Let Your Darker Side Give In...
I've waited the two years since getting my first tattoo to finally submit the experience. I've held off on writing it for many reasons and do so now with great hesitation. One should realize that while I don't come from an extremely uptight or religious family I happen to be rather concerned at the impression that I give those who are part of it. At the time that I had gotten the tattoo done I was struggling to become the person I had always been inside without taking other's judgment to heart. As I'm sure you're suspecting already, with only this small piece of myself shared, I did not share my plans for this new appointment with my mother.
Getting my first tattoo was one thing, what I had decided to get was another. Since I was sixteen I spent nights lying awake in bed trying to think up the perfect and most unique design that would suit me in a thousand ways as my eighteenth birthday drew nearer. Unfortunately, as it happened my eighteenth year had come and gone without the buzz of a tattoo machine. At one point I had gotten as far as designing a small piece for my upper back, had one of the tattoo artists at my piercing studio draw it up for me and booked an appointment to have it done. Of course I was nervous of what my mother would think and the process itself and realized that I wasn't quite ready for my first tattoo.
After the guilt of missing my appointment wore off I found that a year had past. It was my first year out of high school, I'd felt the pangs of heartache after my first relationship, and was holding a full time job. Realization crept upon me fast as I learned the harsh sting of adulthood and what it meant in today's society. High school had sheltered me, kept me confined to a world of academics, rules, and the familiar faces each day held. I found myself freed from that confinement and cast into the vastness of the world. Friends who had been so close throughout the years, I found were only friends because of that close confinement and began to grow distant. By the end of that year I had only kept in touch with a handful (now those friendships have diminished, both myself and the others having found friends with similar interests and a stronger bond than our own). I was reluctant about this change, this evolution that we all go through, always having been the one fille
d with optimism and dreams that it would all stay the same. In no way had I thought the journey out into the world would be flawless, I just held waded in disbelief until the time was upon me.
Fall of 2006 I decided what I would get, and I was embarrassed at my choice. I had heard a song on the radio and it just clicked. It wasn't vulgar, it wasn't obscene, it just wasn't the good girl front that I kept up well. My first piece wouldn't be large or colored or imagery but rather a word positioned on the outside of my right ankle. This word was 'pain', and I had chosen it for a few reasons. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am a masochist but I find physical and mental anguish intriguing, in certain situations sexually stimulating and quite frankly I welcome it. I end up feeling numb a lot because I tend to take things to heart too often and when the emotional overload wears off I just seem to bottom out. Pain, physically makes me feel alive. It lets me know that I'm human and not some stone person who doesn't care or feel. I've also realized that although it is not openly talked about, one has to experience the pain in the world to respect and value lif e's pleasures. To this day, discussion of my reasoning still makes me blush. The impression I give to others weighs heavily on my comfort levels although I understand myself better than I ever expected. I enjoy pain, as sadistic as it sounds it's true. This is quite simply my first real discovery without the protection of school and friends, a truth that I share with the world...pain.
After deciding what to get I made my appointment at Soul Survivors during one of my trips to get poked. Still a little embarrassed about having skipped out on my original appointment I chose a newer artist, Carly, to do the piece on me. The appointment was scheduled for late October and the cost was estimated at $120. I decided to have it in a cursive script, black and gray shading, without a shaded background (there had been a special name for it but at the moment it has escaped my mind). I paid $50 as a deposit when making the appointment instead of the minimum $20 that was required. For myself it was easier paying a partial rather than the lump sum itself at the time of the actual appointment.
When the day finally rolled around I tagged along with a friend and her boyfriend who were going down to the village. I arrived early, (I've learned its much more acceptable than fashionably late), filled out the paperwork, handed over my license, signed away my soul (just kidding) and was then met by my tattoo artist. She showed me her outline and asked all the little details (shading black to gray or gray to black, etc), I stuck with my original choices of black to gray, no background shadow, no color. The outline was about 3-4 inches wide and maybe 2 inches thick with slight swirls beneath the word. I loved it! Carly noted my preferences and then went off to set up for my appointment.
The wait was maybe 15-20 minutes longs, my friend and her boyfriend stayed in the shop until I got called in and let me know to call them when I was done and they'd head back to get me. It hadn't been them that I worried about as I walked down into Carly's room. The mirror across the right side wall along with her painted skateboards on either wall made the butterflies in my stomach settle. Actually, it was pretty awesome, she made small talk with me as she set up the final touches. I told her about all the tattoo work I was planning, her favorite pieces that she'd done, even the music that she had playing in her room. I was then asked to climb up and lay on top on the black padded medical bench. I hadn't really thought about the whole positioning part until then and hopped up feeling rather silly about it. Carly took out a disposible razor, ran it over my ankle (I had already shaved my legs, but hey I guess they just have to make sure), put on the yellow tinted, antib
acterial jelly (I keep promising myself I'll ask what it is next time I'm in the shop!), wiped it off with paper towel, applied the outline/markered stencil and asked about the placement. Again, I loved it.
Before asking me to get comfy Carly advised that since it was to be my first tattoo she would be going slower than usual and if at any point and time I needed to get up or couldn't handle it I was to say 'stop'. I agreed, getting slightly nervous about the pain, and found a comfy position on the bench. I think Carly started with the 'P' and I will admit that she was going slow, extremely slow infact. It didn't exactly hurt, it felt like my cat scratching my ankle or the way a stiff clothing tag is scratchy against your neck. The hard part was not moving, I was scared that my breathing would throw off the tattoo and well I jiggled once... the part on my ankle bone when she did the shading was my favorite it was sort of soothing feeling the tattoo machine vibrate through my bone. Curves on the outline weren't as nice though, they were the parts that were more noticeable (not horrible though, just like cat scratches still).
I'm not sure how long the tattoo took, I'm guessing about 1/2 an hour or 45 minutes considering how slow she went. I'd have to say that the finished product was awesome despite the redness and swelling around the area. I got to look at it in the hand mirror after she cleaned it to get all the excess ink off and before she taped the special paper to it. Before leaving she handed me a small pill bottle of vitamin e gel and told me to use it on the tattoo. I'm not sure if I followed the aftercare correctly, I was told to wait 8-12 hrs until getting it wet and cleaning it, to use the gel on it every 6-8 hours after that, and to slap it if it got itchy-no scratching! What I did was wait 12 hours, wash it with softsoap, and then every 6 hours Id wash it again and put the vitamin e gel on (didn't realize until my third tattoo that perhaps this wasn't what I was supposed to do). Anyway, after she taped it up we discussed a few more tattoos then headed to the front to pay. Whil
e at the front I booked an appointment for another piece to be done in December, paid the $120 with a $20 tip and was happily on my way.
My healing period went well although I wasn't expecting the scabbing (silly me), the aftercare steps that I used worked well and there were no complications. I've never had to explain it to my mom or other family members, they actually accepted it better than my piercings. I like the fact that I will always carry the weight of my heart and my desire upon my ankle and take great pride in showing it off in the summer!
If you're in the Winnipeg area then I recommend Carly at Soul Survivors, she's easy to get along with and does awesome work (should see those painted skateboards in her room too, pretty cool!!).
Until Next Time,
submitted by: Bondage-Kit-1
on: 21 Oct. 2008