Friday, April 27, 2012

Ink me up

Tattoos....everyone has their own opinion of them. Some love them. Some hate them. Some could give a crap less.
It is interesting to me to be looked at differently for having tattoos. After just getting my 8th and 9th tattoos, I noticed it even more since they are more visible tattoos. Wearing clothing to keep the tattoos open while they heal brought stares I never expected from some people. Most of my tattoos have always been covered up completely or not very visible. This one being completely out in the open for a few days has shown me how much tattoos are still judged. Whether in a good light or bad light, they are still extremely judged for the most part.
Some people view them as destruction of the body while others view them as an expression of art on the body. Either way, most people have something to say about tattoos.

The best advise I have on tattoos, do it for yourself. NO ONE ELSE!!!  You are the one that has to live with them. I know other people say "Yeah but I have to look at them" No, you don't. If you really have that much of a problem with them, I'm going to go ahead and assume you don't associate yourself with people that have them. After coming up with my most recent tattoo I had asked a few close friends/family about what I wanted to get and got multiple different responses. One of the best ones I got from a friend was "Don't ask too many people because you're going to get too many opinions and you won't be doing it for yourself anymore" (it was something close to that anyway) and she was completely right!!! A few people I asked didn't like the location in which I got my tattoos, but after just deciding it was for me and that was where I wanted them to go, I said screw it and went with the spots I wanted. They are still fully hide-able, but also easily shown. I can choose whether I let people see them or not. So after having asked people about my ideas, I tossed most of the opinions out the door and made my own decisions without really asking anyone. (My boyfriend still doesn't like the one I got on the back of my neck because he doesn't like the location, but it was my decision not his and he loves me still anyway). The only real advice I got was from my boyfriend a bit and from my best friend. She came with me on the day I got my tattoos because she wanted to watch a tattoo getting done since she is thinking about getting her first one and because my boyfriend ended up having to work and couldn't make it with me.  So basically she helped me make a final decision on the font and the exact placement of the tattoo. She was completely honest with me which is what I needed.

I have yet to really regret any of my nine tattoos, of course it's only been eight years since I started getting tattoos and that could all change. But the thing I tell myself is, at one point in my life that was something extremely important in my life, important enough that I thought it was worth having on my body for the rest of my life. There is one tattoo that I got with a friend of whom I'm not friends with anymore that I may one day cover up, but right now it's still a really pretty tattoo and I'll wait quite a while before fully making that decision. Each one of my tattoos has meaning behind it, which to me is one of the most important things about tattoos. Part of them is the looks because to me, body art (tattoos, piercings, etc.) is art. Maybe not the same kind of art for all people, there are body modifications I would NEVER consider, but other people think enhance their body. To each his own.  But back to my original point, each of my tattoos reminds me of a point in my life and the emotion/meaning behind it. I don't get tattoos to frivolously spend my money and be stuck with something random on my body for the rest of my life.

On to the next tattoo topic. My tattoo advice on getting a tattoo and the healing/caring for it process.

First off, pick a good tattoo artist. Make sure you've seen their work and know that they are a credible tattoo artist. I have seen some pretty horrible tattoos...I'll leave it at that. Remember that this is going to be on your body for the rest of your life (unless you are willing to pay for really painful laser removal or pay more to have it covered up later). Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into with who you decide you're going to let alter your body. Do your research!! Remember that you are going to get what you pay for. Sometimes a cheaper tattoo artist means crappier work. NOT ALWAYS MIND YOU!!! Just make sure (once again) you do your research.
If a tattoo artist is telling you that you need to alter your tattoo, know exactly why and what needs to be altered. For my most recent one I had to alter the font I wanted because my original font would have made the tattoo bigger than I wanted to allow more space so the letters wouldn't blend together and become a jumbled mess. If they are trying to get you to change your tattoo because they don't like it (which I've never had happen to me) don't let them. If they still try to change it just because they think "If you did this it would be way cooler" go elsewhere. This is on your body! They only have to tattoo it once, you have to live with it for the rest of your life!

Getting a tattoo. Obviously the no brainer, always asked question, "Does it hurt?"
Oh no, not at all, it's like rainbows and sunshine and magical unicorn kisses! YES!!! IT HURTS!!! It's a needle digging into your skin to embed ink in your skin. It's going to hurt!!!! The level of pain is what changes. Each person is different on different parts of their body. In general, the closer to bone or on bone you are, the more it will hurt. Its usually your meatier or fattier areas that are less painful. Again, this depends on the person. When I got my foot tattoo, it was one of my least painful. My wrist tattoo was my absolute most painful one! The most recent two I got on the back of my neck and the front of my shoulder by my collar bone have been my least painful. Each person is different and some people have a much higher pain tolerance than others so it will change from person to person.
When you are getting a tattoo, remember to breathe!!! I have passed out once from getting my first tattoo and almost did while getting my wrist tattoo. So BREATHE!!! The pain is temporary!
Also, eat before you get a tattoo. Not a huge meal, but make sure you have something in your system, especially if you get really nervous like I do. I always make sure to drink orange juice and have something sugary in my system before I get a tattoo since I have passed out before.
If the artist will let you, take pictures or video. I always love going back and remembering the process I went through to get my tattoos. And if later you don't want them, at least you had them just in case. Better to have them and not want them than to want them but not have them.

Taking care of a tattoo. Remember that your tattoo is a wound. Treat it as such and do as your artist advises. Do NOT soak in water for 1 month after getting a tattoo. Do NOT go tanning for 1 month after getting a tattoo unless you plan on covering it up. Do NOT pick at that scabs on the tattoo!! Your tattoo will scab and picking at the scabs will make it scar and will possibly pull the color out of your tattoo. Leave the bandages on for at least 1 hour after getting the tattoo and then wash it gently with warm water and antibacterial soap. Pat it dry and let it air dry completely before putting on a light layer of Tat Wax or Tattoo Goo. I live by those two tattoo healing substances. Some say they use unscented lotion instead, but I don't trust that. Make sure you don't but it on too heavily, dousing your tattoo in the wax or goo will not allow it to breathe at all. Be careful while your tattoo is healing. Like I said, it's a wound. It needs to breathe to heal and it needs to be left alone for the most part. The more a tattoo moves and is messed with during the healing process the more screwed up it will heal. The healing process takes about 1-2 weeks usually for the scabs to fully come off, and about another 1-2 weeks to be completely and fully healed. Plan for this!!! Do not get a tattoo and then plan to go to Mexico a week later....bad idea!

These are what I have learned from getting my tattoos over the years. I am not a tattoo guru and I don't know everything and anything there is to know about tattoos, but I do know how to take care of mine and have learned a lot through the years. I know tattoos are a really controversial thing. Just make sure when deciding to get one that you give yourself the time to think it over for a while instead of just jumping out there and doing it and possibly regretting it later.

I hope this may have been helpful to anyone thinking about getting their first tattoo or anything of the sort.

Hope everyone is doing well!! Happy Friday!!!


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