Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tattoo you

My left leg as of 4/22/13, it's not finished yet.
I have tattoos. I love my tattoos. I know a lot of people have strong opinions on tattoos, I have strong opinions on tattoos, people also tend to have a lot of questions. I'd like to adress some of those...

Does it hurt to get a tattoo? Yes. I mean, come on! You're having a cluster of vibrating needles raked across your skin. Of course it's not going to be all butterfly kisses and sunshine. But the pain varies from person to person, artist to artist, and location to location.  For me, some locations don't really hurt at all. You can't see it on these pictures, but I have Jabba's palace on the front of my shin, that was barely more than a tickle. In comparison, when my artist was inking the back of my kneecap I wanted to stab him in the eye with his own tattoo machine. I'm pretty sure I told him so repeatedly. I routinely consider that it might be less painful to saw off my leg than let him complete the death star (which is now just an outline). He mostly just laughs at me and reminds me that I am paying him to torture me.

Isn't it expensive to get tattoos? If you're doing it right, it usually is. Take a stroll through Ugliest Tattoos, they will often do a side-by-side of good tattoos and bargin tattoos. You'll want the good ones. Just like any other discretionary spending (movies, eating out, clothing, decorative yarn balls) tattoos are something that should be budgeted and planned for. I'm not going to tell you how much my leg has cost so far. But I will say, you might prefer a trip to Disney. But although it may be pricey, it's also really damn addictive. I already have ideas for my next piece (hockey related!) for once my leg is finally done.

I drew the turtle, panda, and clover myself.
The color is more vibrant in person
I like tattoos, I just don't know what I would get, and I wouldn't want to regret getting something dumb. Ok. Good for you? I never know what to say to that, and people say it to me all the time. I'm not a tattoo pusher. I don't care if you stay ink free forever. I don't regret any of mine, they all have meaning to me. The clover I got because of my family's Irish heritage (it was my first, say tramp stamp and I'll cut you stare at you angrily), the turtle I got to remember the first days of my daughter Kaylee's life, the panda I got for Dani's. The Minnesota ties them together and there because I'm so happy to live here and proud to raise my family here. I have a tattoo on my wrist to celebrate my marriage to Ethan. And my leg is covered in Star Wars. Because I just fucking love Star Wars. All of them (except the wrist) were thought out and carefully planned, and there's no point in having regrets about something I did to my own body. The Thought Monkey is kind enough to save my regrets for other things.

But what's it going to look like when you're oldI have no idea. I'm guessing it'll look like old people skin with a tatto on it. I wasn't planning on starting a geriatric modeling career, so I don't think it's a big deal.

I may have been slightly drunk
when I got this one. Don't do that.
What tips would you give to somebody who was thinking about getting their first tattoo? Find a great tattooist from a reputable shop. The shop I got to, Electric Dragonland, has a bunch of bad ass artists. Check out their work, go in and talk to them about your ideas. Don't go with the first shop you see just because it's close to your favorite bar. Find somebody who does quality work. Then really think through your idea. Talk with your artist about it. Don't just walk in and pick a piece of flash off the wall. Those are tattoos people tend to regret (I'm told, none of mine are flash. No, not even the clover.) Think about placement. Can you cover it up for a job interview? Is that important to you? Will it stretch like crazy if you get knocked up? Do you care it it does? Most importantly take your time and enjoy the process. Getting a tattoo can be an awesome experience. I'm going back to the shop this week and I can't wait.


  1. My husband has two tattoos, one on each arm. No one minds them, though he has moments when he says if he could go back in time he'd change some things. The important thing for him was to cover them, should he want to, and with a tee shirt he can cover them. No big deal to me, either way.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  2. That's a massive tattoo on your leg!! And it's super cool!!! I've been thinking of getting a tattoo for a long time but I actually don't think I'll ever get around to do it. I was thinking a mandolin or a volkswagen beetle, the later as a tribute to my dad who died too young.

    1. That's a sweet thought. I like tattoos that are tributes, especially that are symbolic rather than literal (like the VW rather than his name or picture)

  3. Hey Alison,
    So nice to finally meet you! I've seen your great comments on my blog, but with co-host duties, haven't made it to your house yet...and when I get here, you're on one of my fave topics! I love ink. Yours rocks. LOVE Star Wars, too.
    So far, I have one tattoo, a 4" diameter sunflower on the outside of my ankle, with a vine that wraps around, and into the vine he worked my boys initials. If you put sunflower in my search box, you'll find my ode to all things sunflower and at the end are pictures of me getting inked.
    It was a hoot reading your answers to the typical questions - yes, it hurts. Have you ever accidentally bumped your Achilles tendon? Ok, now put buzzing needles there, or on that round part of your ankle...
    I love my artist. I found him because he has done a bunch of my friend's work and I begged him to do a small tattoo like mine. He usually does repair work or giant body parts with multiple sessions. He agreed. People who know tattoos recognize a good artist and the fact that my vine has four color of green, and the flower, 4 shades of yellow and orange..and see, this is why I don't get very far in my visiting. I write long comments...sigh.
    Glad to tweet this post for you. Not writing anymore of the posts at the A-Z blog or I'd give you a shout -out there too!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

    1. Thanks for coming by. I'm sure you organizers are super busy (actually I didn't realize you were one until today. haha). Oh yes, the achilles tendon was so so painful, and I still have some work to do around there, but lucking it's all background and no more line work. Yeoch! I'll have to head back to your blog and look for your sunflower post. :)

  4. I have a tattoo, which was my reward to myself when I made my first (and, okay, so far only) major magazine sale. I have often thought about getting more tattoos. My favorite thing is the what will it look like when you're old thing--as though un-inked old people skin is beautiful to behold. Actually, old people skin is sort of beautiful in its way--as a monument to decades of life. In that light, tattoos (even saggy, wrinkly ones) are just another part of a the story.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. PS--The name of your tattoo shop reminded me of an experience one of my son's friends had with his first tattoo from a shop called The Pink Armadillo. I blogged about it (of course I did): http://maskedmom.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-it-got-here-i-havent-clue.html#comment-form

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