I’m one of those awful people who got a tattoo at 18 and now, 7 years later, I regret it. Unlike Kimberly Vlaeminck, I luckily didn’t get anything that can’t be covered. I have 7 stars on my back that I think are ugly as sin. However, they have meaning for me and reflect a time in my life that I really don’t want to forget. The rest of my tattoos (I have 6 in total) are ones that I don’t regret (let’s hope that doesn’t change!) and I still plan on getting more. Here’s the big question, though: why?
My thoughts about tattoos have evolved since I started getting them. When I started, I was definitely a rebellious teenager. I waited until I was in New Jersey for the summer, while I was working at a summer camp. My parents were both opposed to the idea of me getting a tattoo and while I totally understand their perspective now, I didn’t at the time. They gave me permission anyway (they had threatened to cut me off if I got a tattoo previously), which I really appreciate. In the end, I had to make my own mistakes, right?
The rebellious frame of mind I was in kept me from thoroughly thinking through the whole process. I didn’t check out the shop I went to before making the appointment. When I didn’t like the design, I didn’t argue. Most importantly, I didn’t take care of the tattoo while it was fresh. The design that should be crisp, dark stars is a little blurry and faded because I didn’t sunscreen it and spent a lot of time in the sun. These are all lessons I’ve taken to heart! I was in such a rush just to get it done that I didn’t think about the importance of everything leading up to the actual tattoo and the way they’d affect it.
Now, my 5 other tattoos are ones I’m proud of. In particular, I have two pieces by the same artist and I love them. I made sure to ask around about good shops when I got them done, I talked to the people in the shop about the right artist for the work I was getting done and I talked to the artist about what I wanted in the designs. I got exactly what I wanted and they’re what I’m most proud of on my body. Preparation really paid off.
The drawback to having tattoos, which I know is glaring, is what I do with regards to work. I’ve tried to keep my tattoos in places where I can hide them without being uncomfortable. The only one that gets in the way of being “professional” is a big tattoo of fuchsias on my right arm. In the summer, it can be hard to cover it up and still be comfortable. However, most offices I’ve worked in have been air conditioned. Plus, living in the Northwest has meant that dress codes are usually relaxed and lots of places don’t mind if you have (tasteful) tattoos they can see. I guess that’s a perk to living here. If you don’t, I’d recommend considering your career path (you certainly shouldn’t have hand tattoos if you want to be in finance) and placement before going through with getting inked.
I’m all in favor of using tattoos to express yourself. Just be sure to do your homework. Think before you ink!
Minnie has 6 tattoos and plans on getting more.