anymore!
Once I got to college, I saw all the tattoo shops within walking distance and knew a bunch of people who were getting done. Similar to saving the design for a long time, I didn't just want to rush into any shop with any artist so I took to intense research of all the shops around campustown. Finally, I found No Regrets Tattoo and Body Piercing and fell in love with Matt D's portfolio. I waited around another year just sitting on the decision, broached the idea with some of my nearest and dearest and got some mixed reactions. For the most part my friends were excited for me, my mom told me to wait until I was 25 and my sister told me I could have it if I wouldn't smoke, drink, pierce anything, or get other tattoos and she would only love me if it looked good.
I got back to school after the summer ended and called about an appointment with Matt the moment I unpacked after Labor Day Weekend. He booked me for the upcoming Friday, which I thought was quick seeing as I was calling on Monday night. I paid a $40 deposit over the phone and after some Facebook conversation he told me it would be $80 all together including the deposit. When Friday finally rolled around I was more than ready although I was incredibly nervous. I ended up going alone because my roommate wasn't home when I left. I got there a bit early, which ended up being okay because I had some paperwork to fill out. I sat in the front room looking at flash and texting my best friend, who has always been good for moral support. Matt drew up a design so much better than anything I could have imagined. We walked back to his area, which was closed off from public view but not really a room exactly. He noticed how freaked out I was and made sure I was okay to continue. I said yes, and he told me he was going to do the outline without ink first (so much better, in my mind at least, than doing one line). I hadn't really been afraid of the pain, just the permanence of the decision, but I was still glad that it didn't really hurt. It was mostly like a bad sunburn being scratched. I'd say it was more uncomfortable than anything else. Conversation flowed well and other artists would come over to check it out. After what I think was about an hour, he was done. He went over aftercare and I paid (including a tip that probably should have been a little bigger) and left.
I followed the aftercare instructions like dogma for the next few weeks and was dismayed by the patches that completely faded, probably due to it getting stuck to my underwear and blankets all the time. I went back in after 6 weeks for a touch up and after another hour in the chair it looked beautiful again. It's been 4 weeks since then and it looks just as good now as it did the day I got it.
I know that I'll always love the little heart wrapped in the infinity symbol sitting on my hip because of everything it means to me. That's my only advice on tattoos for anyone looking to get one: make sure it means something to you. After the experience I had with Matt and No Regrets in general I know I'll be going back in a few years when I finally get my Follow Your Bliss quote across my ribs. (Sorry, sis. I hope you'll still love me) As for my mom, I couldn't wait the 6 years out so I'm just not telling her I have it. :)
submitted by: LoveAlways
on: 22 Nov. 2010
in Hearts and Love Tattoos
Artist: Matt Diana
Studio: No Regrets
Location: Champaign, Illinois