The Story of How I Got My First Tattoo

Since high school,  I have always loved tattoos. I have a small list of tattoos that I would one day love to have… but will never be able to afford or ever be able to justify spending the money on. I know, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard it before. I can almost sense and anticipate the talk and criticism, especially from the judgemental and self righteous. Maybe that’s you? That’s okay.  You can state your thoughts and opinions without any hard feelings.  You can tell me that “tattoos are of the devil.” or that “You must be in sin if you have a tattoo.” You are entitled to your opinion, but that just means that this post isn’t for you. It’s for the open minded. It is for those of you who are willing to think about this topic from a different point of view. It’s a chance for me to share a little part of my story, about who I am, and what I strongly see as an issue in our society.

When I was in Florence, Italy, I decided to get my very first tattoo. At first some said it was an act of rebellion, others encouraged me to get one. I personally didn’t care too much about other people’s thoughts, I only cared about mine and what I thought was the best decision for me. I researched, I talked to different people, and I thought about it for days. Two weeks went by and still no real decision on whether or not this was a good idea. Finally, I decided to go and talk to them myself. I walked into this seemingly tiny tattoo and piercing place called “Blood Brotherhood” and showed them my ideas. They spoke to me in English and helped me understand what I was really getting into.
Sure enough, I made an appointment to get a tattoo a week later.

Before coming in again, I was told to drink at least one liter of water, to make sure I had no alcohol, blood thinning medication, and get lots of sleep. The day couldn’t come fast enough! I came a few minutes early, refreshed and slightly nervous. They helped me visualize my future tattoo by using a stencil to show exactly where, when, and what it would look like. I saw it and knew I made the right decision. I already loved it and it wasn’t even permanent yet!

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Weird picture.. but this is what the temporary tattoo/stencil looked like!

The lady had me lay down on my side with my left foot behind me and was told not to move. I had a friend with me to help take pictures of the whole thing, and I was so still that it actually looks like I was asleep during the whole thing. It honestly didn’t hurt that much. Although, I do have a very high tolerance for pain, in all honesty, I only felt a sharp poke on my ankle every once in a while, but that was the extent of the pain.

After the tattoo was finished, they put some unscented lotion on it and wrapped it in saran wrap. She then gave me some unscented soap and gave me very specific instructions on how to take care of it.

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Finished result of my tattoo. Taken right as it was finished and before all the blood started to come through.

I’ll say this, tattoos can be very high maintenance. I have to be very careful about how much exposure to the sun it gets, and I have to make sure I put sunscreen on it every day, etc. Despite the maintenance, I think it is still worth it, although I’m sure that I may not be in agreement with everyone. For some people, my parents included, they are still trying to figure out why. Why I got a tattoo and why I chose this specific one. Contrary to popular belief, I do have a couple reasons why I chose this tattoo:

  1. I love taking risks and trying new things. From jumping out of a plane to getting one tattooed on my ankle. All of the things that I have experienced are all apart of my story. Although it may be controversial to many, it has definitely given me the opportunity to talk to people I never would’ve talked to before.
  2. I chose this tattoo because it really represents my love to travel and explore new places. This is something to help and remind me to go out everyday. To not be afraid to be a little vulnerable and try new things. It’s my way of expressing my inner wanderlust.
  3. I  have such a strong and supportive community of people around me. People rallied up to helped me reach my goals. I never would’ve been able to study abroad, to travel to Paris, Nicaragua, to New York, to Hawaii, etc. without all the amazing people in my life. Whenever I look at my ankle, no matter where I am, I know that I am loved and supported.
  4. I actually think of this as a reality check and a way for me to stay humble. I absolutely love to travel, but I also know that it is a privilege and a special opportunity that most people don’t ever get to experience. It is a way for me to always remember how fortunate I am.
  5. It is a beautiful souvenir that I can have forever. It is a memory that I will hopefully never forget. It is something that regardless if anyone else sees it, it is mine. It is for me to have and will always remind me of the lifestyle and culture of Italy.

Personally, I love that they tell a story of defeat, overcoming obstacles, love, pain, etc.. I love that I can talk to people just by asking them about what their tattoos mean. I love that certain tattoos represent different cultures and that they can tell a story no matter what country you are from or go to. Unfortunately, most people, myself included, have subconsciously judged someone because they had a tattoo. I’ve come to realize my mistake and learned that more often than not, the people who have the most tattoos, usually have experienced the most in life too!

I’m not here to sell you on getting a tattoo, because they aren’t for everyone. I am only sharing my thoughts because it is important to me. I have noticed where I have gone wrong in my thought process. I want you to see someone with a tattoo, and be able ask them about it before jumping to conclusions. I believe that it is my job to absolutely love and encourage each and every person who comes my way. Although it can be hard and challenging, I hope you accept the challenge and become someone who encourages, because this world already has way too many people criticizing. Who’s with me?

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