Last month, I finally ticked off a bucket list entry that I’ve been wanting to do for so long – got my first tattoo. I’ve always been a big fan of tattoos and see them as a form of art, but in saying that, I do feel that a tattoo should hold some sort of meaning, and therefore it took me a while to decide exactly how I wanted my first piece of body art to look. Of course, I know tattoos receive very mixed opinions and by no means are they for everyone, but personally speaking, I love them and know so many of my readers do too, so I thought a little post on my experience of having one done may be of interest to some of you, especially those itching to get their first bit of ink done in the near future. I’d also like to say that I’m obviously no expert when it comes to tattooing and any advice I give is purely from my own personal experience, you should always follow your artist’s advice on how to care for the tattoo afterwards.
Where I Went
I chose Metal Urges Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio, Tralee and my tattoo was done by Martin, an extremely talented artist. The shop itself is absolutely spotless clean, which is always very reassuring when you’re having a needle drive through your skin. The staff are super professional and made sure I was aware of all the possible repercussions that come with getting inked. When I went in to make the appointment initially, I was given the next available date, which was three weeks away. When getting a today, it’s always wiser to choose somewhere that books up quickly and has a waiting list, it’s a clear indicator that the shop has a good reputation.
What Does It Mean?
As I said previously, tattoos with meaning are always my favourite, and mine is no exception to that. Three inches in length, situated on my left inner arm, half way between my elbow and wrist, it reads ‘through hardships, to the stars’ in Latin, with a broken arrow shooting upwards. The meaning is quite special to me, as it represents succeeding despite the obstacles and struggles life will present me with. I designed the font and arrow myself, with a few little adjustments by Martin to make it just right.
Did It Hurt?
Naturally, having a needle driven through your skin is going to hurt, but by no means was it unbearable pain, in fact, I expected it to be a lot worse. In saying that, where I chose to have it placed, on my arm, wouldn’t be considered one of the most painful areas to get inked. Areas with the most prominent bone exposed will hurt most, such as wrist, foot and ribs. The whole appointment took about an hour but the inking itself lasted less than 30 mins. In terms of comparison, it mostly felt like a sharp compass being dragged over and back on my skin, with a few areas towards the centre hurting more, when the needle hit an area with more bone. No tears were shed and I think I only winced twice, which was pretty good for a girl with a fairly average level of pain tolerance.
The Healing Process
After having the work done, I took the advice of Martin and left the clingfilm on for three hours as the tattoo itself was still an open wound. I think washed it gentle with warm water, patted dry and applied Bepanthen cream 4 times a day for the first week and twice daily for a further 2 weeks until it healed fully. My tattoo actually never ‘peeled’ like some do, it just flaked very slightly around the 9th/10th day of the healing time. The skin was sore to touch for about a week, other than that, it was a problem-free process. From a bit of research online, I’ve found that severe peeling occurs if the skin is kept too moist, so a thin layer of Bepanthen or whatever is recommended by your artist is best.
On the night I got the tattoo, I got a bit anxious and overwhelmed seeing the black ink taking up half of my once bare forearm but I think that’s a normal reaction, a mix of feelings of change and the come down for the rush of adrenaline released when getting inked. Nearly two months on, I’m more in love with my tattoo than I was when I first got it and I’m 100% itching to get more work done. My biggest advice to anyone considering getting inked would be to really think about what you want and wait until you’re 100% sure about the font, size, design, placement, before biting the bullet. It’s also so important to go to an artist/shop that you know will give you the result you’re looking for. Read reviews on their social media and talk to friends who’ve gotten work done before. For anyone in the Kerry area, I couldn’t recommend Martin and the guys at Metal Urges enough, I’ll definitely be back for my next fix in the near future.