In 2013 I was nearing my 30th birthday. Old for a first time by society’s standards, maybe.

It’s not like I didn’t want to do it, it just never really felt right.

How do I choose the right person? What will the pain be like? What if I regret it afterwards?

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I’ve always been interested in tattoos. I was 15 when my brother, on his 18th birthday, received a realism tattoo of a gecko on his bicep. Ever the reptile aficionado, this made perfect sense for him and while I enjoyed the techniques used to make the lizard appear as if it were leaping off the arm, it didn’t really move me or inspire me. Nothing I saw done or being done was my jam.

But hey, I was a 90s teen, so at least I escaped without a zodiac symbol lower back tattoo! (no tea, no shade but that trend should stay dead and buried).

I considered several images, styles and techniques over the years. I would photoshop certain images or lyrics on my body but it was not until I found traditional Japanese and met Horimitsu did I absolutely, 100% want to get a tattoo. It was like seeing a whole new side of tattooing. I needed to get this kind of tattoo.

I chose a flower, a pink peony. Simple, bold, feminine and striking. It was everything I wanted. Horimitsu was amazing and I came out obsessed with my new art.

Here comes the #tebori #tattoo

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So, to help any of you out there taking this big step for the first time, I’ve already been there and done that and here are some of my pre- (and post) first-tattoo freak outs:

PRE-TATTOO

What image or symbol do I choose?

A tattoo can be a lovely memorial or memory of something or someone in your life, past or present. It can symbolize a new chapter or be a souvenir from a trip. Any tattoo can have a million different meanings to million different people. But you are allowed to simply like the image. It doesn’t need to mean something extra.

I love flowers and gardens. I got a flower – I now have three flower tattoos. Because I think they’re pretty. The End.

Remember, your tattoo is for YOU. The most important question to ask yourself before the tattoo, “does this make me happy?”

Did I choose the right artist?

Listen. You need to be comfortable but you also need to trust your artist. Bring back the school days and research them! Social media is a great tool for this.

Do they create the style you like? What technique would be the best choice for the result you want?  Find the style you’re looking for and trust that your artist is going to do the best job for you.

I shouldn’t ask any questions, I don’t want to look like a total newb.

I am, by design, a rather anxious person. And that definitely came into play before, during and after my actual tattoo.

But here’s the thing. Even when you’re an adult, making an informed and researched decision, you can still be nervous and that’s a-OK!

Ask the questions, even if you feel silly for doing so. Because peace of mind is priceless and let’s face it, this is kind of a forever thing, so why not be uber comfortable with your decision?

If you encounter an artist or a shop that isn’t willing to answer simple questions about the process, safety or otherwise, RUN don’t walk the hell away from there.

POST TATTOO

It’s peeling. Is it peeling OFF? Is it all going to come off??

No. Peeling is a natural part of the tattoo’s healing process. My biggest advice is DO. NOT. PICK. no matter how itchy you feel. Removing the peeling skin before it is ready to naturally shed can lead to the removal of some of your pigment. If you desperately NEED to do something, take a clean towel or tee-shirt, place it over the tattoo and gently pat to alleviate the itch.

Although I did require some touch up do to the thin nature of the foot skin (which I had anticipated going into the tattoo) it has held perfectly since application.

Remember! Everyone’s skin is different and skin in different places on your own body will be different as well.

Oh my god, my foot is the size of a softball! It’s never going to look right after being so swollen!

It did calm down and look amazing. However, in retrospect, I should have stayed off of it for a day or two rather than running around showing off my new ink.

It’s always a good idea to remember that a part of yourself has been wounded, essentially, and you need to give your body time to recuperate.

Stay out of the sun, rinse only with clean water, use a non-petroleum based moisturizer and before you know it, you’re healed!

What it all boils down to is that your tattoo, whether you get it at 21 or 71 (seriously, my mum just got her first tattoo last year) it’s for you.

Find the artist that fits your needs, work with them, ask them questions, be informed and be happy with your choice and then… just go for it!

As long as you’re doing it for you, you’ll love it.

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Adrienne

Author Adrienne

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