Why did I start to cover myself them?
This is a bit different from what I usually post. I’m not a “lifestyle” blog but every now and then I like to talk about parts of my life that aren’t “geek” related. However I do have “geeky” tattoos.
For those wondering, yes it does become addicting once you get your first tattoo. At least for me. I thought about it before I turned eighteen, but couldn’t really decide what to get. It wasn’t until the end of 2012, after my first semester of college, that I decided.
A good friend of mine at the time drew out a flower design and over Christmas break, I got it on my back right behind my shoulder. As far as first tattoos go I’m still happy with it.
After that, I wanted to get more.
Six and More to Come
I’m twenty-three and at the moment have six tattoos, my most recent I got in March. I followed my flower with the Pittsburgh Penguins logo on the side of my calf (I’m a big hockey fan, not something I talk a lot about.) About a year later I got Expecto Patronum on the inside of my upper left arm. Didn’t hurt as much as you’d think.
The fourth is currently the biggest. I discovered a tattoo shop thanks to come recommendations and they happened to be doing a sale: $400 tattoo for $200. Yeah I could not ignore that. It ended up being a quarter flower sleeve on my right arm, which lead me into wanting my entire arm to be a sleeve of flowers. One day.
My next, a BB8 on my inner left forearm, got done at Wizard World Con in Pittsburgh. I knew artists would be there (they were on tour with the Con) and I went in hoping someone could make a BB8 with a galaxy background. And I found one better: BB8 colored by a galaxy. Call it coincidence or whatever but it still kind of creeps me out thinking this artist laid out a stencil of something I wanted.
And now my most current tattoo: a portrait of my dog Cody we put down a little over three years ago. That’s a story on its own, but I just knew since it happened I wanted a picture, but nothing too serious if you get what I mean. I wanted it to look like him but I have a thing for flowers (if that’s not obvious by now.)
After six, numerous tips from different artists, and my own research here are some things I learned over the years.
- Always eat/drink beforehand: depending on how big it is, getting a tattoo can feel like a marathon. I made a mistake before my BB8 tattoo of eating a soft pretzel an hour before and that’s all I had during the day. I got this tattoo around one in the afternoon. Apparently I looked like I would pass out, even though I didn’t feel like it. Keep water or extra food with you in case the feeling starts. But don’t drink alcohol.
- Don’t use Vaseline: it will pull out the color and possibly cause it to break out. Try to use something that doesn’t have petroleum like coconut oil/cream. If that’s out of your reach I recommend Aquaphore. It does have petroleum but when you use it use as thin of layer as possible. Just get the tattoo moist. Make sure it stays moist as well.
- SUNSCREEN ALWAYS: for the last few years I’ve worn shirts at the beach…not just because I have crippling body issues but to cover my tattoos. It’s become something I think about constantly during the summer. Lather your tattoos up and remember do it throughout the day. Hell even if you’re just getting a little bit of sunlight put it on.
- Do your research: not just for the tattoo itself but the shop and the artist you want. Some shops have an array of artists who specialize in certain styles. Most of the time if you know what you want they’ll be able to recommend an artist. Look at reviews. Get recommendations from friends/family. As for the tattoo…lots of people want their first on their ribs. No one recommends this. If it’s pretty small then you might be fine but be smart. Learn which spots will hurt more. Bone like the top of the shoulder is a bitch.
One of my favorite quotes from Ink Master is, “there needs to be cushion for the pushin’.”
Some Extra Tips
- Clean it. I usually do it 2-3 times a day: when I wake up, in the middle of the afternoon, and before bed or after a shower, but more if necessary and the tattoo’s been rubbing against anything. Use a plain bar of soap with no scent and a clean towel. Dab the tattoo. No rubbing.
- The tattoo will bleed (by that I mean the color) and peel while healing. Don’t worry. My first three weren’t that big so it wasn’t a big deal but once my quarter sleeve started I got nervous. It’s totally normal, but if it’s happening all the time and it’s a lot of color, you may be using too much cream. And peeling will happen. Clean and keep it moist.
- Depending on where you get the tattoo, the healing process can be a pain in the ass. It’ll be sore. The recent one on my thigh hurt for a few days after and working out just didn’t happen. I try not to cover it with blankets, especially when I sleep.
- Always remember it will be worth it. It’s a tattoo and will hurt no matter where you get it. I describe it as a burning sensation. For me it’s an annoying feeling that you just want to end and it will, but if you plan on getting more you will get used to the pain.
Why Did I Start?
For a long time I didn’t feel good about myself or the way I looked. When I started getting tattoos they helped me feel better. That there’s something on my body I like. Of course there are the personal reasons behind them, but I like flowers, so why not get covered in them? I like Star Wars, so why not get a tiny droid?
My parents never really cared but when it came to other members of my family they didn’t get it. I may not like that thing years from now. It’s going to be on my body forever. Like I didn’t know this already…but remember no matter what everyone else says it’s your body and you can do whatever you want with it. And if you want to cover yourself in animal portraits or quotations then do it.
I don’t regret any of my tattoos and am already thinking about the next one to get.