The Truth About Getting a Tattoo

Spoiler alert: it’s not such a big deal

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

I got my first tattoo in January, this year, after several years of thinking about it.

The first one is kind of a big deal. It means putting ink in an ink-free body, which can feel a bit frightening. Many questions come to your mind: Does it hurt? Will I like it for my entire life? How does it feel like?

Here is a small part of the answers, from someone with several tattoos.

Yes, it hurts

But not as much as if you were getting your hand chopped off.

It really depends on you, your resistance to pain, your fatigue level and, above all, the emplacement. Everyone feels it differently.

Getting a tattoo on the forearm hurts less than getting a tattoo on the ribs, or behind your arm. Getting colors hurts more than a tattoo in black ink only. Touch-ups hurt often more than the tattoo itself because the skin is already damaged.

As far as I’m concerned, at some point, it felt as if someone was softly cutting my skin with a very thin razor blade. But the “fun” part is getting into the exercise of abstracting your focus from the pain. From a psychological perspective, it is quite interesting.

Moreover, the first minutes will be the most painful. At some point, your body will start to release endorphins, which are chemicals naturally produced by your nervous system to cope with pain or stress. Thanks to these endorphins, the process gets way less painful.

The “addiction” thing is not a myth

Once you have one tattoo, you want several tattoos. It’s not a myth, and it’s kind of a problem. You will have to prevent yourself from getting a new one every two months!

The best results come from freeing the artist

For my first tattoo, I sent several inspiration sketches to the tattoo artist. On the D-day, I came in and he started drawing on my arm according to his inspiration, what he saw in me, and the sketches I sent him.

The outcome was amazing! I made the choice not to curb his inspiration, and I didn’t regret it. Don’t forget that before being tattooists, they are artists.

This is the best way to get a unique design.

However, still, feel free to ask for some changes! Don’t forget it will be on your skin for your whole life.

You’ll know when you’ll be ready

You’ll feel it when you’ll be ready to jump in. When your project will be mature enough in your head. Don’t do it before, you might regret it later.

It feels great

Every time I take my sleeve up, I see it, and it feels great. Getting a tattoo is modifying your body, making it more in line with yourself. It’s a way to spread your inner self on the outside. You might as well feel more confident.

“I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.”
― Kat Von D

Choose the location wisely

The most beautiful tattoo in the world will not look great unless you find the perfect spot. To me, it's 50/50. The design and the spot are equally important. Find an area that enhances your tattoo and its shape.

Your relative’s reaction

Chances are, everyone will not approve your choice. Tattoos are getting more and more common, but elder generations don’t always like it.

Be prepared to receive surprisingly good reactions and surprisingly bad ones.

Short story: My Grandma hated tattoos. When I came in with mine, she took my arm, and she examined it from all angles. Finally, she said she liked it. And now, guess what, she wants to get one too!

You need to take care of it

Getting a tattoo is a lot of work. It starts with healing. Get ready to spend the next month putting cream every day, several times a day the first weeks. When it’s healed, avoid the sun, or put sunscreen. You might as well need touch-ups over time.

Many people are going to ask what’s the meaning

And that’s annoying. To me, a tattoo is something highly personal. Many people are going to come by and just ask “what does it mean?”. Get ready for it.

“Wear your heart on your skin in this life.”
Sylvia Plath

Sharing some patiently gathered tips to help people vibrate on the same frequency as reality — auriane.alix.medium@gmail.com

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