When I was 4 years old I use to go over to my Godparent’s house where I was babysat by their youngest son. He had tattoos all over his body and I decided right then and there that someday I was going to have a tattoo but it would have to be the perfect tattoo. I did not like some of the skulls and dragons my Godparents’ son had as his tattoos. I wanted something gorgeous, something unique.
Fast forward to grade 2 or 3: my class at school is at a tattoo exhibit at the old Edmonton Art Gallery. I remember seeing many beautiful tattoos of flowers, butterflies, women, and all kinds of symbols. Symbols that meant something to whomever had been the lucky or sometimes unlucky recipients of these tattoo stencils. Some of them went back to the 1700’s for sailors who had gotten tattoos back then. Some of these tattoos marked people as criminals.
In tattooing today, a thermal-fax makes a stencil of your tattoo and it is placed on the shaved area of your body that you would like your tattoo. Even the finest of hairs can get in the way of doing your tattoo. Deodorant or soap and water is used to push on the stencil and create a dark impression of the tattoo you are going to be getting on your body.
After, the tattoo artist prepares their tattoo machine. The inks will be placed in little tiny cups called ink caps and the needles and tubes will be removed for their ‘sterile’ pouches and placed in the machine. Clean and distilled water will also be placed into a cup for cleaning the needles during the tattoo process.
Next, a bit of ointment is placed on your tattoo to help the tattoo stencil stay on longer and to aid the needle in sliding across your
skin smoothly, which is definitely better for the person receiving the tattoo. The first few minutes of getting a tattoo are the painfullest and after that your skin gets use to the procedure. More people pass out from the idea of the needles on their skin then the pain of the real needles.
Once the stencil of your tattoo is filled in, the tattoo artist can go into detail with colors and shading. The needles used for color are called magnums or the tattoo artist may use a different machine altogether. After the tattoo artist will probably take a picture of the cleaned up tattoo for his or her portfolio. A bandage will be applied after some ointment and it is important that you take care of your tattoo according to the tattoo artists instructions (Hudson).
When I was 18 and a lot of my friends were getting their tattoos I hesitated. I just hadn’t found the right tattoo. It took me 10 years to do that. I was on Pinterest and came across this picture of these beautiful light watercolor flowers on a girl’s arm. “That’s my tattoo,” I remember thinking and I think that if I can handle the pain I will definitely get that tattoo. But now I am considering adding some color, maybe just pink all over the flowers.
Getting a tattoo is a difficult decision to make and many thoughts go into the process of getting a tattoo. Some of the people on Facebook who I asked to share their opinions with me on the subject said that “they need[ed] their tattoo[s] to mean something.” A couple of women also said that visibility was also something they thought about when they got their tattoos. They didn’t want their tattoos visible for special events or so that people got the wrong impression of them. A lot of people thought they were very cool but hesitated to get one because they thought they would get bored with them easily. Other people said that they used their tattoos as “a reminder of something important to motivate themselves” and that they used them as “stories” and “inspiration.” Still others were allergic to the tattoo ink and worried about the pain, not to mention, the price of getting a tattoo done. Someone also said that they didn’t want their tattoo too big so it was overwhelming. I really appreciated the help everyone gave me concerning deciding to get a tattoo done.
My consultation is next Monday and I’m anxious to hear what my tattoo artist has to say. Some of the things I am scared about is that my skin will be too sensitive or that I will be allergic to the ink. I am also scared I won’t be able to handle the pain for hours on end and that my tattoo will be too expensive. Although, most people I talked to thought it would take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on the skill of the tattoo artist. So here’s hoping everything turns out alright. What I am most thrilled about is that the picture I found will be something I will be proud to have on my body when I am 89 years old. It will be a memory of my youth. For me my tattoo will be a symbol of strength even in fragility.
You see we live in such frail human bodies that can get sick at the drop of a button. But our spirits endure long after our bodies are gone and God makes us stronger than we even thought possible in life. Our strength lies in our weaknesses in the most delicate parts of our lives, this is when we find what makes us strong, just as there is strength in a fragile flower.