The Story of My First Tattoo and My Advice to You
My "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" Text Tattoo
Next week will mark the two year anniversary of when I started my tattoo journey.
While the day I got my tattoo was spontaneous, the tattoo itself was one I had wanted for years. The design was meticulously laid out in my brain, and I must have spell checked it at least 100 times, as well as MADE SURE that the quote was accurate to the book. The last thing I wanted was to mess up something that would be on my body forever—especially something that I held so dear to my heart.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is and always will be my favorite book. It helped me get through some tough times as a teenager, so it was only fitting that I decided to decorate my skin with words from Chobskey's masterpiece. Other people also have tattooed quotes from the book, most of them being variations of "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite" or "We accept the love we think we deserve." And while those are both wonderful quotes from both the book and movie, I wanted something more unique that I could make my own.
I had read the book so many times that I had created my own annotated copy. In my copy, I had circled quotes that I liked, wrote down little notes of what I was thinking while I read, wrote down the definitions of words I didn't know, and bookmarked the pages with all the songs that were mentioned so that I could listen to them later. (I'm actually a huge The Smiths fan because of this.) One paragraph that I circled was on Page 53, and it read:
"I think about all this sometimes when I'm watching a football game with Patrick and Sam. I look at the field, and I think about the boy who just made the touchdown. I think that these are the glory days for that boy, and this moment will just be another story someday because all the people who make touchdowns and home runs will become somebody's dad. And when his children look at his yearbook photograph, they will think that their dad was rugged and handsome and looked a lot happier than they are. I just hope to remember to tell my kids that they are as happy as I look in my old photographs. And I hope that they believe me."
Did It Hurt?
Above is a picture of my tattoo about an hour after I got it, and honestly, I couldn't have been happier with the experience.
During the session, my best friend was with me, and I just could not stop laughing. If you look closely, there are some crooked lines in the lettering because the tattoo artist's hand had jerked with my laughter. But honestly, it makes me love my piece even more because it's more unique, and I remember how happy I was while I was getting it.
As far as pain was concerned, it was incredibly minor and less bad than I thought it was going to be... on my wrist, anyway. I have a piece-in-progress that goes from my shoulder blade down to my mid-thigh, and let me tell you, getting tattooed on your spine, ribs, and stomach is some of the worst pain you will ever experience.
Tattoos aren't for everyone, but for me, I love having artwork on my body and the tattoo artist I go to now does an incredible job. So if you're thinking about getting inked for the first time, just keep a couple of things in mind...
My Tattoo Advice
- A tattoo is literally on your body FOREVER. So think carefully about what you want before you get it. And while yes, tattoo removal processes are becoming more advanced and less painful, it is still money that you could have saved if you had just put a bit more consideration into your initial decision. "Think before you ink" doesn't just mean thinking about the tattoo itself, either. It also means you researched the artist and/or tattoo parlor to ensure you get a quality piece. Which brings me to the next point...
- Research, research, research! Find a tattoo artist that has a style you like and quality work in their portfolio. Also, make sure that the shop you go to has good reviews and is CLEAN! My first tattoo was just a walk-in appointment, but I had done research on the shop, so I knew that the artists there were skilled enough to do my simple lettering tattoo. I still go to the same shop, but I see a different artist. He has done most of my pieces and I love all of them.
- Always tip your artist! I cannot stress this enough. Tattoo artists are performing a really awesome service for you and tips are expected. Unless you had a completely horrid experience (meaning that your piece was messed up, the artist was rude to you for no reason, etc.) you always tip! Plan on tipping anywhere between 10%-20% (15% is standard), but if you love your piece, give a nice heavy tip! Your artist will appreciate it and will be more willing to do more quality work for you in the future.
© 2018 Loxley Jones