There are usually two responses when it comes to tattoos. People either love them or hate them. I fall into the first category. Getting a tattoo is a very personal experience since it is something that you will most likely have for the rest of your life. It is not something that you should do on a whim. You should seek a professional tattoo artist and see their quality of work before you offer them your skin. The last thing that you want is a bad tattoo. I’m sure that you have seen examples of misspelled words and bad artwork. I would also be very careful about getting a tattoo in another language. One misplaced mark in a Chinese word can change its entire meaning. Think about where you are placing the tattoo and what it will look like when you are old. What looks like a beautiful swan might turn into an ugly duckling when your skin sags or wrinkles. It is important to think about the message your ink is sending to others. If you are young and think a scary scene is cool, remember that you might have children one day that will be terrified of your skull with blood dripping from it. The same goes for curse words or suggestive sayings. You will have to explain it to your kids!
I got my first tattoo three years ago. It is on my right wrist and says, “Serenity, Courage, Wisdom” to represent the Serenity Prayer. This is a prayer that serves as my mantra and keeps me grounded. Since getting the first one, I wanted to have one added on my left wrist. This one would be special as I wanted it to honor Bentley and the changes he has brought to my life. You can read more about what makes him my “soul dog” on the Bentley’s Story tab. I spent months scouring dog designs until I had narrowed it down to three.
The young man that does my work is a former student at the high school where I worked. He was one of my favorite students and I have complete confidence in his work. John B. has been a tattoo artist for a number of years and did my children’s ink as well as many other people that I know. He is incredibly talented, professional, and an all-around super person. I sent him my choices and asked if he could somehow combine them into a nice design. It was important that the number 7 was incorporated to represent Bentley’s #7. The photos that I sent him were the infinity symbol, a ribbon heart, and a dog’s paw. When I arrived at the shop, he had designed my tattoo and it was perfect.
"Tattoos are stories in your heart,
written on your skin." ~ Charles DeLint
The first thing that happens after signing waivers is a thorough cleaning of the area to be inked. All of the equipment is clean and a new needle is used. The design was transferred onto my wrist and after my approval, John began. I can only speak from my experience, but it is not really painful. The pain level depends on where you get your tattoo. The entire process took about an hour.
Once he was through, he cleaned it off and wrapped it with clear plastic wrap. I was given instructions for aftercare and headed home with my new wrist art. It is important to keep your new ink clean and covered for a couple of days. I use Aquaphor® healing ointment on it and cover it at night with plastic wrap. It will need to be cleaned and dried throughout the next week to resist infections and make certain that it heals properly. Always follow your care instructions.
I could not be happier with my tattoos. While they may not be for everyone, mine are very special to me. I think that is how all art should affect its owner. Do you have any tattoos and if so, what are they?