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Just another freak, in the freak kingdom (First tattoo experience)

This past weekend, I got my first tattoo.

I've been very into piercings lately. I got my first a few years ago and have slowly been accumulating them ever since. I had always wanted a tattoo, but never had the money or a design I was happy with. So instead I let piercings be my main modification outlet. They're relatively inexpensive and impermanent. No big deal.

The decision to get my first tattoo was an easy one. I had planned out a gorgeous chest piece, consisting of two rabbits (one on either side of my chest.) I had planned for one of the rabbits to signify my late chorus director, who died in early 2005 and who loved rabbits, just like I do. I knew I would not regret getting it, because of all that she had meant to me.

For as much as I wanted the tattoo, I kept wanting piercings more. I could never save up the money for the kind of work I wanted done. Eventually, I let it slip into the back of my mind. I knew I would have that chest piece someday. It was just too much for me to think about.

I finally got my first tattoo over Thanksgiving weekend. The rabbit chest piece was still on my mind, but I decided that something smaller would have to suffice for a first time. I chose a quote, by Hunter S. Thompson, that had become something of a mantra for me in the weeks preceding my tattoo.

Recently, I found myself on the receiving end of a lot of nasty comments. There aren't a lot of people at my school, and I am by far the most heavily pierced (even though I only have a few piercings.) Other students at my college were very rude to me about them, and I have found that just repeating "Too weird to live, and too rare to die" in my head is enough to make me feel better when I'm being picked on.

I knew that I would have to have it tattooed SOMEWHERE on my body. The quote speaks to me and my identity as a modified person. I feel very genuinely that my piercings (and now my tattoo) help me define myself, to myself. They make me a stronger, more confident person. They set me apart. I don't ever want to forget that. Though sometimes it seems like piercings and tattoos are completely accepted by all reaches of society, I can't let myself ignore the fact that there are still those who want to look at me and others as freaks for what we do to our bodies. My tattoo is a way of owning up to that.

The tattoo was not well thought out. I didn't research typewriter fonts – I just used the one on my Macbook. I thought about placement (one clause of the sentence on either shoulder blade) but not too much about size. The process was very easy. The tattoo took about 30 minutes and was relatively pain free (my left shoulder twinged a little when the artist started to work on it.)

When the work was finished my tattoo artist (a very pretty woman named Erin who had a pompadour) patted my on the back and said "Congratulations, you're a freak." I laughed good-naturedly at this, thinking "But I have 4 facial piercings and stretched lobes – wasn't I a freak before?"

On the drive back home (I'd had to travel a good distance to find a tattoo shop with vegan ink!) I discussed the experience with a friend. She also had a textual tattoo, in typewriter font. She told me all about the months she had spent sitting on her completed design - not to mention all the time she spent preparing it in the first place. I started to feel a bit uneasy. I had not put so much effort into my first tattoo. It was purely impulsive. I knew I wanted the quote, on my shoulder blades and in some kind of typewriter font. Had I made a mistake? Was I too reckless? I pondered my decision more gravely after that conversation.

After a few hours I arrived at a place of peace with my rash decision. I realized that I LOVED my new tattoo and that the quote, even though it only represents the mindset I've been in for a few months, still means a lot to me. I don't think it's something I'll come to despise. The font looks beautiful. The placement is perfect. I made a hasty choice, but it wasn't a mistake.

I showed my new tattoo to some friends in math class today. One kid spoke up, saying "You're not going to regret that. Well, maybe if you get old and normal, but I don't think that's going to happen to you." It made me feel better. I don't think I will regret this tattoo, even though it was massively impulsive and poorly thought out. I know I'll get more tattoos in the future (something to save my money for, now that I've had my first taste!) This will always be my first though, a reckless mistake of my youth:

"Too weird to live, and too rare to die."


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Erin+Burns
Studio: Rival+Tattoo
Location: Albuquerque%2C+New+Mexico

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