Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My First Tattoo Experience (#21)

I've always wanted a tattoo. My mum got one when I was about 6. It's an R (her daughter, mum and dad's names all start with the letter) on her arm, but when she moves her arm, it turns into a bird, dolphin and sea to symbolise where she grew up. I love tattoos that have meaning to the person, with symoblism. I would hate to have a tattoo and see someone walking down the street with the exact same one. It's all about being unique I suppose.

I seeked a lot of inspiration from online and people on the streets.I had come up with a few ideas over the past couple of years, but there was nothing I had fell in love with and thought 'that's the one'. It wasn't until a few months ago that the right idea came to me. As soon as I thought of it, I just knew.

I spent a year in Japan when I was 10. In a small town, no one else at my school spoke english and I was immersed into the culture and language. Being only 10, I picked up the language very quickly, and was fluent by the end of the year. Anyway, that may have to be another post! I wanted something to symbolise Japan, and cherry blossoms (sakura) do. They also symbolise a new beginning, which is very relative to my life at the moment.

I roughly drew my idea and a couple of weeks ago I took it to one of the few remaining tattoo stores in Christchurch. Within a few days my design was ready to go and have a look at. I had originally not wanted any colour on it, purely black. The tattoo artist recommended having some colour in the cherry blossoms, as it would look better. When I saw it, I agree. It was perfect, I loved it, and booked a time for early the next week.

After work yesterday my boyfriend picked me up and we went to the tattoo store. I wasn't too nervous. I have a pretty high pain tolerance for that kind of thing, and I knew the design was what I wanted. I was a bit sweaty (haha). I was a little early, but the tattoo artist was ready anyway.

I lay down on the chair, and put my arm on the arm of the chair (I got a bracelet on my wrist). The tattoo artist asked me if I was stressed about the pain etc, but I said I was fine. He cleaned and shaved the area where the tattoo was going and then put the transfer onto my arm to get the sizing/placement right. Once I was happy he got the needles ready and the ink. He put some cream on the area and began tattooing.

Many people say it's hard to descrive the feeling of it, as it is different to to everyone. Some people say it hurts a lot more than others, and some people say it's an 'annoying' feeling.

I'm not going to lie, it hurt. But like I said, I have a high pain tolerance, and I don't have any fear of needles etc. I agree with it being annoying. I always turn the vibrate option off when I play playstation etc because I can't stand it. It was basically a vibrating sensation the whole time, and sometimes made my hand/wrist feel a little numb. The parts that hurt most were on the sides of my wrist, near the bone and further down my forearm.

Straight after I got it done. As you can see, it's very red!

It was worth the pain though, after an hour it was all over and I had a gorgeous tattoo that I love! I didn't have to bandage it because I hardly bled at all, I just have to keep it moisturised. It hurt this morning in the shower (like having a shower with sunburn), and it still stings a bit if I touch it. But that is just because it's healing.

Photos taken in the studio at my work. Much less red now!

If you are contemplating getting a tattoo, don't just rush out and get it. Think about it. Leave your sketch or idea for a while, come back to it in a few weeks, or even months and if you still love it....get it. As long as you've made your mind up, and you know it's what you want it's worth it. Yes, it hurts, but it's going to be on you forever.

Symbolism: As mentioned, I lived in Japan for a year growing up. The Kanji means 'River' in Japanese and the cherry blossoms, are of course Japanese, and symbolise a new beginning.
Pain: I have a pain tolerance so I would say 4/10. Some places hurt a lot more than others.
Price: Very good! I had a $20 voucher, so it only cost me $120. I thought it was going to be a bit more.


  1. Love it - it's beautiful!
    We've just been having a tattoo chat over on Twitter! I have three and agree that the pain isn't as bad as you would expect.
    Did you find when you had yours done that your fingers kept moving involuntarily! Mine did when I had my wrist one done -I couldn't keep them still! xx

  2. Looks lovely :).

    Sadie x

  3. @Zoe Yes, every now and then my fingers would twitch haha. Not too bad though.

    @Sadie thanks!

  4. Oh that's awesome! Nice work! It looks great!! I also got a tattoo on my wrist, about a year ago, and I agree, the parts on the bone and further down the wrist hurt the most! But it is a bearable pain :)

    Just be careful when it starts to scab not to hit it or pull the scabs off, otherwise you may lose some colour. I have a tiny dot in mine where i banged my wrist and the scab came off too early!

  5. @Hannah Michelle I'm a bit concerned about when it starts to scab! I've always liked to pick things like that (gross I know).

  6. I know how you feel! I always pick things off too haha..but you'll be alright, I think mine took exactly 1 month for it to completely heal, and it only scabs for a little!

  7. That's good. It's quite itchy today...I suppose that means it's healing. I've managed it resist scratching it so far!