Tattoo--A Very Personal Choice

An excellent hubber, badcompany99, wrote about getting a tattoo lately. I made a comment about how I loved my tattoo.  His hub made me remember how hard it was to pick out my tattoo.  Here is my story:

I have a tattoo and I love it. I used to hang out with two men who made a life pact, who could have the most tattoos. My best friend had some tattoos that I loved. One was a peacock on his forearm. This peacock was one of the most beautiful pieces of art I had ever seen as a young 18 year old. I vowed to myself that I would get one.

He really wanted to see me get a tattoo and suggested many, some of which I almost fell for. He knew of my love for Looney Tunes and suggested a Tasmanian Devil. I liked the idea, but not well enough to get it. My tattoo would have to be special, not run of the mill. I wanted one that would mean something to personally!

Most tattooes are a dime a dozen. If you go into any tattoo parlor in the country, you will find many of the same themes. Dragons, skulls, hearts, butterflies...but what makes them different? What makes them you? Tattoos are forever, be sure to find the correct one before getting one.

I waited a long time before I found the tattoo I wanted. I waited 12 years until I was 30! I never stopped wanting a tattoo, I just couldn't find the ONE I wanted. Lots of them were cute, lots of them were primal, lots of them were dragons...the problem was, none of them were me.

I used to buy "Tattoo" magazine occasionally to see what was out there. This is where I found my tattoo. I loved it on first sight! A tiger's face in the shape of a butterfly. This I could live with for the rest of my life! My friends were good at instilling this maxim into my mind. Tattoos are forever!

My Tattoo
My Tattoo
My Tattoo, close-up
My Tattoo, close-up

One thing I had learned about tattoos over the years is that light colors do not hurt as much as dark. Maybe this is true, or maybe it is an old wives tale. However, the tattoo I got did not have much dark in it, and, for me, did not hurt much. Placement is also a pain factor, and having it placed on my shoulder blade (as opposed to my breast, stomach, or buttocks) probably made a difference. My shoulder blade has seen the light of day...and has been smacked from time to time (coming from a large family).

The worst part was after I had it done. You need to keep it moist for a couple of weeks. This meant slavering it in antibiotic ointment, which I am allergic to. I had a fairly hard time getting it to heal because of this. I would slaver and cover as per the directions. And it would ITCH and ITCH and ITCH! I put up with it because after 12 years I had finally found the one I wanted.

I love my tattoo. But it is very personal and has meaning to me. Tattoos are forever, so you need to make sure you want one...never get one on a spur of the moment. Never get one unless you know for sure where you want it and that you will love it forever. People will try to humiliate you for having it, not understanding that you love it. If you do not absolutely love it, you may be swayed into thinking it was a bad decision.

A tattoo is forever. Think long and hard before getting one. Know what you want and where you want it. There is still a stigmata against a woman having a tattoo in a visible spot in the workplace. Tattoos are not a spur of the moment decision. They require forethought and understanding of yourself. Do these things and pick one with meaning and it will be worth it.

BTW--Rule #1--Never get a name!

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Comments 23 comments

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

"Never get a name"  great advice.  I really don't know how people could tattoo their face.  It's the most disturbing thing to me.  I can see an arm or a leg, but a face?  I just don't know.  Yours is so pretty.  That really is a great butterfly.

sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Tattoos are an interesting statement. I am old school and am not wild about tattoos. Tattoos are forever and in my youth were associated with sailors, labourers and prisoners. women with tattoos were "property" or ladies of the night. I know that has all changed now, but I still find it hard to shift my frame of reference. Nonetheless good hub. Well thought out and well written and I kind of like your tattoo.

profile image

ralwus 7 years ago

I concur with sos on this. I too like your body art. Now a body piercing hub must be probed.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I understand your sentiment. I wanted a tattoo from the time I was 11 years old -- I noticed that all of my grandma's friends who had them where full of life and funny. I knew what I wanted, but wasn't about to trust some unknown artist. A friend of mine got an absolutely beautiful one on a whim, so I visited the same artist.

R Burow profile image

R Burow 7 years ago from Florida, United States

Interesting hub. The tattoos all over the body, and especially the face bother me a bit. I would rather see the God given beauty of the mans face in the picture, rather than an artist rendition of beauty. Still it's his face. Maybe the tattoos over the face force us not to 'judge a book by its cover'. Thanks Kari for an interesting hub. You drove home the fact that a person should count the cost before making a decision on a tattoo, knowing that it is forever.

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

Your tattoo is great , love the tiger on the butterfly , it's so unusual.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Frieda, I could never tattoo my face. I need to keep them in places that no-one can see unless I want them to. Thank you for your comment on my butterfly, I love it!

sixtyorso, Thank you, that is probably the best compliment I could get! Tattoos are not for everyone, I agree. I can remember the days when they were only prison or laborers or "women of property". I think my parents were (probably) appalled when they found out. It was before tattoos became "skin art" in the popular world.

ralwus, Thank you so much! However, being I have no piercings someone else will have to write that hub. LOL, I have enough problem keeping my ears pierced to try any other type of piercing!

Ivorwen, So, I am assuming you got your tattoo. What is it? I trusted an artist on another's word...I think they did a pretty good job. Personally, I absolutely love it!

R Burow, I put the picture up, but I could never do that! Enough people still find tattoos offensive that I could never have one shown, especially as a nurse! That picture was to emphasize how you should never get a tattoo just to have one. It is something you need to plan and decide on...even more than a house. A house you can sell, a tattoo is forever!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Hawkesdream, Thank you so much! I knew the moment I saw it that it was the one for me. I love it also! :D

myra636 profile image

myra636 7 years ago from Viginia

my brother was the art canves in our family. I allways think ,how will it look at 81. I have seen some tattoos not pertty but one small one might not be bad just not for me

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I don't like tattooes but to each his own. My hubby has a good half dozen or so, and so did my Dad. Dad's were done in India during the second world war and Hubby had his when in his early teens. Good advice here about waiting until you are sure. Hubby's tats are now around 40 years old and some look out of place now plus the shape changes with you :)

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

myra, Your brother sounds like he has many. I agree tattoos are not for everyone!

ethel, Seems as if your hubby has enough for you and him! I admit, I am very picky, and when I first wanted a tattoo they didn't have laser removal. I had to be very, very sure it was something I could live with my entire life. That is also why I went for the shoulder blade. There is not too much change in size there throughout life. :D

Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

I have wanted tattoos in the past, but would not get one out of my Orwellian fear of the government and having an identifying mark. I now want one, but have yet to form the image of what it will look like.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Paper Moon, Take your time on deciding. The image will come to you, it did for me. One thing I forgot to mention, make sure you find a good artist when you have it done. Not everyone's skill level is the same. :D

Chris Eddy111 profile image

Chris Eddy111 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Gotta say I didn't think long and hard about mine.  I wanted it and did it.  I'm happy with mine.  The rule about names is good unless it's my kids. Good hub.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Chris, It's good to know that you found your's right away. When you find the right one, it will never take long to get it. I'm glad you are as happy as me! I never thought of kids when I said the name rule. Kids may be the ones that break the rule and thus prove it! Great Point! :D

Queen of the Lint profile image

Queen of the Lint 7 years ago from The Laundry Room

I have mixed feelings about tattoos. So my son (well, he is an adult) got one without telling me for quite awhile although everyone else knew because they are on Facebook. Anyway, his is a map of the world, on his shoulder and part of his back. I guess it's my fault for the fact that we lived in many places all over the planet, and visited many more. Or so he insists. Oh well, it is interesting.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Queen of the Lint, It is not, and never will be your fault! He made his own decision and now will have to live with it. When I first got mine, I was 30. LOL, it took me quite a few years to tell my parents, because I knew they would not approve! Could this be the same story? Definitely it is NOT your fault!

Artisan Walker profile image

Artisan Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I know everyone's getting Tribal ink right now, but some of them are really beautiful.

I totally agree with your "think long and hard" advice. I'd wanted a tattoo all my life, but never found anything I was sure I'd like having on my body for the rest of my life. Finally, at age 36, I knew what I wanted, so I designed it.

On my right outer-calf is my family crest, designed by yours truly and you'll never see it anywhere else. The wolf, dragon, owl and sword are representative of my heritages, and the roses are my immediate family. I posted in on "I, Drummer" (below the Comments capsule) after a couple hubbers wanted to see it.

Queen of the Lint profile image

Queen of the Lint 7 years ago from The Laundry Room

k@ri, thanks for the kind words. I didn't mean to make it sound like I felt guilty about something I did or didn't do, but I guess that's there! I mean, I always gave him plenty of paper and pencils and crayons and stuff so he didn't have to draw on himself. In fact, that's what I said when I found out. I guess technically he didn't draw on himself though.

Still, he loves the tattoo, and he is an adult (he was 22 when he got it I think).

My parents were less surprised and annoyed than I was. My dad said that he didn't know of many young people who didn't get some ink (he was trying to be hip or something) and for me to chill (still trying to be cool).

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Artisan, That is a beautiful tattoo! Looks like I should have had you design one for me! :D

Queen of the Lint, LOL, your Dad told you to chill? :D My parents would not say much now, they have seen mine...but before that???

Artisan Walker profile image

Artisan Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon


k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Your welcome, it is very nice! So, do you want to design me one? LOL, I wanted a mountain lion for my next...just haven't found it yet!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

badcompany, It's not a compliment, it's the truth! I'm sorry to hear about your head...if it sees my mind will you tell it to send it home! I'm glad you like my tattoo. :D

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