My Tattoo Shop Experience

To be completely honest, I was not really planning on doing another post before the year was up. But listen up! It’s storytime with Kim!

If you follow me on any social media, you already know that I got a tattoo AND my ears repierced. I’m going to tell you about the tattoo first, and then I’ll talk about the ear piercing as well.

To make a long story short, I’ve been planning this tattoo out for about two years. I settled on my left arm pretty quickly. Originally, I was gonna do it on my wrist, but one of my friends has one near there and most other things I was seeing said that part of the body was extra painful. So I moved it back to my forearm. I also originally wanted to do it in white. However, I actually talked to a tattoo artist when my friend was getting one earlier this year. He said that white would be more difficult because it would fade a lot quicker. So I decided on my left forearm in black ink.

One last thing I did when I was deciding where to put the tattoo was to make a small purchase. I ordered an Inkbox. I don’t know how much you know about Inkbox, so I’ll explain it. It’s a temporary tattoo service that gets shipped to you. Each box comes with all the supplies you need, and instructions to apply it. They run about $20-30 including shipping. Most say they last about 8-18 days. They are similar to henna in that it takes a while for it to appear. They only run in black ink, and you can choose from pre-made designs or make your own. I really wanted to place it and work on covering it up, which I did. I loved my Inkbox, and it really helped me decide where I wanted my tattoo.IMG_20181130_143752690.jpg

As you can see from the picture, I got the word Love tattooed on me. I think now is a good time to talk about why I chose that as my first tattoo. It’s a pretty personal tattoo. There was a time in my life when I did not love myself, and because of that I had a hard time feeling that other people loved me too. My senior year of high school and all of college I have been working on discovering and loving myself. I have come so far, and I am so proud of who I am. I also chose this because I have friends who suffer with depression. A forearm is a popular spot to self-harm because of depression. So having the word “Love” on my forearm is a reminder to me to love everyone past the point of depression. I know I may not be able to help everyone with depression, but I can be there to remind them that someone DOES care. There’s a nonprofit group called To Write Love on Her Arms. They are about getting people help for depression, and I admire that so much. I would definitely recommend you checking them out!

Alright, so now that I’ve talked about my Inkbox and the meaning, time to talk about the actual tattoo itself! One of my goals this year was to get at least one tattoo. So I talked to my friend that I mentioned earlier, and she was ready to get another one as well. We both did some research on artists, and settled on ones we liked at the same shop. Fortunately, their schedules overlapped for one day, so we went in to schedule on the 21st. We were able to get our tattoos scheduled for the same time the next Friday, the 28th.
The day arrived for us to get our tattoos. We ate beforehand (as you’re supposed to) and headed to the shop. Along the way, I got a phone call. Because I was driving and it was a number I only kind of recognized, I didn’t answer it. So we get to the shop early, and that turned out to be a great thing. Apparently, my tattoo artist did not show up that day. (The call that I got was the shop calling me that my artist wasn’t there). My friend’s artist asked what I wanted, and when I told him, he goes, “Oh, I can do that.” So he copied our ID’s, drew out my friend’s design, and gave us paperwork to fill out. He asked who was going first, and I said I wanted to because mine was shorter.
He spent some time preparing for my tattoo– filling up the ink, making sure everything was clean, etc. He drew the word out on my arm in a light purple Sharpie. Then, when I was satisfied with it, he drew over it in red Sharpie. Then came tattoo time. It definitely hurt. I can’t even lie to you. However, it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I expected. I was expecting it to be the worst pain I have ever felt. It wasn’t. That is, until he got to the lower loop of the L. That hurt the most. I think that was also closer to a nerve too. But I managed not to cry out because I knew I was doing okay. I was able to talk to my friend and listen to the music playing in the shop and look at the stuff on the walls.
The entire tattoo process took about 15 minutes. I watched him do most of it. Again, it was painful, but it was also pretty fascinating. When he finished, he cleaned it off and bandaged it to protect it. Then, he started setting up for my friend’s tattoo. Her tattoo was much more intricate than mine was, and she needed lots of colors. I think it took him as long to set up for my friend’s tattoo as it did for him to tattoo my arm. So we switched places. She got in the tattoo chair, and I was in the guest chair.

Since we were already at the tattoo place, I wanted to get my ears pierced too. But before I can continue with the current story, I need to back up to when I was little. I had my ears pierced when I was small. However, I HATE my ears being touched. I distinctly remember being on the couch of our old house while my mom was either trying to switch out or rotate my earrings and I was screaming like she was trying to murder me!! So I let my holes close up. But I have been talking about getting my ears repierced since high school, but I’ve always found reasons not to do it (Again, hate my ears being touched).  But that changed this year.
Last year, my dad’s family started doing a secret Santa. This way we could buy gifts for just a few people (based on family) or a single gift instead of buying for like 15 people. We continued that this year. Well, in this group, we have a couple small children (8 and 3) who are included in this group. The 8 year old ended up drawing my name. One of my gifts was a movie that I didn’t have. The other gift was from those like Christmas shops that come to elementary schools. It was a pair of earrings. They look like Christmas sweaters, and they have snowmen on them! They are probably the cutest pair of earrings I have ever seen, and I love them. But when I opened them, my heart broke because my ears weren’t pierced. I was told that the child picked them out for me. Listen, I don’t know about any of you, but I am not about to disappoint an 8 year old child who goes through the trouble of picking out a pair of earrings just for me. So, in essence, that was the final push that I needed to convince me to get my ears pierced.
Anyway, back to the tattoo shop. I had left you with my friend in the tattoo chair and me in the guest chair. So the artist transfers the design onto my friend’s skin and does some preliminary sketching in areas he needed to fix. Then he started tattooing her. Since hers was so much more detailed and intricate than mine, I knew I had time to wait. I stayed with her through all of the initial line work. She’s had tattoos before and has actually gotten tattoos by herself. I stayed with her for a little bit of the initial shading. Then, I went to the piercing counter. I had to wait for a little bit. Finally, the piercer asked me if I had been helped and I told him I hadn’t. He asked what I wanted and I told him I wanted my lobes pierced. He said I had a couple of people in front of me, so I had to wait for a bit, which was fine. I went back to my friend (she was in the back room) and stayed with her for a bit. From where I was, I could see the piercing room clearly, so I kept an eye on it.
Once the door opened, I went back out to the front. The guy finished up with the person before me; he then took my ID for another copy and gave me some more paperwork to fill out. We then talked about what kind of an earring I wanted. He mentioned a couple of rings, but those seemed difficult to take out. He even compared them to a Chinese puzzle because they can be hard to learn at first. Another option was a stud, but I would have had to be extra careful with those cause those could come apart pretty easily. The third option was a titanium barbell. These are super easy to remove. You just grab both ends and pull straight. That is what I ended up choosing.
We went into the piercing room, and it felt more like a doctor’s office than a tattoo shop. I sat on a bed/chair like thing that you’d probably find in a doctor’s office. There was a sink and not much of the artwork in the rest of the shop. The piercer cleaned the earrings and my earlobes. He marked the spot on my ears. He had to center the left ear one a little more, but the right ear was right on the old hole. He did the left ear first. He had me look to the right and braced the needle and equipment against my ear. To make it even more like a doctor’s office, he told me to take deep breaths that he could hear. As I exhaled, he pierced my ear. It hurt kind of bad, but I had just gotten a tattoo, so it wasn’t terrible. Then he put the jewelry in. It was then time for the right ear. I mentioned earlier that the right ear was marked over my old piercing that had closed up. It was the same procedure. I looked to the left and he prepared the equipment in the same way. Same procedure: deep breaths enough to be audible. Again, as I exhaled, he pierced my ear. This was THE WORST PAIN I experienced the entire night. Since the right piercing was going through my old hole, it was going through scar tissue. It almost brought me to tears and made me scream. And yes, the tattoo was the same night. I would take the tattoo (even the most painful part) over the right ear piercing.

I finished up with the piercer, and went back to my friend. She was still being tattooed, but the artist had moved on to color. He finished up about 25-30 minutes later, we paid, and were the last customers to leave the shop.

Overall, it was a painful trip, but I understand why people get more than one tattoo. I have a few others planned out as well, but we’ll see when I get those. I’ve been taking care of them so well these past couple of days, and will continue to do so. I’m so excited to end 2018 with both a tattoo and my ears pierced! It was a great way to end my year and get ready for the next! Bring it on, 2019!

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