What I learned from getting my first tattoo: Don’t wait

Kristen Ed, Guest Columnist

About a week and a half ago, I did something I was adamantly against for the first 18 years of my life: I got a tattoo.

Actually, I got two tattoos. And so far, I couldn’t be happier with the decision.

I will admit that I used to be one of those people who stereotyped my tattooed peers as rebellious, attention-seeking or unfriendly. But since coming to college, I have met all sorts of people with tattoos that have been anything but those things.

So, due to many reasons, I had been seriously contemplating a tattoo for a little over a year.

Nevertheless, when I walked into a parlor with my boyfriend on fall break weekend to watch him get a tattoo, I was not expecting to walk out with two of my own.

Yet here I am, with five cats on my thigh and a heart on my hand.

While I have had a fiery desire to get inked for quite some time now, including having known my top two tattoo priorities for at least the past few months, I realized I had been holding off for the “perfect” time to get one—perhaps when I had fewer expenses to worry about, or when I had a job that would definitely not scorn me, or when I moved away from home (because my parents do not approve of tattoos).

But when I was in the parlor discussing my design ideas with the tattoo artist, a woman waiting for her appointment who we had been making small talk with told me, “If you know you want to get one, just do it now.”

And after my boyfriend finished getting his eighth tattoo, his artist said he could tattoo me within the next hour, if I wanted. I said yes. It was a high point in my life.

Ever since then, I’ve been in love with my tattoos.

In the week and a half that I have had two tattoos, I have learned many things.

For one, it is best to get a thigh tattoo when it is not so cold outside. I have been wearing shorts for many days now to avoid friction with clothing, and I only own so many pairs of knee-high socks to warm up my legs.

I also realized that I can and will take every opportunity to show off my tattoo—in my Snapchat stories, in my outfit choices, in my conversations with people I barely know. Every opportunity.

Further, I learned that everyone who has a tattoo, after learning I just got one, will give me advice on how to maintain it. Seriously, everyone. With all the tips I’ve been given lately, I feel like I know everything about tattoo care.

Another thing I learned is that it is hard to get a full night’s sleep when I subconsciously know I should not rub off the healing ointment with the blankets, bed sheets or other body parts. It is also hard to keep both my right leg and left hand off the sheets simultaneously.

But if there is one thing I am taking away from this experience above everything else, it is that there is no “perfect” time to get a tattoo as long as the design and location are decided. Otherwise, you will spend too much time waiting for an opportunity that might never come.

There is a natural worry that you may regret a tattoo in the future, but if these tattoos hold great importance at this time in your life, they will serve as a reminder of where you have been and the person you have become.

If you know you will get a tattoo eventually and have an idea you feel strongly about, just go for it. You will be glad you did.

Kristen Ed is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].