Woman with Tattoo on Arm
Memories & Experiences

Tattoo Tales

I’ve written about my experience getting my first tattoo as part of my 30 Before 30 series (which btw, I’m SMASHING…jks I’ve done sweet FA throughout 2020 and the early part of 2021), but I wanted to share a bit more about why I chose them and the meanings behind each one. I’ve wanted a tattoo since a young age, but I was always just that little bit too scared. Then, in April 2019, I took the plunge and booked myself in for my first one. Fast forward to July 2019, and I went for another session to get two more. I’d love to get more done in the future too, but I can’t see that happening this year thanks to the old covid getting in the way of everything. Anyway, whether you’re a newbie looking for some tattoo ideas, or you just like learning about the meaning behind peoples’ tattoos, here’s today’s post on the stories behind each of mine.

The Cat & The Serotonin

When I first started looking at tattoo ideas, I knew I wanted to go for something that had meaning. While it’s perfectly fine to go for something purely for aesthetic reasons, I liked the idea of having a tattoo done that had a bit of a story behind it. Ultimately, I went for a combination of two ideas I really liked, a cat pawing at a heart, and the chemical symbol for serotonin, which I chose to have on my right ankle. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, the meaning behind these will be pretty obvious. I went for a cat because, obviously, I love them; and serotonin not just because it’s the “happy hormone” but because it played a huge part in my (sadly now a bit damaged – thanks covid) OCD recovery, in the form of the SSRIs I started taking back in 2016. I wasn’t particularly sure on the layout of how I wanted them, so I ended up just submitting the two images to the tattoo artist and said I was looking at combining them.

First Tattoo

I had it in my head the layout I was expecting – the cat as more of the focus and pawing at the serotonin symbol – but when I turned up for my appointment he’d done a couple of options for me, and the option that I went for actually looked the best. Getting the tattoo done was a strange experience – I wasn’t really sure what to expect and my main concern was more that I’d faint or something rather than it hurting. Thankfully, neither happened. It felt more like a cat scratch than anything else and Ash, who was my tattoo artist was lovely and kept me calm through the whole thing.

The Tay-Tay Tribute

My second tattoo was an homage to my ultimate girl crush – Taylor Swift. If you’re a regular visitor to my blog you’ll know that I’m a committed Swiftie, and it will probably come as no surprise that one of my tattoos is related to her music. I knew pretty early on that if I got another tattoo it would be Tay-Tay related, and it took me a while to decide on the perfect one. Pinterest was full of Swiftie tattoo ideas, many of which were based on the break-up side of her music. So many Taylor Swift songs are meaningful to me, but none of the ideas I found seemed to be appropriate or relevant to me. I decided to strip things back and think about my favourite songs of hers – and the one that was top of the list was Shake It Off. It’s the song I listen to when I’m happy. It’s the song that reminds me of some of the best drunken nights I’ve had with Lillie. It’s positive, upbeat, and it’s all about not taking yourself too seriously and not letting the haters win. Plus, I think “shake it off” is an excellent message when it comes to dealing with intrusive thoughts. It’s how people without OCD deal with those random but dark thoughts of “you could jump off that bridge” or “you could walk out in front of that car.” People who don’t have OCD shake those thoughts off because they don’t mean anything. People with OCD will obsess and overthink those dark thoughts until they’re an anxious mess. I thought the idea of doing what everyone else does would be an excellent mantra. 

Shake It Off Tattoo

I chose to get “shake it off” tattooed along the side of my foot. However, it wasn’t until Ash had the needle in his hand ready to get started that he told me the foot was the most painful tattoo location. He wasn’t wrong unfortunately. It hurt. While the pain wasn’t exactly unbearable, it wasn’t pleasant and I was pretty glad when it was over. Let’s just say if it’s your first tattoo, don’t go for the foot.

The Shell and the Dinglehopper

I got this tattoo at the same time as the “shake it off” one. The Little Mermaid is my favourite film and was a huge part of my childhood, so I knew I wanted to go for a tattoo related to it. Again, I spent a great deal of time going through tattoo ideas on Pinterest but a lot of the Little Mermaid ones were quite complex and detailed, and I wanted something simple. After a lot of searching, I decided to go for a seashell and the fork (aka the dinglehopper) on my wrist. It was subtle enough to not draw too much attention, but it would still be obvious that it was an homage to The Little Mermaid. 

Little Mermaid Tattoo

In terms of pain, I’d probably rank this one in the middle of my three tattoos. It didn’t hurt as much as the foot one, but it wasn’t quite as painless as the one on my ankle. As this one was done immediately after, in comparison the pain wasn’t too bad! 

Ultimately, I love my tattoos and I’m so glad that I went through with each of them. The first one especially was something I’m proud of doing – I put aside my fears and I just went for it. I love how they look and every time I catch sight of them I feel a little bit better about myself. They make me feel confident for a change, which is something I’ve struggled with for years. I would love to get more in the future, and I have a few potential ideas in my mind already. When this shitshow is over I will certainly be booking my next appointment.

Do you have any tattoos? Is there a story behind them? Let me know in the comments!

Featured image by Cody Black on Unsplash.

21 thoughts on “Tattoo Tales”

  1. I love these and that they all have a stoey behind them. Especially the cat and the serotonin, it’s very cute and looks like the cat is playing with a hear at the end of a serotonin shaped balloon. I have one tattoo which I got the day before my 18th birthday. It’s a copy of Faiths tattoo from Buffy the vampire slayer and is on my lower back. I got it 1. for my love of Buffy and 2. To remind myself to be strong. Faith is a very strong character whose been through a lot and it’s to remind myself to do the same if I can. In terms of pain the outline wasn’t too bad but the sharing hurt a lot! Especially when it went over my spine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so nice that your tattoo has two different meanings – I love learning about the stories behind people’s tattoos! I can imagine that was quite painful going over the spine for sure! Thank you for reading xxx


  2. I love reading about people’s tattoos and their reasons for getting them / the meaning behind them. Your meaning behind your tattoos are lovely – I’m the same with mine that when I look at them I feel happy and a bit better about myself.
    Tattoos are so addictive – I even kind of weirdly enjoy the feel of getting them done. I know I’d like more too but I just haven’t quite decided what yet or where I’d like it placed.
    Great post! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It was really nice reading about the meaning behind your tattoos. I absolutely love the first one! It is very much something I would get. 😛 I have a hard time settling on one particular tattoo idea and then I don’t really have a design in mind so I keep postponing from getting one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I must admit, the first one is my favourite! I had a similar issue when it came to deciding what to get, I think you just need to go with your gut instinct! Thanks for reading 🙂 x


  4. I love the meaning behind each of your tattoos ☺️ They also look amazing! I’m not the best with needles so not sure I’ll ever end up with any 😆xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s definitely one of those things that you have be sure you want, due to the permanency of the ink! It’s always good to do research into it and into tattoo artists, but you’ve done yours well, love all of your tattoos! 😊


  5. I have a butterfly tattoo on my wrist, like you, I wanted there to be meaning behind it. For a few years, it represented me overcoming my battle with Anorexia. Now, it applies to everything that has happened in the last two years. Overall, it means I can overcome anything, that I can come out the other side and grow stronger. I would love to get more but I’m worried that I would end up kicking out or hitting the artist due to my involuntary jerks 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have three tattoos so far with plans for a few more! I really want one on my foot but I’ve heard it’s very painful. Might just have to suck it up and go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

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