I write this as I sit and realize that on this day 9 years ago I got my first tattoo and I’m a little surprised that I even did it. I tend to play it safe and always stay in the lanes so putting pen to paper so to speak, was quite the big decision. I think tattoos can be beautiful and while there are tons of different types and styles out there of which you’ll never see on me, I think that on some level, all tattoos are artistic. For example, I don’t think I’ll ever do a color tattoo–I think colored ink can be gorgeous but I like the simplicity that black gives. That being said, I love tons of colored ink tattoo designs but for me, for now I’m sticking with black. Lately I’ve been thinking of getting another one so I’ve been thinking about my other ones. Here’s what I take into account when I’m thinking about adding to my tattoo collection.
Choosing a Tattoo Design
For me, tattoos are highly personal. They should always serve a purpose to the person whose skin they’re embedded in. My first tattoo came at a time when I was a couple of years out of high school and wanted to remind myself to try to enjoy some of life; to take some risks and not let life just pass on by. I had a tendency to be that person who let myself be too tired to do that thing I want to do, or assume it won’t work out so I never try. That’s not something anyone wants to be so I thought I’d get a reminder to get out there and do some living. Hence, I got a tattoo that says Live in script. For me it was the perfect way to commemorate a decision to be different. It’s not a piece of paper that I’ll lose or a reminder on a whiteboard–this was permanent and I still refer to it all the time.
So pick something that you won’t tire of; something that you’ll refer to all the time and find happiness in. Because tattoos go on easier than they come off (so I’ve heard).
Placement is Key
I put my original tattoo on my ankle because it was a somewhat private place that not many people would see. I used to be very concerned about the fact that I never wanted my tattoos to hold me back from anything. While I don’t take issue with them, some people may (ex: corporate office jobs, conservative strangers, etc.). A few years after my initial tattoo I got the itch for another. It is true what they say; once you start it’s hard to stop. At the time of my second tattoo, my family was dealing with my grandmother being diagnosed and struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. My grandma and I were always very close and it shook me up. I got an anchor to help me serve as a reminder to stay steadfast and strong during stormy times. It reminds me of that time in life, but in a good way. It’s a good reminder that we are all stronger than we realize.
For this tattoo I knew I wanted it to be more visible so I chose my arm. Fun side story: the design for the anchor came from a J.Crew shirt that my friend had. Still, and probably always will be for that reason, be a J.Crew lover. The arm placement worked for me because I knew that it would show when I was dressed casually but for office jobs it wouldn’t be seen. You can have the attitude of well, I’ll never work anywhere where I’d have to cover it up and that’s great to be in a position like that. Come see me when you’ve got a mortgage, bills, car payments and don’t want to eat ramen every day.
Find Talented Artists
The fact that tattoos are permanent is a little daunting. A mistake can be devastating. That’s why it’s important to find talented artists. Meet with them, talk with them about your ideas and always see prior work. These days with Instagram and social media it’s usually pretty easy to see tattoo artist’s work because they often post about it.
My first two tattoos are good for what they were but I knew for my third tattoo I needed it to be special because it was extremely sentimental. I got it 4 years ago. It’s my grandmother’s writing and says “Love Always XOXO” which is how she always signed cards. Now without getting into the whole story, my grandmother loved cards and after she passed away I stumbled upon a birthday card from her and knew I had to get this tattoo. My sister knew how important it was to me and how emotional I was over the fact that my grandmother wouldn’t be at my wedding so she gave it to my wife and I as a wedding present. Best present I never registered for. The artist was able to copy the text from the card, place it and it turned out perfectly.
If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo make sure you think it through. I know that’s counterintuitive to my “live” mantra but they’re permanent so they should be taken seriously. You want to be able to showcase them proudly and have them be a representation of who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going. Cheers!