As a little girl people with tattoos scared me. It seemed as if only big, burly, motorcycle riding men had them and those kinds of men scared little Lena! I immediately associated tattoos with fear and these hardcore men, completely falling into the pit of the stereotype. Thankfully, I grew up and learned that absolutely anyone can have a tattoo, that they don’t always have to be big, that they can be true works of art, and that I actually liked some tattoos myself!
To preface this post, I do feel the need to make a few things clear as this can be a controversial topic. Tattoos are personal. We each have our own body. We get to choose what to do with that body! Also, some might say that my tattoos are not “real”, meaning that they are small, dainty little things, not big tribal designs or crazy intricate works of art. A tattoo is a tattoo. While I cannot tell you what it feels like to sit in a studio and be tattooed for hours, I can tell you that whatever you do, this is permanent. So take into consideration the tips I will be offering below when considering getting one – no matter how big, how little, how simple, or how intricate!
TATTOO 1: LOVE ON WRIST
At a mere 16 or 17, I was scrolling through Pinterest and I saw a picture of such a simple, but gorgeous tattoo – it said “love” in cursive and went across the person’s wrist. I pinned it and never forgot about it, even 3 years later. At age 19 I decided it was time. I was visiting Jonathan at the time and figured he could come with me and hold my hand.
A short 15 minutes later and a mere tickling feeling, the tattoo was done and I loved it! It healed up quickly and I have been happy with it ever since.
To be honest, I just love how this tattoo looks, that is what I initially noticed about it back when I first saw it. But, everyone always asks what a tattoo means and it seems as if “it was pretty” is not a good enough answer! So, over time I have actually discovered a meaning behind it, that I just was not conscious of until after I had it done. That said, here are the various things that this tattoo represents:
- Love. It is a word I say often, but only when I truly mean it. It is not a word I throw around lightly and it embodies certain feelings and relationships. Catching a glimpse of it throughout the day serves as a great reminder to just love – love life, love my family, love my boyfriend, love my dog.
- Its placement on my left wrist is not only practical but also holds a meaning. I wear a ring on my left ring finger that signifies a relationship with one of the people I love most. They say that the veins in your left hand lead directly to your heart, and I sure do love him a lot, along with my family and they will always hold a special spot in my heart.
So, while it may be cheesy for you, that is what this tattoo means to me.
TATTOO 2: HEART ON ANKLE
This tattoo’s story is what defines it. It was May 2016, almost a year ago to the date, and I saw an article on Facebook. It was something along the lines of “Cute Mother Daughter Tattoos”. I scrolled through it and saw a few I liked and some that I strongly disliked. My mom was next to me, so I said, “wouldn’t it be cool to get matching mother-daughter tattoo’s?” I 110% believed she would laugh in my face and give me a big fat no, but surprise surprise, she agreed! Immediately needing to test this theory, I started digging around on Pinterest and showed her a few ideas. She went along with it as if she was taking it really seriously. A little while later we found a few ideas we liked and we were googling local tattoo parlors.
Saturday morning, we walked, while nervously giggling, into a tattoo parlor and showed them our ideas. Within a few weeks I was leaving to go to the US for 8 months and it was either now or never. The woman at the desk gave her honest opinion and we decided on small hearts on our ankles. The next available appointment was not until the afternoon, so we spent the day together shopping and having a coffee and at 2:00, we were back in the studio getting inked! The next hilarious aspect was that my dad was texting us asking what was taking us so long… we had not told him what we were up too!
When we got home, we surprised my dad and he totally did not believe us. But he grew to like the idea (too late anyways haha!).
My mom and I have a really close relationship. We get along quite well, for the most part, and we love having fun together! While we will forever be related by blood, this is just a special similarity we share, and even when we are far apart, we can’t help but think of it whenever we see the tattoo!
5 TIPS FOR GETTING A TATTOO
A tattoo is not something you should get on a whim. You should invest some quality time into considering getting a tattoo! Here are my 5 tips on what to think of:
- WHAT will your tattoo be? Is it be something you are proud to have your grandma, boss, or child see? Is it just a trendy word or symbol, or do you have a true connection with it? Is it going to be big or little? Unfortunately, tattoos are sometimes still be frowned upon. For me, it was really important to make sure that they were words or symbols that I loved, but that were also tasteful if others are to see them.
- PLACEMENT! As a woman, I thought about the clothes, bikinis, and accessories. I wanted the option to be able to “hide” my tattoo if it was necessary. The one on my wrist can easily be covered by a watch band or bracelet. The one on my ankle is easily covered by long pants or a maxi dress/skirt or booties! Worst case scenario, you could also cover it with a band-aid or makeup. Just think of where it would be most appropriate for you and test it! When my mom and I were talking about it, we actually drew the tattoos on each other and walked around to see if we liked it. A sharpie may not look nearly as good, but it definitely helps!
- GET FEEDBACK! We tend to be irrational as humans sometimes, especially when we get obsessed with an idea. Turn to someone you trust and ask them what they think of the tattoo and the placement. Chances are they will have a totally different insight into it than you and they might have some good ideas!
- TRUST YOUR TATTOO ARTIST! Getting a tattoo is a big deal, even if it’s little! You want it to be as perfect as possible. You need to make sure that your artist is listening to what you are telling them. BUT, you also need to listen to them. For example, for my tattoo on my wrist, I wanted it closer to my hand. He had me bend my wrist and explained that the ink would fade quicker if he were to place it in all of the folds of my skin. Tattoo artists are true artists. Just like you can say no if you don’t want them to do it, they can turn you away too if they don’t think you’re seeing eye to eye or don’t agree with the tattoo you have chosen. For example, my mom and I considered small infinity signs and they basically told us that they would not do that. There are so many people running around with infinity sign tattoos already and the artists have so much more talent than stamping a generic symbol on you. Our artist ended up free handing the hearts on paper and then tattooing them, just so that they were not that ultra perfect heart you find on google!
- TAKE YOUR TIME! There is no reason to get a tattoo you love today. Best case scenario push it off as long as you can to make sure that you REALLY love it. Tattoos, at least for me, are a luxury. You are spending money on getting ink put into your skin. It’s just as silly as paying for someone to put holes in your body when you get piercings. So, take the time to think things through, get opinions and consider placement. It is worth it, I promise.
I hope that you enjoyed hearing about my tattoos and learning the tips I have for those considering getting one. Chances are I will not get another one in the future, 2 are plenty. But, I definitely do not regret the 2 that I have.
Do you have a tattoo and a fun story about how you came to get it?