So You Want a Tattoo?

11:59 PM

Here's a disclaimer that you probably don't even need: I am by no means an expert on tattoos or body art of any kind.  All two of my tattoos make me more of an enthusiast, if anything.  Regardless, I thoroughly enjoy tattoos and I don't mind the process of getting them.  I think what's even more fun is the questions I get afterwards.  I don't mind answering "did it hurt?" or "you do know that's permanent, right?" because I like sharing my experience with others, and it's interesting to hear others' opinions or experiences as well.  I've had a couple people mention that they would probably never get a tattoo because of the process.  Some people think that it's the worst pain anyone will ever go through, others apparently picture tattoo shops as terrifying dungeons.  For anyone thinking about getting a tattoo and wondering what the process is like, I promise it's completely doable even if you're nervous or not good with pain.  Trust me, I'm horrible with pain and I nearly pass out every time I see a needle.
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Before you even go to the tattoo shop, look up designs and then make sure you love your tattoo design.  If you find something you kind of like minus a few details here and there, bring it to a tattoo artist to have them personalize it for you.  It's your body and it's forever, so make it exactly how you want it.

Once you figure out what you want, you should probably figure out the placement.  I wish we lived in a world without judgment, but we don't.  If you're afraid that having a tattoo might affect your life in any way, consider getting a tattoo that you can't see in typical outfits.  If you're unsure of whether or not your profession will allow them, look it up!  The Internet has information on anything you can think of.

Know what you want and where you want it?  Now it's time to find a tattoo shop.  I like to look up ratings to read about quality, cleanliness, friendliness, and price.  Keep in mind that a relatively expensive price for a high-quality tattoo is not a bad thing. You want your artist to do a good job, and money motivates all of us.  You get what you pay for, am I right?

When you go, bring images of what you want for inspiration.  They will work with you to make it unique, but they need a starting point.  Call ahead and see what form of payment they accept so you have it with you.  Even better if you've already discussed the tattoo with your artist, so you know what you're getting and how much it will cost.  If having a friend there will calm you down, bring someone!  I wouldn't bring more than one person, though, because sometimes the spaces are small and you want your artist to have plenty of concentration.  Also, yes it is going to hurt.  Yeah, you might bleed.  It's worth it, so just do whatever you need to do to make sure you have a pleasant experience.

After you get your tattoo you should follow your artists care instructions.  If they suggest keeping it moisturized, buy a lotion that they recommend.  If they tell you to wear lose clothing so you don't irritate it, throw on a baggy t-shirt.  The better you take care of it, the faster it will heal!  I will also say that my tattoo and the area around it were both sore for a few days afterwards.  I made sure to stay hydrated, moisturized, and I took a Motrin every now and then!

If you're looking into a tattoo, it doesn't hurt to do a little bit of research.  They're beautiful, but they can be expensive and they are, of course, permanent.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to get my first tattoo, but I found myself in a clean environment with friendly staff which really makes a huge difference.  And remember, you don't have to have some deep, personal or philosophical meaning to get a tattoo; it's okay to get something just because you like it.
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