25.11.18

Years after my tattoos


This is, and always will be, a touchy subject. So many people feel their have the right to be overly opinionated about MY skin and what I'M doing with it. It's not OK, its not appreciated and its not even listened to, thank you very much. I have always been interested in tattoos, from a young age drawing pictures on my arms and legs and colouring them in. I remember spending a good 2-3 hours one day drawing all over my arm, and I was so proud of it I didn't want to wash it off. Over the years, my taste has changed as I've matured - of course it has. And yes, I do have some tattoos that I once loved and now regret, but its all a learning curve and it's normal to grow and change your thoughts on things. There were designs that at 17-18, I thought looked great, and looking back they weren't the best - but every one has a story behind it, a lesson, and a special meaning. So, I will never apologise for offending someone by having what I think is beautiful, on MY skin. 

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I have so far collected thirteen tattoos, all of which are completely different. It shows a symbolic story of my progression through life, my style, my creativity and how I became me. I love each and every one of them, and although a few I would cover up, I know they will still be there and will remind me of certain times and places in my past. 

My biggest piece and most recent; my arm tattoo. I have a collection of flowers along the lower half of my left arm, which covers the entire top section. I got this done in May 2018 and it took approximately 5 hours from start to finish. Why did I choose this design? In recent years I have found my femininity - what it means to be me. These flowers are special to me as they are all sentimental, as well as being both beautifully drawn and delicately designed. This is a big piece, and ultimately the one question everyone asked me at the time was "what about when you want to get a new job? It doesn't look professional!". How is this even a thing in 2018? How are people STILL being judged based on artwork on their body? Why is it OK for people to have coloured hair, wear make up, have nails painted and dress how they feel is appropriate, but I can't have a piece of artwork on display? Luckily, my current workplace hired me with tattoos and is very much under the understanding that its the 21st century, and people shouldn't be judged based on a mark on their skin. However, I am asked to cover it when I can for the sake of customers - fair play. 

                       


I thought i'd answer from my own personal experiences, some of the most common questions people ask abut tattoos:

1.) Did it hurt?
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Lets be honest - someone is repeatedly jamming a needle through the epidermis layer of your skin tissue, combined with an annoying and constant buzzing noise, and being told to stay still. Yes, it fucking hurts. However, the pain is instant and as soon as the needle stops, the pain stops. A lot of the time it is more painful at first because of adrenaline! Once you've calmed down and gotten used to the pain, it becomes more tolerable and less painful. Once it is finished, there is a new kind of pain; a burning sensation that can last for hours. Depending on the size of the tattoo, depends on how painful the healing process will be. In my experience, I have little pain the day after and then have a horrendous two weeks of peeling while it heals. That is an all time killer! I tell you now, you have not known true torture until you have something you cannot touch, pick, scratch, slap - anything. I resulted in blowing on it, or using a fan to keep it cool and less itchy. The overall healing time is between 1-3 weeks depending on size and area of the body, but once its healed it looks great.


2.) Is there any you regret?
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Yes. But isn't there mistakes in your life that you regret? Everyone makes mistakes, but see them rather as a learning curve and an adaptation to yourself and growth within your creativity. Over time, tattoos also reach beyond their original meaning, and commemorate moments in your life of who you were at the time. Who you were when you decided to get a tattoo with your best friend on your 18th, who you were when you had a quote inked onto your ribs, who you were when you were 22 and decided to just go for it—those are all valid aspects of your past, and those tattoos serve as reminders of your past. They ground you to who you are. Why would you regret who you were and who you are today?


3. Don’t you respect yourself?
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Yes, I do. And yes, you should always respect yourself. Whenever anyone asks you this, it’s usual to assume that they may not respect you, hence the questioning. And you know what? Cool. They don’t have to respect you, which makes it easier for you to make a judgement call and not include that person in your life. If they can’t respect that you made such a decision over your own body, chances are really good that they won’t be able to overlook the other things on which you disagree as well. If you think your body is a temple and it’s disrespectful to get tattoos, then don’t get them, that’s fine. People with tattoos don’t think less of people who don’t have tattoos. 


4.) Won't you regret them when you're older?
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My favourite one! Not. This has to be the most asked question out there, along with "what about when you're old and wrinkly and they stretch and sag?" and "but that will fade and look rubbish in ten years!". Who are you to judge how I may or may not feel about my body at any aspect of my life. It's not a rushed decision, and in most cases we have thought about these already - but so what? Our body is ours, no one else. If I choose to put holes in my ears and ink on my skin, who are you to tell me that's wrong? And it’s very possible that I could regret them, and it’s very possible that the ink might not age all that well and I’ll get wrinkles and things will sag!! But much in the same of whether or not I regret my tattoos, I would like to think that I’m not going to regret who I was at 24 when I begin to reminisce as an old, wrinkled, and yes, tattooed woman. I'd like to think back and remember what a hard-ass I was; pink hair, holes in my ears and tattoos - how hardcore!


5. What do your parents think about them?
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Here’s the thing about this question: this suggests that all parents will have the exact same reaction about everything their children do. My Mum likes them, personally, and my dad is a pro at that mild head shake that speaks volumes of what he thinks about them, but not every parent is like that. Some parents even have tattoos themselves—we’re not the first generation to get a little ink crazy. And I am fully grateful to my parents for creating my body, carrying it around, clothing it, feeding it, and protecting it until I moved out, but my parents also taught me that my body is my body, and I can do what I want with it as long as I respect myself in the process. I wasn’t all that worried about what my parents would think when I got my tattoos, because their bodies weren’t going under the needle. Mine was. Of course, they have their own opinions about certain tattoos, but its all part of me, my character and my story and I think they would never want to change that.


6.) Are you only attracted to people with tattoos then?
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Haha, no. Actually it's more the opposite. It could be because I am cliche and madly in love with my boyfriend and who he's grown into, it could also be that I just don't find it attractive on a male. My partner has no piercings, and only a small tattoo that we sat and did on him once so he could experience the pain! Its not to say that I wouldn't find someone attractive with tattoos, but the way modern society is, everyone seems to have them now - nothing is unique or a one off piece. Every one looks the same and its so draining. I like a bit of originality in style and character, not a generic copy and paste job.

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