Always Be Prepared When Getting a Tattoo!
I just want to preface this story and say I'm completely satisfied with my tattoo, however, I also wish I had been more prepared before getting it, and unafraid to speak up, especially considering this artwork was going to be on my body for a lifetime.
With that said, here is the story of my first tattoo:
As a pre-teen and teen, I aways knew I wanted a tattoo and went through phases of what I would want. I'm glad I waited so long to actually get one though, because thinking back over all the things I used to want to get, I would have regretted them terribly.
So the years went by and when I finally turned 18, although I had no qualms about getting pierced every so often, the idea of a tattoo came and went, usually because I just wasn't sure of what I absolutely wanted, the time wasn't right, I didn't have enough money, or the person I was going to go with flaked out, etc.
I pretty much knew what I was going to get, and I had wanted to do it for about five + years. I thought foot tattoos were sexy, and I wanted something small and simple, so I thought a star would be perfect. But the longer I thought about it, the more I realized a star wasn't really that personal to me, and if I was going to get a tattoo, I didn't want to go in and get a dinky star on the top of my foot.
So I was back to square one. And then I had a dream:
I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and I just finished reading the Dark Tower series. There's an ongoing theme in the book regarding fate, and fate in the story is called, "Ka." In my dream, I had gotten the word "Ka" tattooed on the back of my neck. When I woke up, I knew this was the tattoo I was supposed to get.
So I promised myself on my 25th birthday, that's what I would get.
In the book, there's an actual "Ka" symbol. The K and the A are attached and are inside of a circle. It's a pretty neat symbol, and I knew this is what I wanted. So as soon as my 25th birthday rolled around, I started thinking about where I wanted to go to get my tattoo. I ended up deciding to go with Fura Bodyworks in Castro Valley, CA.
At this point I was having cold feet. I wasn't necessarily scared of the pain, but I knew my husband was somewhat reserved about me getting a tattoo, and I was also scared I would end up regretting it. But then I told myself, "If I don't get one, I'm going to regret it. So if I do regret getting it, either way I'm regretting something!" Horrible I know, especially since you should have no doubts when getting a tattoo, but in the end I think I truly did want this more than not. So on a Sunday, I went with my sister-in-law to go get my tattoo.
Before walking in to get your tattoo, make sure you ALREADY have an idea of how big you want the tattoo. Also don't be afraid to tell them exactly what you want, and don't be afraid to burden them or hurt their feelings. This is YOUR tattoo, you are PAYING them, and this is going to be something that's on you for the rest of your life. And if your tattoo artist is not willing to do what you want (assuming they are able to within reason), then you should find another tattoo artist.
With that said, I came in with a picture of what I wanted, but it wasn't sized the way I wanted it. I told the owner I wanted it smaller, and when I said I wasn't sure, he shrunk it to 90%. At first look I still thought it was too big, but my sister-in-law and niece thought it was the perfect size, and they said if it were smaller it wouldn't look good. I still felt I wanted it smaller, but being the co-dependent/shy person I am, I said okay, telling myself they could always change it if I didn't like the way it looked on my upper back (I decided on my upper back vs. the back of my neck so you'd be able to see it more).
So he took the design to the tattoo artist and he drew up a sketch. It took a while, so at this time I felt even more pressure to keep it the size it was, especially because I didn't want to burden the tattoo artist.
I want to interject here that my tattoo artist, Greg, was such a nice, wonderful guy, and I couldn't have asked for a better person to do my first tattoo. I don't look like someone who would get a tattoo, so I was always afraid a tattoo artist would judge me based on my appearance, and the fact that he was so welcoming made me feel so much better.
So when Greg was done, he put the transparency on my upper back and told me to look. I actually liked the way it looked, but again, thought it was a little bigger than I wanted. I said, "Can we make it a little smaller?" He said he actually thought it looked good the way it was, and said that if it were smaller it wouldn't look as good (my actual tattoo is probably around 2 inches by 2 inches). Now, whether he was saying that because he was being honest or because he just didn't want to redraw it, I don't know, but I trusted him and sat down in the chair.
I held onto the chair for dear life, but he told me I had to relax my arms. I was nervous not only because of the potential pain, but because his room actually faced the waiting room, so everybody could see me, and if I cried or something, everyone would know! I tried to relax as much as possible, and when he turned on the tattoo gun, it was way louder than I expected it to be. That freaked me out a bit, but when he finally started, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
It really just felt like when you accidentally scratch a sunburn. The outline definitely hurt less than the shading, but again, Greg made the experience a good one and tried to talk to me throughout the tattoo.
Before I knew it, he was done (it only took about 20-25 minutes). I looked into the mirror, and loved it. Yes, it was bigger than I imagined, but the placement was perfect, and I thought it actually looked sexy. Greg gave me all the aftercare instructions, I thanked him profusely, and paid.
I was a bit apprehensive to show my husband, especially because he was so reserved about me getting a tattoo in the first place, and let's just say he was surprised at the size. I don't think he hates it, but I don't think he loves it either, but I did it for me, and I don't regret getting it. Especially because "Ka" means more to me than just "fate." My entire childhood is wrapped up with Stephen King books and movies, and it also makes me feel connected to my mother, because when she passed away when I was 15, she left me her entire Stephen King collection of books. Also, when I was 21, my entire house burned down with all the books in it, and despite that tragedy, I truly believe my house was meant to burn down in order for me to get my life back together. Without giving you the typical "I was going through a tough time in my life," story, let's just say my house burning down gave me a whole new appreciation for my family and life. And that's what "Ka" means to me, and regardless of the size of my tattoo, it doesn't change the meaning.
If I could go back and get it smaller, would I? Probably, but lesson learned, and if I stay true to my belief, getting it this size was "fate." I was meant to go through that experience, even if it was just to make me wiser when/if I ever go in to get a second tattoo. It also proves to me that I have a lot of issues to still work on, like assertiveness.
Regardless, I love my tattoo, and I'm so happy I was able to go through that experience.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 July 2011
in Fantasy Tattoos