You may or may not already know that I have a lot of tattoos…so if you didn’t already know – now you know!

Of course, I started getting tattoos as soon as I turned 18, but there’s always a handful of things you should know before getting tattooed, so I decided today I would write about all the things I WISH I knew before I got my first tattoo. Enjoy!

  1. Realistic Photos are the best references to bring
    1. Don’t make the mistake of bringing a picture of a tattoo on someone else – tattoo artists never want to replicate someone else’s work!  Also, your tattoo artist really won’t be able to get the best small detail from a picture of a blown-out , blurry tattoo; your tattoo will come out so much better if your artist has a nice, realistic photo to reference and grab all of those small details you want in your tattoo
  2. It’s perfectly OK to ask questions
    1. Remember, this tattoo will be on your body for the rest of your life, so do it justice by asking questions that you need answers to
    2. Especially about the drawing/stencil – you’ll be somewhat intimidated to ask questions, but it’s okay to convey if something isn’t what you envisioned
    3. There’s a line though – don’t piss off your tattoo artist with a buttload of unnecessary questions…that’s how people end up with penis tattoos on their back
    4. Communication is KEY
  3. You WILL get shaved
    1. It pretty much doesn’t matter where you’re getting tattooed – they will shave the area before they start tattooing
    2. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal (and it isn’t), but it is somewhat alarming when it’s on a spot where you really thought you didn’t even have one hair…like your back.  As a female, it was a bit of a weird concept to have my back shaved before I started my back piece, but it’s normal, and it’s no big deal
    3. It’s for your own health, so you don’t get ingrown hairs from the needle penetrating your skin over and over!
  4. Pain tolerance varies
    1. Per location on your body, and per person – I thought my arm hurt the worst (and I had my eyebrows tattooed on…three times w/ touch-ups), but thought my ribs didn’t hurt very much.  My husband feels the exact opposite – he thought his arm was easy peasy, but his ribs were no bueno!  Weird, right?
    2. You always hear the same sayings, your foot hurts the worst, your ribs hurt the worst, blah blah blah – that all depends on your own pain tolerance
    3. I think tattoos on more fatty areas hurt more because they pinch more, but others think that boney areas hurt more…it all depends on your own pain tolerance
  5. The pain is not what you expect
    1. Before I got my first tattoo at 18 years old, I had already heard so many horror stories of how much they hurt, so I anticipated the worst, like unbearable pain!
    2. You will probably hype yourself up for no reason, it’s actually a manageable pain, just know that it will all be over eventually, you just have to sit through it and be brave, little one!
    3. I find the pain actually feels like more of a burning sensation, sort of like someone is continuously rubbing a rash (like road rash) that I already have; I thought it would feel like getting a shot at the doctor’s over and over…I’ve never been stung by a bee, so I can’t relate to that saying that “it feels like a bunch of bee stings,” sorry.
  6. The rubbing is the worst part, I promise
    1. They have to rub away the excess ink after a few passes over the same line/area, but it just gets to you after a while because it stings
    2. They’re rubbing an open wound, how can that not sting a bit?!
  7. Every tattoo artist is different
    1. You will not have the same experience with different artists
    2. Tattoo artists have their own preferences on the way you sit or lay for each tattoo, drawing technique, tattoo technique, style, etc.
    3. Some artists prefer to ONLY tattoo black and grey, or color.  Others prefer only one style like photo realism, new school, old school, etc.
    4. It’s important to look through your artist’s book (of previous tattoos) to ensure they tattoo the style and color options you want, and they do it well!
    5. Some tattoo artists take longer to tattoo than others, which results in more sessions = more money
    6. I’ve experienced artists that like to tattoo in complete silence, and others that like to talk and chit chat with you the entire time, but I really have no preference; I don’t mind either way
  8. Timing is everything
    1. Your tattoo should not be in direct sunlight or submerged under water for extended periods of time during the healing process (about two full weeks)
    2. It’s best not to get tattooed in the Summer if it’s on an area of your body that could potentially be in direct sunlight or submerged under water (this is for you, pool junkies and beach go-ers!) for extended periods of time
    3. Time it out right, and don’t neglect the healing process, be patient and follow all the rules and I promise your tattoo will heal to a beautiful masterpiece!
  9. You will need touch-ups
    1. Touch-ups are vital if you want your tattoo to look as good as it did on Day 1
    2. If you’re okay with your tattoo(s) fading a bit, then you might not elect to get touch-ups, but that’s simply personal preference
    3. Touch-ups = more money
    4. I think a lot of people don’t think of this when they first decide to get a tattoo (I know I didn’t) because you’re only thinking about the initial payout for the tattoo itself, but you should plan to get touch-ups (if you decide to), which means you need to plan to pay more money
    5. ALWAYS APPLY SUNSCREEN TO YOUR TATTOOS to keep them vibrant, to possibly avoid touch-ups
  10. Tattoos will grow with your body
    1. If you get tattooed on any area that has a possibility of stretching and growing, know that your tattoo will do the same!
    2. If you want to have children, it’s not recommend to get tattooed on any part of your stomach that would stretch with pregnancy because it probably won’t bounce back to the same size and shape as when you first got the tattoo
    3. We all know that when we get older, we tend to gain weight more easily (that’s just life), so try to plan for that and know that your tattoo will grow and shrink as your skin does
    4. Placement is critical
  11. Everyone will ask WHY you got that tattoo
    1. They always want it to have some sort of deeper meaning
    2. Of course, many people have deep meanings for getting certain tattoos, for instance, my first tattoo, on my foot, I got in honor of my pepere because he used to make rosaries and I remember helping him pick up the beads off the floor when he was done, and I have the last rosary he ever made before he passed away, so I got a rosary tattooed on my ankle/foot
    3. Sometimes, there’s just not a deep meaning for a tattoo, I have some that I got just because I love the look of them, and I feel they compliment my body
    4. People are just curious, it’s okay
  12. People assume you ONLY want to discuss your tattoos
    1. If your tattoos are visible, people tend to assume that’s all you care about and only want to talk about them….NOT true.
    2. I got tattoos for me, not for everyone else, it’s totally fine to discuss other things in life, my world does not revolve around tattoos
  13. You will be judged
    1. And unfairly placed into an irrational stereotype
    2. If you have more than one tattoo, or multiple larger tattoos that are visible, you’ll be judged and people will think you’re a punk
    3. Again, some people have no shame, my husband and I have had people say some really cruel things about our tattoos and how horrible it is to get tattooed, but tattoos don’t define us, they just add character and enrich our lives
    4. Again, we get tattooed for us, not for others.
    5. It’s getting better, but people do still judge people that have tattoos
    6. It won’t ruin your life or ruin job opportunities, good companies know that tattoos don’t affect your job performance, so they easily overlook them
    7. I choose to cover my tattoos at work by wearing long-sleeves, but that’s my choice…it’s basically so that everyone can focus on the task at hand, especially during meetings, rather than waste time discussing my tattoos
    8. I don’t judge people that don’t have tattoos, so it’s somewhat unfair that people judge me for having tattoos, but whatever, that’s their prerogative – do you, booboo!
  14. People will ask SO many questions
    1. What happens when you get older?!
    2. Did it hurt?!
    3. How many tattoos do you have?!
    4. Which one hurt the worst?!
    5. SARCASM is great for these type of questions…it feels like you’re being kissed by unicorns and kittens
  15. They’re addicting
    1. Once you get one, you will immediately want another
    2. SOME people just want one, and know that they only want one, so when they get their one tattoo, they’re satisfied and don’t get addicted like others – obviously, totally fine!
    3. I’ve always known I wanted a lot of tattoos, but I really didn’t know how addicting they really are

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xoxo

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