Almost 18 years ago I walked into a tattoo shop near my apartment at the time and pointed at a design of a dragon on the wall and said…”I want that one!”
That quick and impetuous decision ended up haunting my personal style for years to come. It left me with a tattoo that I regretted for almost 20 years. When I looked in the mirror that day, I know I had made an unquestionably bad decision.
From that day forward, I never wore sleeveless tops again! I remember the day I had had enough. I was a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. I paid the makeup artist extra to cover that misfortunate situation up. Nothing about that tattoo made any sense. And what was worst…as the years skedaddled along, it was no longer a dragon slapped dead center of my arm–it resembled a salamander, or a black panther, or the Geico Insurance mascot (cues tears and violins)!
After years of thought and toggling with those thoughts, I decided to get it covered up. I thought about getting it removed via laser. I’ve even had companies approach me f0r complimentary sessions. But I’ve grown to love tattoos and what they can represent…if chosen correctly.
My besties got her tattoo at Saints And Sinners in Baltimore and even though I searched for shops in New York, my soul knew that my tattoo was awaiting me back home.
When I arrived at the shop the Scorpio in me was still unsure. When they told me that my cover up wasn’t as difficult as I thought, my mind went from elephants, to a phoenix, to a bunch of random flowers to a combination of the three. Le sigh.
I originally wanted to get a Ganesha–the elephant headed Hindu God of success and remover of obstacles. But those human eyes and ten different arms totes freaked me out. Something about having eyeballs on your body just seems wrong!
I still loved the sight of elephants though. They’ve always been my favorite animal at the circus. And then I thought, OMG, I cannot have a circus animal on my arm. You see my dilemma.
The artist, Dwaine, was really patient with my lack of decision making. I told him I didn’t want it to look like Barney or something out of Ringling Bros. It had to be the perfect balance of femininity, strength, and grace.
Nearly three hours later and “Ella” was born. I had to name her. For one, it was like giving birth. This shit hurts! Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. But if you’ve got enough nerve to sit down and let the first stroke of the needle hit your skin, there’s no turning back. Besides, I am not a quitter I eat all my food (inside joke between me and Dwaine).
The fresh lines of my tatt have worn off but I love her just the same.
When selecting your tattoo shop and design here are a few tips:
- Don’t go into the shop and point at a tattoo and say, “I want that one!” Make sure you take a few days, months, or even years to get your mind right.
- Just wait until you are 25 to get your first tattoo. I feel like at 25 you are more prone to make a better life decision than at 18?!
- When you finally figure out what you want, pick an artist you don’t mind talking to for hours. You’re gonna be there for a while.
- Or bring headphones. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, that needle noise is just the worst sound on this earth!
Now that my bad decision has been fixed, it’s your turn to share your story! If you liked this post you can thank me by leaving a comment or sharing this post on social media.