I have several tattoos and believe in making thoughtful choices when it comes to body art.
How does one choose a tattoo? How do you decide what to have permanently etched into your skin? Why is it that many people place more consideration in their body art than in the person that they marry?
When I was looking at various designs, one thing kept coming to mind. What am I trying to tell the world? Do I get something trendy that may seem foolish in a year or two? Do I go for something overtly religious, that could categorize me unnecessarily?
I have heard over and over the story of "the one you regret." Many people choose a design that they are attracted to at first and then end up hating it later on. This is a clear-cut case of love-a-first-sight. They love the tattoo and what it represents. Without putting any other thought into the tattoo, they run into the local parlor to get etched into their skin.
Weeks, months, or even years later, they endure hours upon hours of painful procedures to erase that faded reminder of years gone by.
Then again, many people find a design that they love, and can not decide whether or not to get it. They keep telling themselves and their friends, "I am going to get a tattoo." But that's where they leave it- a promise and nothing more. Later on, as they age, have children, and then grandchildren, they keep bringing up the tattoo that they had so longed to have.
Well, which person are you going to be- the one that casually alters their body, or the individual that is forced to live in the reality of "What could've been?"
Make Sure You Won't Regret It!
How I Chose
I had been looking for a design ever since I was about 12 years old. I had always enjoyed playing with permanent markers.. A little too much now that I look back on it!
Whenever I would get my hands on a Sharpie, I would start doodling on my arm. I am not too artistic, but I could visualize what I thought would look good on my arm or my leg, and do my best to draw it out. Eventually, I grew to like tribals and bands. They are more or less symmetrical and framed my arms well. I have always been into body-building and competed for almost four years in powerlifting, so I had fairly decent sized arms.
Growing up in the church, I had a tendency to drift towards religious themes in my designs. Even though most churches expressly prohibited permanent body modification, my outlook on the topic was based more on a strict interpretation of the Bible than on popular Christian belief. About at the age of 16, I came across a design that was becoming more and more prominent: that of the Crown of Thorns. This satisfied both my interest in a religious theme and my favored band-style tattoo. Even though I continued coming across designs that I liked, I always knew that the Crown of Thorns would be the first tattoo I would get.
I didn't go under the ink-pen until about 5 years later, following my 21st birthday. My wife and I were both interested in taking a little vacation to Miami. On the way there, we got to discussing the topic of tattoos. She told me about some ideas that she was interested in. She pulled out my MacBook, tethered to my phone, and start looking for a parlor. In a city with plenty of famous tattoo parlors (including Miami Ink), it wasn't hard to make a list of candidates. We came across Silver on the Mount Tattoo Parlor in Hollywood Florida. This parlor had plenty of accolades, including Cleanest Tattoo Parlor in Miami, Best Value, and many others. This definitely helped us decide where to go.
Upon coming in, we had a chance to talk to the Owner, Vince Mazurkevitch, and our artists, Mike Lopez and Adam Forero. They gave us plenty of feedback on what types of tattoos we were wanting to get. After we had chosen the designs, they took the time to draw out, by hand, templates for both of our designs. We went back to our hotel to relax for the hour or so that it would take.
Once we got back, they prepped the areas we were having tattooed (upper arm for me, upper-left back for my wife). Once everything was ready, we were good to go! My wife was out of the chair in about 45 minutes. I, on the other hand, had to stay in the chair for over six hours before I was done (with a 5-minute break in between). The intricacies of my tattoo may have taken longer, but it sure looked good once everything was over with!
We were bandaged up and told to keep the bandages on until the next day, if possible. We had to go to dinner that evening, however, and had to remove the bandages to get into our dress clothes. My tattoo ended up oozing ink, but luckily Mike had taken the time to get A lot of ink color in between the lines. The next morning I woke up with brown splotches on the bed. I am sure housekeeping was wondering what went on that night!
Now, the tattoo has settled in nicely. I can tan without worrying about it fading all too much, and haven't had any ink lost past that first couple of nights. I have one or two spots that could use being filled in, but even those spots are unnoticeable unless you are specifically looking for them.
My family, although being against tattoos in general (there's that religious upbringing), are fairly supportive now, and have grown used to seeing the tattoos.
Again- when you are choosing a design for a tattoo, make sure it is something that will make you happy. If it will negatively affect you in your job or career, keep it hidden away! If you will hate it in five years, keep it small! And most of all- keep it safe!
Well, I've had my tattoo for quite some time now. I believe it's time to get another one. I've looked at a few designs, and have thought about tattoos that I always wished I could get 'back in the day'.
So far, I am trying to decide whether to continue with the religious theme or add something that is more artistic in nature. I have plenty of real estate on my arms and may get another band around my right biceps.
This is a thought process that definitely takes some time, as I do not want to question my decision later on in life. One tattoo that I've always wanted to get will have to wait until either I am retired, or make millions in a field that does not look down on body art. It is a "Holy Spirit Dove" outline that trails into flames, and I'm wanting it on the underside of my left forearm, for now, I have to keep up a professional appearance, and that would probably scare away some of my clients. Oh, the concessions we have to make to stay in business!
Other than that, let me know what you think!
Dr. Crimson on August 16, 2010:
Damn I never saw the tattoo. Anybody have a location of the pic? And Stan, let me the first to prescribe some STFU.
Caterina on September 09, 2009:
i am currently trying to figure out what exactly i want( this will be my first tattoo) and your story has helped me greatly, thanks!!!
employeralliance (author) from Florida on June 19, 2009:
Denise- Thanks for the Feedback! So far I only have my tribal band (the one in the pic at the top. I'm considering getting matching tattoos on both of my shoulders.. You'll have to wait to see them!
DinaB- That's a lot of ink! Good to see more people expressing themselves with body art. Looking to artists is a great way to see what types of designs are possible. Looking at old art and sculpture can also open up the imagination.Remember- think about the things that make you happy, help you through life, or remind you of someone you love.
DinaB on June 08, 2009:
I have 23 tattoos and each of them have a special meaning to me. It can sometimes be a dificult task to pick out a design. I spend hours doing research. I look to my fav artists too for inspiration.
Denise on May 25, 2009:
It's nice to read this Hub! I've been planning on getting a tattoo for months now. Since it's a memorial tattoo, I don't want it to be in a very obvious place where people can easily spot it. Reading this Hub I know I've made the right decision on what I'm getting. It's small and I know I will never regret it.Have you decided yet on what you're getting?
employeralliance (author) from Florida on April 05, 2009:
Thanks for the comment. Didn't realize that self expression was a sign of idiocy. I've always know that ignorance was, but this is new to me.
Stan on October 30, 2008:
U r a bunch of idiots