Getting inked

Getting tattooed is a tradition that has been around for ages. Whether it was to identify yourself with a specific tribe, to explore your artist freedoms, or to rebel against your parents–tattoos covered it all.  In most states, if you are looking to get a tattoo you must be at least 18 years old or have parent consent.  So naturally, the second my friends and I turned 18 we immediately booked our first appointments.

I have always known I wanted a tattoo but since my parents are so against them I needed to make sure my first tattoo held significant meaning to me.  On the other hand, my friends were so eager to be tattooed so the first idea that came to them they got. Although spontaneity works for some people, my friends ended up really disliking their tattoos. What you get tattooed and why you get tattooed is one hundred percent up to you, but television shows such as “Bad Ink” suggest that regretting tattoos is becoming more common. So you want to get inked, but are the type of person who is nervous you will regret it? There are a few steps I found that worked for me when deciding on a tattoo that I would not regret (I have six tattoos and regret none).

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First, I found it helpful to determine what kind of person I am. I asked myself, “Am I the kind of person who regrets decisions or am I the kind of person who attaches meaning to every choice I make?” If you are someone who likes constant change, getting a tattoo could bother you and you may find yourself regretting getting something so permanent. Once I figured out if I was the type of person who does not regret things easily, I then had to determine what I wanted to get. Being spontaneous in choosing what you want permanently inked on your skin can be exciting, but can also make your tattoo more prone to regret.

If you think you are ready to get a tattoo, but do get anxious due to the fear of regretting it–make sure you really think about what you are getting. A good rule of thumb is to come up with the idea, write it down, then wait a couple weeks. If after a few weeks you look at your idea and are still passionate about it, start thinking about the logistics of the tattoo. These include:

  •  Where are you planning on getting the tattoo? This is important to think about if you see yourself in a career where having visible tattoos are frowned upon.  It is also good to consider how parts of your body change with age and weight. A sunflower on your stomach when your 19 vs after you give birth will change the way the tattoo looks.
  •  How big do you want your tattoo? This is important to consider when deciding on careers too. Tiny tattoos are a lot easier to hide and cover up. They also take less time so that means less time under the needle.
  •  If you want your tattoo colored or black and white. Tattoos fade over time so keeping in mind that your beautifully saturated tattoo will most likely need a touch up in time is important.
  •  Does your tattoo have a significant meaning or experience it reminds you of? This can help eliminate regret if you attach a significance to the tattoo at hand. If you started to dislike your tattoo remembering the meaning behind it keeps it significant.
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Once you are past that step, it is time to find a respectable tattoo artist to do the work. Just as in any other art form, different tattoo artists specialize in different styles of tattoos. Make sure you check the portfolio of the artist you choose so you can see their other work and make sure it appeals to you. Also, it is important to check out the shop beforehand. Make sure the facility is clean and that they take all the precautionary steps before tattooing to keep it sanitary and safe. Tattoos involve needles and blood so it is undeniably important to make sure everything is sanitary.

Be sure to remember all people are different and these are just some steps that worked for me. Although most of my tattoos were planned, I have a tattoo I got spontaneously and I don’t regret it. It’s all about what works for you!