I wanted a tattoo since I was maybe 10 years old. By the time I was 18, all I wanted was to get inked. I waited five years since then, talking about it constantly, and I finally did it last week.
There were so many reasons for why I waited five years to finally go through with it, even when I was extremely close to getting it done at 21. For one, a lot of people, although intrigued by my tattoo ideas were, quick to discourage.
- Are you sure? It’s permanent you know. Will you regret it?
- Where are you going to put it? I mean, think about when you get older, or if you get pregnant. How will it look then?
- Aren’t you afraid of needles? How are you going to handle that?
- I’ve heard it’s painful…
- Is your family going to be okay with it?
There were so many more reasons, so many more doubts put in my head each time I spoke about getting a tattoo. In fact, getting a tattoo seemed almost as taboo as talking about mental illness. There’s a stigma attached to it, especially within my culture and family. Getting a tattoo is like going over the edge, becoming a criminal, etc. Yet, that stigma didn’t bother me a bit. I wanted that tattoo, well, more than one. Regardless, you have to start with one before you can get more, right?
I used shrug off those questions. I used to be blase and say it didn’t matter. Or yeah, it made me nervous but I still wanted it. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to go through with getting a tattoo if I couldn’t answer the above questions. So here are my answers:
- Am I sure? Yes. Will I regret it? No Do I know it’s permanent? Of course, I do. It’s one of the main reasons I want to get it done. I want something I know will be permanent in my life. (Barring from any unforeseen circumstances or injuries, of course.)
- Where are you going to put it? There are lots of places to put a tattoo. There are places where skin won’t sag or stretch as much, and those would be great places to put a tattoo. But I want mine to be visible, I want them on my arms and wrists. I want to be reminded about them. How will they look in the future? How should I know? All I know is that no matter how distorted the image becomes, I will still see it for what it was originally. The meaning behind the tattoo, the reason as to why I got it, those things won’t change even if the appearance does.
- Aren’t you afraid of needles? Yes, I am. I am afraid of syringes that doctors and dentists use. How are you going to handle that? I won’t look at the needle. I won’t look as the tattoo artist preps. I will have someone there with me to keep my mind off of it, and if anything, squeeze his or her hand.
- I’ve heard it’s painful… I’ve heard that it varies. I’ve read about it online, and it depends on where you get it done. I’m also not really all that afraid of the pain. I’m prepared to scream and bawl like a baby. (I didn’t.) And honestly, a needle is being repeatedly stabbed into your skin, or in the very least scratching, yes it’s going to be painful. It might even be bloody, but millions of people can handle it, and so can I.
- Is your family going to be okay with it? I don’t care. I’m doing it for myself, it has nothing to do with them.
Number five was probably the hardest question to overcome. It was the one that kept me from getting the tattoo even though I desperately wanted it. What would my family think? Yet, it got to the point when I just didn’t give a f*** anymore. There are so many things that I didn’t do because I cared too much about how others would perceive me, what their opinions would be. The question that people should have been asking is, “will it make you happy?” The answer to that is yes.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am impulsive on some things, and take a long time debating pros and cons on others. The ones who know me best know that even those impulsive decisions went through the agonizing debate, just at a faster pace. I don’t make snap judgments. I don’t do things if I’m not wholeheartedly invested. Getting a tattoo was the longest debate, and probably the most easily answered. I knew since I was 10 that I wanted a tattoo. I knew what I wanted. I just hadn’t figured out the placement. And originally, I’d only wanted one–a rose with thorns. I always thought that if I were to get one, that’s what it would be. Guess I was wrong.
One reason I didn’t get that rose is because I wanted to know for sure I could get through the tattoo process. Secondly, I wanted to shop around and find a good artist that I could trust to do that one, so it might take a while. Thirdly, it’s going to a be a big one that covers my arm, so it’s going to be expensive. I still have every intention of getting it done, just not yet.
Then I had a couple of other ideas for what I wanted. In the end, I got an Eeyore with XII in it. While everyone’s attention and focus is on the Eeyore, my focus is on the XII. The significance is in the roman numerals, not Eeyore. I’m not sure many people understand that; in fact, they probably think the 12 just represents my birthday or something. It does, but doesn’t. That 12 represents nearly 12 years of my life right now, it represents the struggles I’ve faced and overcame, the resilience which keeps me going, and the past which made me who I am today. I would go into detail about the meaning of the 12, but it doesn’t seem relevant to do that. A tattoo is art, and art can be interpreted in many different ways.