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My First Tattoo

I was sixteen when I got my first tattoo, and I was scared shitless. I'd been brought up in a strict (in a dysfunctional and crazy way) Catholic family, and my mother was great, but I'd always felt a bit of an outcast (there's not much love in the Catholic church for "bastards"). All the information about tattoos that I had received up to this point was force fed to me in Sunday school, stories about how it was a sin to put ink into your skin; or horror stories I'd been told by older friends. Stories about the needles getting stuck in the skin and ripping chunks of flesh out, or the one that I found the worst, a story of an artist not liking someone's chosen design and instead of not doing the tattoo, they gave their client something entirely different. I had a bad habit of not really doing any research before I dove in head first.

So I guess you could say that in a way my fears were well grounded in a way. If all you ever heard about flying in a plane was the crashes, you wouldn't be all that likely to do it. Yet I'd always been attracted to tattoos, even as a little kid I thought it was amazing to be able to wear your life on your skin. By the time I was ready to get tattooed myself, I knew a lot of people who had them, mainly because by this time, I had given up on trying to please everyone in my family and started hanging out with people because of who they were as a person, and not who they were to the church (I don't think anyone at that church had tattoos).

I started looking around for a tattoo shop, I had found an artist a few weeks before, but he was doing a few things that I found disturbing. A friend of mine had gone to this artist (I'm not going to say the artist's name, because I don't know it) to get a tattoo at the local fair. The artist had been staying at my cousin's house while he was in town, and I was there one night when he got back from the fair. The first thing he did was boil a pot of water, "clean" all his used needles, and then glue them back into the packages (a disgusting and dangerous thing to do).  Seeing this made me want to really know who it was who was going to be working so closely with my body.  After another few weeks I found out that a guy I used to go to elementary school with was the son of a tattoo artist. I started spending more and more time at his house, talking to his father about how tattoos should be done.

After a few more weeks of working up the money, and a ride to the shop, I decided on a day and went. I walked into the shop without really knowing anything about the business side of tattooing, but finally having some decent knowledge about the tattooing itself. My friend's father was a little confused to see me there (probably because I had told him I was asking so many questions about tattoos because I was doing a project on them for school).

After I had been talking to him for about five minutes he asked. "So where do you want to get your tattoo?" I was pretty shocked, I thought I had fooled him, but I was glad he was willing to help. I told him what I wanted and the story behind it. The tattoo was kanji saying "goodbye" on my right shoulder, it was a memorial for me, I had been going out with a girl who was a few years older than me, and I had gotten her pregnant, I didn't find this out until a mutual friend told me she had an abortion a few days after we had broken up. I wanted to get something that showed that I cared about the life that didn't have a chance (sounds a little churchy still, I know, but it's not). He told me that he thought it was a good idea, and how much it was going to cost. Within another ten minutes I was in the chair and ready to go.

As he started the outline I could help thinking that this was no where near as bad as I was expecting, but by the time he was almost done the outline it was a different story. No one had told me about the possibility of getting faint while getting tattooed. So it came as quite a shock to me when I felt like I was going to pass out. I thought that this might have been normal so I didn't say anything to the artist, but it wasn't long before he knew something was up. He asked if I was okay, and I said "yes, aside from feeling like I'm going to pass out." He stopped tattooing me right away, and had me lie down. He went out of the room to get me some water, and while he was gone I could hear the buzzing of a tattoo machine, as well as the music in another room. They were listening to the Misfits, one of my favorite bands, and it calmed me down pretty quick.

By the time the artist walked back into the room I was back in the chair and ready for more. He asked if I was alright and I responded with "How can I feel like shit while listening to astro zombies?" He laughed and sat down and finished the outline and started filling it in. The rest of the tattoo went fine. When he had cleaned and bandaged it I went out to pay the receptionist when the artist yelled out to her "I'm paying for this one, don't take his money." I asked him why and he told me that he just felt like doing it. So I've got to give thanks to the artist who gave me my first tattoo, and my only free one.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 May 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Don%27t+remember+his+name
Studio: +
Location: Amherst+Nova+Scotia

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