Two years in the planning, over in twenty minutes.
Ever since I can remember, I've been fascinated with tattoos. I've wanted one since before I started high school, but knew it was a no go, at least until I turned eighteen.
My father died when I was eight months old. Therefore I have no memories of him.
I do, however, have several items of his clothing and people have told me things about him, et cetera.
He used to sing the song Forever Young by Bob Dylan to me, when getting me to sleep or whilst bathing me. My grandparents had the lyrics printed and framed for a gift at my christening. I decided that those two words would be perfect, as to me, they have a double meaning.
The design itself has gone through a massive overhaul since I began planning it two years ago. At first it was going to be on my wrist in plain script, then it was going to have his initials and birth and death dates, and then it was going to have a band of musical staff with the notes of the song on it.
I finally decided on just the two words Forever Young in his handwriting. I found a book he had written in and scanned some entries into my computer, then chose letters that I liked and put them together in Photoshop. I loved the design, and it was originally going to go underneath my clavicle.
I went to Ballistic, a small tattoo parlor in Auckland City that I have heard good things about. Several of my friends have had extensive work there, and never had a problem.
Feeling rather nervous, I went in and talked to one of the owners, Steve. He took my design, reduced it and we decided that it was a good size for under my clavicle. I made an appointment, paid a $50 deposit and was on my way.
Over the week and a half between that day and today, when I got my tattoo, I thought about it even more and came to the decision last night to get it on my wrist, as I'd initially intended.
I had a big lunch and went in with my best friend at midday, the time of my appointment. I talked to Steve about changing the size and position. That was fine, and he reduced it again and stenciled. I wasn't feeling nervous, though a little dazed. I couldn't believe it was finally happening.
I will note now that Ballistic Tattoo is a bright little shop in an arcade, and you can smell the disinfectant from a mile away. It isn't too intimidating, and I like that.
Steve cut out the two words, then gloved up and cleaned my arm several times. He placed my arm on his leg, and placed the stencil on my wrist, and checked that I was happy with the size and placement. I was, and he proceeded to ask if I'd been tattooed before. I said no, and he told me that the trick is to relax, and that he'd do a little bit just so I could get used to it.
So that's what he did, he started on the second 'e' of 'forever' and just did a little bit, then stopped and said 'that's as bad as its gonna get.' That helped me to relax. It wasn't painless, but it didn't hurt. It was more uncomfortable than painful.
So I breathed evenly like he asked, and he went to work. First the Forever, then the Young underneath. Then he went backwards over the words, and did a couple extra touch ups. For the most part, it didn't hurt. There were a couple of times when it hurt a little, but it was nothing I couldn't handle, and it definitely won't put me off getting more ink in the future.
Twenty minutes, and he was wiping off excess ink for the last time, spraying more cleaning stuff, and then started to go over aftercare instructions. He didn't cover it or anything, saying that plastic causes sweating and tissue sticks. He told me to keep it open and wash it with warm water after two hours, then use Vaseline in four days time. He told me to try keep it out of the water when I shower until then, too. He gave me an information sheet and explained, and told me to come back if I need any touch ups once the tattoo has healed.
I paid an extra $30, so it was $80 in total, which I thought was reasonable.
Six hours on I'm very pleased, and it's looking good. My wrist is a little swollen but pain is minimal.
For Aucklanders, or people from New Zealand, I would definitely recommend Ballistic Tattoo. They're extremely professional and know their stuff. They're accommodating, easy to approach and helpful. And they're passionate about what they do. If I get more tattoos, I'll definitely return to Steve at Ballistic.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2009