Getting Inked

Friday, 24 June 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

While on a hike with my dog this week I decided to do something I have always sworn against.

We were barreling up a trail and I was having a moment of gratitude for the beauty around me and giving myself a pat on the back for feeling so fit and strong in my mind, body and spirit, when the urge to do this thing just hit me out of nowhere like a jolt: I want to get a tattoo.

I guess you could say I had a tattiphany.

While I have never been against the idea of a tattoo per se, there has never been anything – be it a word, phrase or image – that I wanted stamped on my being for the rest of my life. That, and the fear of a tat-gone-wrong and the possibility of regret when I change my mind about what looks good or I get old and saggy and can no longer remember why I thought this thing on my  arm, back or leg was a good idea, have all kept me tattooless.

The other reason I have shied away from getting inked is that I have seen so many God awful choices on other people. Or at least that’s my opinion. If it’s one thing I’m learning about making this choice, even at my age, it’s that one must prepare to be judged.

When I tell my 40-something friends I’m considering a tattoo they roll their eyes and tell me I’ll regret it. And they might be right – a year ago I’d have reacted the same way. And of course when I bounce the idea off my younger friends they shrug, tell me I’m weird for not having one already and move on to telling me about the next ink they’re planning for. Does every single ‘adult’ under the age of 30 have a tattoo?

And that leads me to ask myself, is this some desperate grasp at youth? Am I a cliché? Am I having a peri-midlife crisis? (I plan to live well past 100.)

All I know for sure is, a tattoo can look beautiful and be meaningful to its bearer. History will show it is one way many of us adorned our bodies. Personally, my recent life experiences are what’s pointing me in this direction at this time. I don’t ever want to forget.  At the end of the day it is a very personal choice.

As I do my research into the what, where and who I might allow to do this to me, I’m learning a few things for the first timers like me out there:

  • don’t get drunk and get a tattoo on an impulse.
  • research your tattoo artist. Not just whether they’re reputable, but also if they’re a specialist in the type of design you want.
  • don’t bring kids or an entourage. One extra person is fine if you’re afraid to go alone.
  • be prepared for a bit of pain and have something to eat before getting inked. (You wouldn’t want to faint.)
  • the most painful parts of the body are the ribs, feet, hands and head. (Aside from the obviously most painful areas.)
  • draw a rough sketch on the place on your body where you’re considering the tattoo. See how it feels to live with it for a few days.
  • think hard about the what and the where. Instagram is your friend. Check out @tattoos_of_instagram, @tattooinkspiration @igtattoogirls and @tattooinkspo
  • start small.
  • tip your artist. 15% – 25% is about right.
  • take aftercare seriously and follow the directions your artist provides.
  • protect your tattoo from the sun, which will cause it to fade. Wear spf!

I’m still working out my design and placement, but it will certainly be original artwork and far from public view. And it is possible I’ll chicken out or change my mind. But I’d love to hear feedback on the good, bad and the ugly from all you tatted up readers out there.

Happy Friday.

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  • Mike

    If I get a tattoo, I already have a design: a waving Canadian flag, with “Made in Canada” beneath, and a barcode with the faux-UPC code of my date of birth. Or maybe scannable, to go with my Nexus card.

    • Anna Wallner

      Scannable would be EXCELLENT. I’d like to get my Visa attached.

  • shiremaid

    Anna, I was the same. I used the argument “Your body is a temple.”… And at 36 I got my first tattoo. I got my 2nd at 40. And in 4 months, when I turn 50, I want my third.
    Follow their instructions for aftercare! Most important, as you posted.
    Pain? Not if done right. It will feel more like a rug burn that doesn’t stop (until the tattoo is done I mean.
    For you, I easily see a silhouette of a bucking bronco with a silhouette of a butterfly next to it, or appearing more as if the bronco was reared on it’s hind legs towards the butterfly. Why? From “Grocery Bags” and “Shopping Bags”. The attitude, confidence, the beauty, the strength! Show it off girl!
    As for placement, I suggest behind the shoulders. Keep the size about medium, maybe a 3-5 inches large, if possible. If you want to cover it up with a top, great. Want to show it off? That’s what tanks and bathing suits are for. I love mine. I wish I could show you the two I have.
    I really want my third to be a combination of a dragon and butterfly.

    • Anna Wallner

      bucking bronco and a butterfly…I love it! Thanks for sharing shiremaid!

      • shiremaid

        My pleasure. It was almost instantly in my mind as soon as I read the first few sentences of your post. solid black silhouettes of both.

  • Heather Fowlie

    While researching tattoo artists you should consider Kaija Heitland at Sacred Heart Tattoos in Vancouver. She did a mastectomy scar cover for me a couple of months ago and I’m in awe of her work. Plus she is a fascinating woman to spend time with. Good luck.

    • Anna Wallner

      I will definitely check out her work. Thanks for the tip Heather!

  • A John

    I got my first tattoo at 39. I had the same fears you did. In 3 years, I now have 4. No regrets at all. All of them have deep meaning to me – 3 are memorial tattoos that make me feel connected to that person’s spirit (or dog’s, as one of them is).

    Most of mine are hidden or discrete but I have one on my inner wrist. Sometimes I’m uncomfortable with the attention it garners. In those situations, I just wear a wide bracelet.

    You have all the right notes. Inkspiraton World is a great website to get exposure to different styles.

    • Anna Wallner

      Thanks A John! I will definitely check out Inkspiration World.

  • Sheree

    If/When I get tatted, I plan on a half-inch high pink heart wrapped in a baby blue ribbon just under my right breast. Of course, it would never show because my breast would gently cover it. If I wanted someone special to see it, I’ll let him lift it to take a peek. Good, huh?

    • Anna Wallner

      Well there ya go! Thanks Sheree…you’ve clearly thought this one through 😉

  • ronwhite99

    the easiest Most adaptable and private is to get a tattoo of an “M” on both butt cheeks…Can be read as MoM or headstand WoW or if you do cartwheels some form of Greek possibly sorority name epsilon omega epsilon(?) Just an idea.,,Your welcome 🙂

    • Anna Wallner

      LOL. love it

  • Margaret Drapeau

    I got my first tattoo at 50 and my 2nd at 51…I love them because they symbolize ppl I love.

    • Anna Wallner

      Several people have commented that their tattoos are a connection to people they love. That’s a nice idea. Thanks Margaret!

  • BrainofMorbius

    Not something I would ever do. Tattoos and piercings always bring to mind for me an image from the original Planet of the Apes movie…the ending where they discover human remains in a cave, a pacemaker among them…

    Once you start altering the body, bad things happen. Society decays…and the apes eventually take over! Or not.

    Get a fake tattoo that looks real and live with it for awhile; that would be my advice to you Anna. That way you can always change your mind.

    IF you do get one, I recommend something hidden and kinky! Don’t mess up that beautiful body of yours girl! =)

    The Brain of Morbius has spoken.

    • Anna Wallner

      Thanks Brain! I agree with trying out the idea with a temporary one or as I said in the post, just drawing a little sketch on oneself and living with it for awhile. And don’t worry, if I proceed it won’t be on my forehead. 🙂

  • Laura Albert

    I personally don’t have one (too much of a wuss when it comes to pain) but my dad has one, and has had it for years, loves it and plans on getting another. He currently has the line art of the fireman’s crest in blue and the planned one is to celebrate a hole-in-one in golf.

  • JBond

    I can’t relate to the appeal of ink-stained skin so I hope you change your mind Anna. But the decision is yours to make and I’m sure you’ll make the right one for you.

  • jess

    I got all my tattoos when I was a teenager. I spent 3000 removing one on my arm. I wish I never got any tattoos- your body is already a piece of art. Instead my body looks like 1993……

  • Kelly Allistone

    So, the ‘tat’ on your left arm during the filming of Ratio must have been a temp, huh? 😉

    I may someday get a wee one (probably a memorial), but I’ve seen too many gorgeous women who trade in natural beauty for ink-filled chests, arms, and sometimes necks!