Disclaimer: I have only had 3 simple and small tattoos, and I am not an expert
I just got my third tattoo last weekend by Jaime at Black and Blue . Like my previous ones, it’s just a plain black Chinese character. Nothing fancy.
Even so, I mulled over all of them for a long time. I pondered potential tattoos for months before making an appointment at a shop. I know that tattoos are permanent, and laser treatment to remove them is more painful than actually having the tattoos done. I also change my style “like a girl changes clothes” AKA really damn often, so I know that I want something that does not ever go out of fashion and will always remain meaningful to me throughout my entire life.
I also know what looks good on my body and what doesn’t. I would never get anything tattooed on my legs because it will cut off the visual lines of my limbs, and I am already short enough. As a female, I also hesitate to get anything on the central part of my body just in case I get pregnant later in life.
I don’t pretend to not cry easily (Unless you cried while watching Monsters, Inc. too), and I am such a baby when it comes to physical discomfort. I’ve gotten my earlobes re-pierced four times, and I’ve shed a tear or two each time. Yet for some unknown reason, I have never cried once while having tattoo work done on me. I think it’s because of the adrenaline rush masking the sensation, and the fact that the level of pain I expect always turned out to be much higher than what it actually was.
Don’t get me wrong: IT HURTS. My finger one was the worst because it felt like my bone was being cut by a sharp needle. What really helps though is thinking about the reason that you’re doing this for during the process. For instance, I got a tattoo of part of my grandma’s name, so I had flashbacks of how she took care of my brother and me in our childhood during those ten minutes. You can also bring a loved one with you to remind you that you have plenty of support.
There are a lot of materials on tattoo aftercare on the internet, but in my opinion, one often overlooked factor is that you can’t be in the sun or the water a lot for 2-3 weeks afterwards. Sunscreen is full of strong chemical ingredients, so you can only wear protective clothing like hats, but this would put quite a damper on your summer if you like the outdoors or the waters. I can’t even go to my boxing class for two weeks because I got my finger one re-inked, and soaking the tattoo in sweaty wraps for 50 minutes is just not good.
Overall I think the three most issues to think about are the questions my father asked me when I showed him my first tattoos a few years ago:
- Do you regret it?
- Did you get it done at a safe, sanitary place?
- Is this gang-related? Continue reading