A Note on Tattoos

Last night I tweeted about tattoo removal and received a good few tweets, all of which evolved into a rather insightful and truly interesting conversation. I have a lot of thoughts, feelings, advice and general tales about tattoos and would also love to open the floor to those who didn't get the chance to weigh in via Twitter.

If I could offer one piece of advice in regards to tattoos, it would be to think long and hard about the design; what you think is wonderful and cool at 18 may come back and haunt you a few years down the line. Trust me.

I got my first tattoo at 18 - a dinky, intricate crown on the back of my neck/top of my back for no other reason other than I liked it. I personally don't think that every tattoo requires deep and meaningful purpose, I do however think that you should spend more than 15 or so minutes debating on what essentially may be marked on your body for the rest of your life. I also have musical notes behind my ear and a tiny butterfly on my leg - again I settled on the concept in the moment. For the record I still like my crown, most likely because I can't see it and the butterfly is pretty cute - the musical notes I utterly hate and can not wait to get them removed. 

If you are keeping count that brings us up to three tattoos - I also have a selection of lucky charms, a name on the back of my neck (I hate this more than I hate life), a tiny anchor and the number thirteen on my foot. The vast majority of my tattoos are tiny - no bigger than the size of a stamp which does make them a little easier to forget about and as such they don't bother me. The tattoo on the back of neck is another story, I loathe it and rue the day I ever went under the needle. The problem is that it is visible, I can't hide it and if I am entirely honest I am a little embarrassed by my choice. I must stress that I don't feel this way about neck tattoos in general, I have made too many poor ink choices to be in the position to judge anyone else. 

The consequence of such hasty decision means I am now stuck with a tattoo I hate, or face further expense on laser surgery to remove the tattoo or perhaps even a cover up. Personally I have decided a cover up is not for me for two reasons: there is no other tattoo design I want on my body and location wise (behind my ear and on the back of my neck) would most likely make this neigh impossible - so laser it is. I have done my research and as such I am under no illusion, I know it will hurt and be both a lengthy and costly process. I will be documenting the process in both video and blog form, for the moment I am simply deciding the best place in Glasgow to undergo such procedure. I do like to keep in mind that even beautiful celebrities such as Zac Efron have weird and wonderful tattoos - #Yolo on his hand. Then there is the man who tattooed a McDondald's receipt on his arm and of course the T.V star with an all too real impression of Jayden Smith on his leg. Basically we are not alone ha!

This post is not to talk anyone out of a tattoo, a poor design choice that you will grow to regret yes but tattoos in general no. If you are about to get your first tattoo don't walk into your nearest studio, rather set aside the time and do your research - look at portfolios, get recommendations and find the best artist and studio for your needs. Do not be rushed or pushed into any tattoo, a good tattooist will take the time to explain not only the process, but will let you know any pro's and con's of your tattoo positioning. For example, I wanted a tattoo very near the sole of my foot and my tattooist explained that due to the skin's natural shedding process that it would age poorly - something I hadn't as much as considered. I'm sure it goes without saying that the studio you decide to utilise should be clean and utterly hygienic, make sure that the artist not only sets up the tattoo equipment in-front of you but also opens a new needle and pours new ink into the wells. 

I wish I could tell you that getting a tattoo doesn't hurt but it does, of course we all have varying levels of pain tolerance but on the whole I'm sure most will agree the process does not tickle. I personally compare the sensation a little to a deep scratch, it stings and is generally more irritating than painful - having said that the majority of my tattoos are really small so I am perhaps not the best person to ask but if you want a tattoo bad enough, you will grin and bear it. The healing process is also fairly annoying - after a day or so, the tattoo will scab over, tighten and may become itchy during the healing process. To ease the itch factor there are various lotions and potions to calm and offer relief which you can purchase at most tattoo studios. The good news is that skin tends to heal pretty quickly and once it does, you are left with a beautiful and brightly inked tattoo. 

Would I get another tattoo? Probably not, I become bored so quickly that it really isn't wise for me to commit to something so permanent, saying that I'm not totally against the idea so who knows? What I can say is that next time around, my choice will be more considered and hopefully be meaningful.

Now over to you - where do you stand on tattoos? Do you have any you love and/or any you regret?