3o Before 30, Memories & Experiences

Getting My First Tattoo | 30 Before 30

My 30 Before 30 is a project I’ve been focusing on for a while. One of the first things I ticked off my list happened on the 20th April 2019 – I went and got my first tattoo. I had been saying I wanted one since I was about 18, but it was just one of things things I never really bothered with, for lack of funds and just generally being a bit scared and uneducated about the whole thing. The last couple of years I’ve seen loads of first tattoo ideas on Pinterest and imagined where I’d get them, and in 2019 I finally decided to take the plunge. If it’s on the 30 Before 30, it’s going to get done. This weekend, it did. So, here’s today’s post, which is all about the experience of getting my first tattoo.

Getting My First Tattoo Pinterest Graphic

The Design

I wanted my first tattoo to be something meaningful, and that could have a bit of a story behind it. At the same time, I wanted something simple and small because I wasn’t overly sure what to expect. I debated over song lyrics that I love and quotes that I’ve related to, but ultimately couldn’t decide. After months of finding loads of different designs I loved on Pinterest, I narrowed it down to two that I couldn’t choose between. In the end, after discussing it with my friend, I decided to go for a combination of both on my right ankle.

Actually Going Through With It

I woke up Saturday morning absolutely shitting myself. It wasn’t the idea of pain that was causing me to be anxious, but it was my fear of fainting/throwing up/literally shitting myself. My anxiety hasn’t been great lately, but I was determined to still go through with it and not let the little bitch win.

Both the guys at the shop were lovely and welcoming when I got there, and my nerves calmed down slightly. My tattooist showed me the design and got it printed – and as I headed through to the studio and hopped up onto the bed my nerves crept right back up. Thankfully, he really put me at ease by telling me exactly what was going to happen, to focus on my breathing, and to tell him if I thought I was going to pass out. We chatted a lot for the first few minutes and before I knew it, the first part was all done.

Overall, the whole thing took just under 40 minutes, and I was genuinely surprised at how little it hurt. I was expecting it to be painful AF, but it wasn’t. I had been told by a couple of people that that it was like a continuous cat scratch, and that’s exactly how it felt. Of course I had been told that the amount of pain differs depending on where you have it done and what your pain threshold is like, but generally, the ankle is definitely a good place to get your first tattoo.

The End Result

My First Tattoo - Serotonin symbol with cat pawing at it
Yes…those are Powerpuff Girl socks.

This is it! I went for the chemical symbol for Serotonin and a little cat. Obviously. You can see that in the picture. I decided to go for Serotonin because it’s played a huge role in my OCD recovery, and I’ve come a long way since I started taking it 2 years ago. As for the cat? Well, you’ve probably realised by now that I am indeed a crazy cat lady. There’s nothing like a cat video or that Whiskas advert with the little kitten telling the rain to stop crying or cuddles with Tilly to make me feel better. So, in a nutshell, cats and Serotonin are my happy place.

So what did I learn from the whole experience? First of all, that I shouldn’t have waited as long – had I known it would be as chilled as this I would have done it a long time ago. Secondly, that it pays to tell your artist if you’re nervous. I had every intention of keeping my nerves under wraps to avoid looking like a naive ink-virgin, but letting them out actually made things so much easier and they settled once we got chatting. The third and final thing I’ve learned? I will definitely be back for another.

Update – Since this post was initially published, I went back and got two more tattoos. I now have a seashell and a dinglehopper on my wrist (an ode to my love of The Little Mermaid) and “shake it off” tattooed on my foot (a nod to my love of Taylor Swift).

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