When I was 16 I made a terrible decision, well I probably made lots actually but one in particular that I regret to this day, every single day. I don’t really know why I did it. I wasn’t following anyone else, I was the only one of my peers that went down this particular path. I hadn’t shown any previous inclination either, it came from nowhere. It wasn’t strictly legal, I would even go as far as to say it was illegal. After all you have to be 18 before you can get a tattoo.
I went out one day and passed a tattoo parlour, having shown no previous desire or interest in getting a tattoo I walked in and walked out with a fairly substantial band around my upper arm. I probably put more thought into what I was going to have for breakfast that day. I flicked through a few books and found a design I thought was fairly inoffensive biting my tongue for 4 hours as a little needle permanently scarred my arm. Baring in mind I was only sweet 16 it could have been so much worse, SO…..MUCH…..WORSE!
I went to school the next day and my peers seemed suitably impressed, I may even have benefitted from a kiss behind the bike shed but I can remember being fairly ambivalent towards it even then. I showed my parents, they didn’t launch into any great rant about regret, they did something even worse they gave each other and then me a knowing look, a ‘you’re so going to regret that look’. I suspect their disapproval was compounded by the fact that I got my eyebrow pierced on the same day; this must have been my bad boy phase?
Over the next couple of years I went on to get two more tattoos and I loathe them all equally. I am now lumbered with a spiky band around my arm, a misplaced gecko on my shoulder and a sun shining out of my arse. Let me state that I don’t hate tattoos, I hate my tattoos. I hate their permanence and I hate that they are not reflective who I am. I go to extraordinary lengths to keep mine covered up, I search around for T’s that have sleeves just long enough to cover up my inky errors. I was a personal trainer in a previous life and would wear wrist bands pulled up my arms to keep them covered. When I look in the mirror they dominate what I see, I wish I could turn back the clock and un-ink myself.
I toy with getting them removed but there are some fairly substantial costs involved and it seems unfair (and maybe a tad vain) to take money out of the family coffers to rectify my own error of judgment. As I said I don’t hate tattoos and see ones on a daily basis that I think are beautiful. Those people did what I hadn’t, they deliberated, they came up with designs, they sourced skilled tattoo artists and they had several consultations to be absolutely sure they were doing the right thing. Along with the Birds and Bees, Say no to Drugs and Treat Women Well talks that I plan on having with The Boy I am already practising my Think Before You Ink speech.
The second choice I have is whether to cover up my existing ‘pieces’ with something altogether more personal, more meaningful, more me. That means going bigger and who’s to say what is relevant and personal to me now as a 30 something is going to still be relevant when I’m in my 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. There is a third choice that’s cheap, practical and less permanent – “suck it up princess”. I suspect this is the option I will take.
Has anyone else dabbled with body art? How has it been for you? Care to share your story?