July 17, 2011

Tattoo Considerations and Stories

So! Since high school, I have been considering Getting A Tattoo. The problem with this is that I remember clearly the tattoo I would have gotten if I'd gotten one in high school: a Winnie the Pooh. On my ankle. I KNOW. I'd recently won a speech contest by doing a Winnie the Pooh story monologue, and it would have been Classic Pooh rather than Disney Pooh, but whatever.

This has made me very, very uncertain about EVER getting a tattoo, because that was ME at 16, and so perhaps "Me at 50" will be looking back at "Me in My Mid-Thirties" and thinking "OMG, Winnie the Pooh would have been WAY BETTER."


Here are the things I think are important:

1. It has to be something I will identify with FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Winnie the Pooh = no. My children = yes. Paul = not necessarily. (If he were to cheat on me and then leave me for someone else, I would not be happy to have him permanently on my skin.)

2. It needs to be in that Perfect Location of hideable + showable. That is, I need to be able to easily hide it if I want to, and I'd like to be able to fairly easily show it if I want to---even to a casual acquaintance who has not plied me with drinks. Upper arm? Shoulder blade? Ankle? I've heard ankles are Very Owie.


What I'm currently considering is a fox. (My current favorite is here: fox saying "WHAT.") We found out awhile back that my family-of-origin surname is fox-based, and ever since then I've found I have an increased affection for fox-related merchandise. Plus, foxes are cute. I'm thinking of this for the upper arm.

Second possibility: children's names and birthdates. But perhaps you have noticed that I have a lot of children. That is a lot of real estate to consider, location-wise. And there is the font to endlessly dither over consider. So I think that would be a nice SECOND tattoo, probably shoulder-blade area. Except then I can't see it. But I'm not sure where else to put it. Make them small and put them on the OTHER upper arm, maybe.


And then there is the TIMING to think of. It would be pleasing to get it for a Milestone Birthday, but I'm too far from both 35 and 40. And I can't think of any other milestones. So then...a random Tuesday?


What I think I like BEST about tattoos is tattoo STORIES. So if you have a tattoo, would you be willing to tell me any of the following things:
  • what it is
  • how/why you chose it
  • where it is
  • how/why you chose the location
  • whether there was any significance to the timing
  • how long it's been since you got it and how you feel about it now
  • what you're glad you considered
  • what you wish you'd considered

And could you also try to tell me how much it hurt? and whether I'd be allowed to bring a flask?

113 comments:

Jana said...

1. A red tulip.
2. Tulips are my favorite flowers.
3. On my upper hip.
4. I was teaching at the time and couldn't have any visible tattoos. And it felt kind of naughty to have it there.
5. I got it 12 years ago and other than having it a bit distorted by baby weight gain and some questions about it from my children at uncomfortable moments (like in front of my parents), I'm still fine with it.
6. Location - I can show it to people if I want to, but otherwise they have no clue that I have one.
7. The actual tattoo. I still would have gotten a tulip, but I think I would have "shopped around" a bit more for a design I liked better.

Megan said...

My friend has the best tattoo ever. I love everything about it. I have no tattoos, but seriously, if I get one it'd be very similar to hers. It is in what I think of as a questionable location...the very lower back.

I like that area for a tree, though. I'm big on the tattoo working with the body and muscles in that area. A tree in the lower small of your back is so pretty. Not so low that it grows out of your butt, but a little up from there. I've asked my friend to send me a pic, which I will forward to you. It is such a great tattoo.

Really I think this is a great location for a tattoo, but now people call them tramp stamps and whatnot, so I don't know how you'd feel about that. Anyway, the tattoo is all black and is of a tree. I honestly can't remember why it was special to her (just sent her an e-mail), but it might be a nice thought for you as a symbol of your family, branches for kids and whatnot.

Michelle Lester Bell said...

I have two tattooes, both located on the inner portion of my wrist. They are both easily hidden by long sleeves, but are easily accessible so they feel decorative. The left wrist has a stylised Japanese crest of a pansy, which is the flower of freethought. It reminds me not to take other people's bullshit too seriously (a must when working with doctors, even if I'm planning on becoming one myself!), and also is a subtle acknowledgment that I'm an atheist/secular humanist/whatever you wanna call me. Plus, you know, left hand = devil's path and all that jazz.

On my right wrist, I have a wisteria (again, stylised and a wee bit abstract), because it means "welcome". I've been lucky enough to make my life's work tied into welcoming babies into families in various ways, mostly through doula work.

I'm very glad I got these, as even if I don't ever attend another birth ever again, it's a lovely reminder of the 68 families I've helped over the last three years.

It wasn't particularly painful, although I did have a couple of spots where I had to do deep breathing and some mindfulness to get through it. I also have a kind of crippling fear of needles, so that may have played a part in how I was reacting, as well.

Mine are almost all black and white, with a little bit of yellow. The yellow fades quickly, so I don't know if I would do that again. The black has stayed nice and sharp over the past five years.

Hillary said...

I grew up around tattoos, so while I knew from an early age that tattoos were important things that you did NOT get on a whim, they also seemed like no big thing. Like something you just did when you were an adult.

I have two tattoos. Both small and hideable.

I got my first at 18, right before I graduated high school. My mom and my aunt, both tattooed, went with me, taking me to the same woman who did most of my family's tattoos. Lynn at Moving Pictures Studios. Funny I still remember that. Anyway, I got a ladybug -- they're good luck and I love them -- with the words, "Carpe Diem," framing it. It's on my stomach, towards my left him. It did not really hurt. It felt like a bee sting without the sting, just the pinch. My mom question the words, but my justification was that even at 90 I would need to be seizing something, even if it was just the handicap bar in the bathroom. (I distinctly remember using those words.) (Silly sidenote: The piercing guy in the shop that day was hot, so I also walked away with my navel pierced. Totally regretted that decision, but still love my tattoo.)

My second tattoo I got on a whim in college. A friend wanted a tattoo and wanted me to go with her and get one for moral support. Because I knew tattoos, I didn't entirely trust the tattoo parlor in our college town. It seemed clean, but not the kind of place that produced artsy, well-drawn tattoos. Plus, I was a broke college student. So, I opted for something small -- a four-leaf clover (lucky again) on my lower back on my right side. Don't regret it, but don't really think about it much because I don't see it.

I've been hemming and hawing about getting another one for years, but can't decide what. I really would like to have one on the inside of my forearm, but I worry that's too visible.

Suzanne said...

Oh oh oh oh!! Me me me me!! I actually have FOUR tattoos, all gotten after my teenage years. And I know this might make me a jerk but rather than write them ALL OUT AGAIN, I am just going to leave you a link to my blog where I have pictures and stories for all of them:
http://bebehblog.com/twitter-tat-tour/

And a few more thoughts:
I wish I had stuck to more simple, less colorful tattoos at the beginning and maybe added color later.

Have you considered doing your children's birthdates in some sort of code? It doesn't have to be LITERALLY code (although doing 1's and 0's for binary would be awesome, says my geek side) but you could do Roman numerals or braille or something else that can be shrunk down. As an example, Angelina Jolie has the latitude and longitude for each of her kid's birth locations.

In order of most painful to least painful, my tattoos are lower back, ankle, inside wrist and rib cage. I think ankle is definitely do-able.

nonsoccermom said...

I currently have one tattoo - a fleur-de-lis on the inside of my left wrist that I got about 3 years ago. I like it, but if I had it to do over I'd change the style of it a little, maybe add color. And I don't really have a great story as to WHY I got it - much of my family is from Louisiana...my husband and I took a phenomenal vacation to Paris a while back...but the truth is I just like it. What I tell people now, though - the fleur-de-lis is a mark of royalty and I'm nothing if not a princess. They seem to accept that! :)

I'm currently working to get my husband on board with my idea for a second tattoo. Like you, I wanted it to be something with meaning and particularly about my kids. So I'm planning to get their birth flowers (September is the aster, for my son and December, narcissus for my daughter) along my right rib cage, from about bra line to my hip. It will be big, but colorful and MEANINGFUL. Not to mention, usually hidden but also easily displayed if I so choose. I can't WAIT. I just wish my husband was as excited as I am...I'm hoping to get him on board by my next birthday (33, but eh. Don't want to wait until 35).

As for the pain - I hear the rib cage is about the most painful, but I have a freakishly high pain tolerance so actually look forward to it in a weird sort of way. Just to see if I can handle it, I guess. My wrist tattoo didn't hurt much at all, just a bit of stinging that was easily taken care of with a margarita afterwards!

Good luck, can't wait to hear/see what you decide!

Kate said...

Yay, this is one of my favorite topics! So I have two tattoos but I'll tell you about the most recent one:

- It's a looping string, but when asked I say it's a "narrative thread."

- I chose it based on my writing and research, but you can read a little more about the quotes and words that inspired it here.

- It's on the inside of my left wrist (photos in the above link). It's visible at almost all times, which made me nervous at first but in the end I love it.

- I had always envisioned it being on my wrist, especially as it's related to writing. With that in mind my right wrist (I'm right handed) would have made more sense, but in my mind's eye it was always on the left. It's a small and simple design so this location fits.

- I actually just got it in May and I still love it.

- I considered getting it for the past four years, ever since I finished writing my dissertation, which is what inspired it. Over the years the idea for it kept getting more and more simplified and abstract, which I am really happy about. My original, more complicated idea would still have been nice, but I'm glad I let it simmer in my mind for a while.

- Right now I'm 100% happy and I can't think of anything I would do differently.

- It hurt, more than I anticipated. My first tattoo (from when I was 18; it's between my shoulder blades) also really hurt a lot. In my opinion it always hurts more than you think, but the pain is temporary and completely worth it.

I love your fox idea -- so cute and significant for you, too. I think arm or shoulder would be perfect for it.

Tess said...

1 and 3. I have Ichthys (Ichthyi?) in black ink encircling my ankle.
2. I am Christian, and it is a symbol I really identify with. I like the origin and it is not as obvious as a cross.
4. I put them on my ankle because like you, I wanted something I could easily hide and easily show if needed. Also, I wanted to put it on a part of my body that would not change much with time (gravity).
5. I got it the day after my 18th birthday, so almost 10 years ago now. I still look at it and love it and would like to get another (It is the only one I have). I work in an office environment and it is easily hidden with pants or pantyhose. I do not have one regret about getting it.
6. I am glad I considered where to get it because parts of my body have changed with childbirth and weight gain/loss, but my ankle has not changed and my tattoo still looks good.
7. I really don't have anything I wish I considered. My husband does not like tattoos, and he really does not like it, but he has gotten used to it. I did not really think of my future husband at the time, but he married me anyway so it is a non-issue.
Good luck with your choice, that fox is cute!

Michelle S said...

I have 2:

1. Celtic rune on the back of my neck and music notes on my left foot, along the side/bottom.
2. 1st one on neck - wanted it and when I got divorced I got it. 2nd one is the notes to a line in Billy Joel's "Lullabye," which was a special song between my father and I. So in memoriam for him.
Both areas were chosen for hideability, but I like the foot one better because I can show it off in flip flops and see it myself. It's been 7 years for the neck one and 1 year for the foot one and I still love them both.
Pic of my foot: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.131181493918.107337.581153918&l=f5fbbe9f04

I am glad I put one in a visible place and NOT an area subject to Unfortunate Sagging With Time.

Nellyru said...

I have a sun above my butt. (You know, a "tramp stamp.") I got it over 15 years ago. At the time, I had never seen anyone with a tattoo there, and neither had any of artists or customers at the shop. I thought it was the ideal place because it is easily concealed, yet shows easily when I was in attire was tattoo appropriate. And also because I like symmetry. Apparently, a whole lot of other girls ended up liking this spot as well.
I chose a sun because my brother got the exact same one (he designed it- but got it on his thigh) the year before. He really wanted me to get one, too. I was being wishy-washy and couldn't decide and ended up not getting one. Sadly, he was killed in a car accident. I got the tattoo shortly after that. It means so very much to me and I am quite certain I will always love it dearly. It bums me out a little that the location has become such a cheesy one, but I wouldn't change it.
It hurts, but in an annoying, pinchy type way. Like, if someone was pinching you really, REALLY hard...you'd want to smack at them and probably swear at them while you were smacking them, but you can't because, you know, that would probably really mess up the design. (also, don't drink...you'll have more of a bleeding tendency while they're drawing on you.)

Megan said...

Also, I really like the Fox idea. I just saw a red fox on the side of the road (ALIVE! Thriving and being foxy!) and they are such pretty animals. I about wrecked the car being all "KIDS!!!! LOOKA!!! FOXXXX!!." Glad I didn't actually wreck.

Katie said...

Alright! I don't even know why I'm commenting because I have no tattoos and don't plan to get any either! I just KNOW I would end up regretting/hating something. I look back on fashion or home decor or glasses or hairstyles or
That favorite purse from a decade ago and I totally cringe...... I know it's not the same but....it keeps me from wanting to do it I guess. That, and I sometimes think thu just look like bruises or injuries at first glance.....

With that said, if I ever decided to get one it would be on my hip. Covered by underwear and swim suits. I guess what's the point if no one sees it? Aaaaaaand now you see why I am un-inked!

meanliving said...

I have a brightly-colored gecko on my upper outer thigh (not quite hip)--low enough that its tail hangs out if I'm wearing short shorts (or if medium-length ones get yoinked up when I am sitting).

I got it for my 16th birthday, from my dad. He has several tattoos and used to sell body piercing jewelry so was not outright opposed to the idea when I started thinking about getting one. He made me draw a rough approximation of what I wanted ON the place that I wanted for about three months. At first I wanted a stylized (tribal, in this case) black rose (seriously, it wasn't as ugly as it sounds) on my upper arm. But having it there in marker for so long made me think of wearing sleeveless gowns and such as an adult, so I lost interest in having it in that location.

I then saw a tattoo in a magazine (body piercing jewelry industry, remember) of an gecko that was brightly-colored but also armored, kind of like an armadillo. I really liked that so moved away from the rose. I didn't draw this one on, at least not for very long, but decided that on my upper thigh would be an ideal spot for it.

When I got it done, the artist chose to not do the armored finish and opted for spots and a more realistic look, which in retrospect I don't like as much. The "armored gecko" thing appeals to me in my over-thinking kind of way because I sometimes wish that I was tougher. But being short and roundish and blonde/blue means I will never be perceived as being tough, no matter what armor I put on. About as intimidation as a gecko, is what I'm saying.

I've been thinking about getting my rose tattoo when I go on vacation this year (tattoo as souvenir, even though it has nothing to do with the vacation locale), except I'll probably put it on my wrist. I haven't decided if the (mostly round) design will go on my outer or inner wrist. And it won't be a tribal black thing, but probably a Union/Tudor Rose.

And even though I've gone on forever here, I wanted to mention too that it seems like less of a Very Important Decision in adulthood. It's not that I won't grow and change and whathaveyou anymore, but it seems like I am a fully formed human now, whereas the same could not be said of my 16yo self.

meanliving said...

I just re-read the beginning of that long annoying post of mine and realize that when I said "from my dad" it sounds like he was the artist. No. He took me in and signed off on it and paid for it. Dad don't draw.

Tess said...

Oh, also! The ankle did hurt, but mostly just on the bone in the back. It was bearable and temporary. I would do it again without hesitation!

Joanne said...

I am going to tell you about my husband's tattoo, I don't have one. The only one I'd ever get is permanent eyeliner and I am scared. Anyways, he has the logo of his baseball team, in black, on his upper arm. He got it in 2005, because that's the year they won the world series. We got married in 2004 and he always said he'd get the tattoo if they won the series, but they hadn't won in like 100 years, so I just figured it would make me seem flexible without me having to actually BE flexible. Anyway, he has no regrets. I think it was a little burnier than he thought it would be, but he was fine after like a day. It's not too big, maybe 2.5 inches tall? He's happy with it and I am too. I wish you could do some binary number thing for your kids' birthdays that somehow involved .333 but I am a bitch like that.

Bitts said...

I have one on my right hip/upper tush. It's a bible verse (Romans 8:28) with a stylized cross silhouette behind it. It has not fared so well with the passage of time (age/childbirth), but I still love it. I just wish I had gotten it in a different location. For my second one, i've designed an image that uses one child's first initial with an object representing the other child. I want it on my wrist I think. Can't wait to see what you decide to do, swistle!

Nellyru said...

Man, you would think I've never proofread anything before. Between typing without an actual keyboard and the weird things auto-correct does it's a wonder it's readable at all...geez. Sorry.

Kristina said...

Ooooh I LOVE this topic. And I mostly love it because people are SO polarized about it. It seems like people either love 'em or hate 'em. And I also love to hear the stories. One of my favorite stories I heard on one of those tattoo shows. A girl got a tattoo on the top of her foot and it was lyrics to a song her brother wrote right before he died. It looked really, really cool.

I have one. It's on my ankle, mostly b/c I wanted it somewhere I could see, but could cover if need be. And that wouldn't be affected too much by time.

It's an alligator with a cross behind it. My brother was killed in a car accident 5 years ago. His name was Nathan and when he was little we always called him Nater-Gator, and it stuck. It's just plain black.

I got it about 4 years ago and I love it. I've never second-guessed it. My only "regret" is that I didn't notice in the sketch that the tail sits in front of the bottom of the cross and doesn't wrap around it like I had envisioned, so my only advice would be to get the picture and look at it for a few days, just to make sure you're not missing some small detail.

The pain wasn't that bad at all. If you've had kids, it'll be nothing. I mean, it's surely not FUN, but totally bearable.

I'm going to get another one, something with my kids too, but I'm not sure what and I'm always looking for ideas. I think it'll probably be on my wrist, so that I can see it and I like them there.

I've also recently come across a verse in the bible that spoke to me loud and clear so I'm thinking of incorporating that somehow.

Keep us updated?

Alicia said...

I have one but plan to get more. (I live in a city that is very tattoo-heavy, so it's not a big deal, even working in a professional environment.) The planning is very important to me - and I have 4 kids, so not a lot of time - so it's taking me awhile.

1. A very simple line puzzle my dad showed me when I was little. He told me he'd tell me how to solve it when I turned 18, but he died when I was 11, so I never found out how to solve.

2. Represents the worst, most important event in my life, and the fact that it's never really been resolved.

3. left forearm

4. Really, I just wanted it there, but I also liked the idea of working the puzzle when I was bored. It's at exactly the right spot for me to write on my left arm (I'm right-handed).

5. Two years. I love it. It's hand-drawn, so it's got just the right amount of imperfection. The only thing I don't like is that I got it colored yellow (my dad's favorite color), and everyone thinks it's a yellow brick road (you'd have to see it, but it basically looks like 5 yellow bricks).

6. I thought long and hard about it, and this was exactly what I wanted for my first tattoo. It HAD to be something in memory of my dad, and this was the perfect thing.

7. I APPEAR to have a high pain tolerance, but for some reason, it HURT LIKE A BITCH. I was surprised by that. Not that I wouldn't do it again, but I really didn't expect it to hurt so bad. I'm planning on more, and the pain expectation is actually driving part of the location decision, which I never thought would be true.

My next will probably be something from The Little Prince. There is one I really love that I've found online (has the fox too!)... I would share here, but the URL is way too long. My favorite book... Makes me cry every time, kinda represents what it means to be alive to me... I used a quote from it as the dedication in my dissertation. Plus, great, simple illustrations.

I've also considered ones for my kids and spouse. I hear you on the spouse issue, but we've been together 15 years, so I figure even if he cheats and leaves me for someone else, he has been a huge part of my life. Plus, he's my kids' father. ANNND. I would never get anything like a NAME or something. For him, I'm thinking of a Moebius strip... Is really just a cool thing, and also happens to look like an 8... We were married on 8/8/98...

For my kids, two of my boys happen to have names that are also mythological creatures (Kieran and Griffon). Those would be obvious, but I think I'd like the LOOKS of them, so I don't know. My daughter is very arty and drew a fantastic robot when she was 3 or 4 that I've always just LOVED. I had it up in my office, actually, until a few weeks ago when I realized it was fading from the sun. I might get that. But then I don't know. For my last baby, Archer, I've thought about getting something to represent the Golden Archer, which is this statue on the Texas State Fairgrounds. It's an archer with a bow but no arrow. It represents peace and would also represent where we're from. And, of course, my child. The obvious name ones are a little too obvious, though, so I don't know.

I will go with The Little Prince next, and I trust that the others will reveal themselves to me over time.

Yo-yo Mama said...

I don't have any because my husband would divorce me if I did (even though the other day he thought it'd be cool to have one on/around my cancer surgery scar..??), BUT I think an upper arm, half-sleeve, is actually a great place for hiding/showing. Unless you're working for Coyote Ugly, work attire will always cover it but how easy to lift up the sleeve of your blouse to show it off, right??

Inner wrists are OK, but much harder to hide.

I have instantaneous judgement over any tattoo I see on the ankle or shoulder blade. It just has a completely different connotation to me, but I can't explain why. An upper arm tattoo just seems way hipper and more chic on a woman.

Alicia said...

Oh, P.S. This is maybe my favorite tattoo ever (read the explanation in the pink box below):

http://www.contrariwise.org/2010/05/28/i-go-back-to-may-1937/

GORGEOUS!

Luck o' the Irish said...

I have a cosmos flower with purple shamrocks on either side of it on my left inner ankle. It hurt (took about 35 minutes maybe), but I also wanted visibility but easy to hide (I work in IT, in cube land), and I also wanted something that wouldn't totally be affected by time. It's been 5 years, and I love it. It's to honor my best friend since 7th grade who died when we were 23 (I'm 38 now). It reminds me that she went through a lot in life (after surviving meningitis, becoming disabled and ultimately passing away after surgery), and yet she always lived her life to the fullest with no complaining.

Kaitlin (runforsushi) said...

Woohoo! This is my first time ever commenting, but I've read your blog for at least a year. I think its great you want to get a tattoo-- my mom (mid forties) has 10! and they're all not visible when she wears jeans and a t-shirt. So I think that's pretty classy.

I myself have two (I'm 21).

The first one is one I got in New Zealand when I was 18. I was studying abroad there and was having a mix of home-away-i-can-do-whatever-i-please and a Life Changing Experience so I got a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist. It says "Ka Awatea" meaning the first streak of light at the dawn of the new day inMaori. I love it because it reminds me of the place i was in life. I regretted it almost instantly becasue of the location, however a normal sized watch band covers it perfectly and thus I wear a watch to work a lot.

my SECOND tattoo is actually a mother daughter tattoo of an abstract "mother holding a daughter" figure. My mother soorrrt of pressured me into it, so I immediately stuck it on my right hip, not visible and I generally don't even think about it. I've never really regretted it.

they DO hurt but not as bad as say a cavity/filling at the dentist. I think you should go for it!!

Erin said...

I don't have a tattoo, but wanted to chime in . A friend of mine has 7 kids, and lost a son about two years ago ( she older, about 50). She got her son's name & bday tattoed onher left hip, which is where she carried him as a baby. Sad, but probably the most moving tattoo story I've ever heard.

Superjules said...

Oooooh I have much to say.

I have a USC Trojan head surrounded by roses on my right shoulder blade, which I chose to show off my Trojan Pride. I picked that location because it was my first tattoo and I was told it wouldn't be that painful (and it wasn't too bad). I had also toyed with the idea of getting big wings tattooed on my back but the problems with that were that it is VERY cliche and that I had this mental block that if I were going to get wings they would have to be BIG enough to support my body weight. So then I realized I wasn't going to get wing tattoos on my back so I wanted SOMETHING on my back and figured that was as good a place as any for the Trojan. Plus, it's easy peasy to cover up. The significance to the timing was that we had just won a big football game. I was nervous that I wouldn't like it as much after my excitement from the game had had died down but I still love it.

My second tattoo is my unicorn on my right upper arm. I chose it because it is THE tattoo I've always wanted. I love unicorns and I have since I was little. Plus, unicorns were a special thing with my grandma and me. I chose the location so I would be able to see it and show it off but could still cover it up. My tattoo artist figured out the best placement and direction of the unicorn to face. I'm glad I went with a BIGGER tattoo than I had originally thought and I'm also glad I spoke up and asked my artist to make the little nitpicky changes I wanted before it went ON MY BODY. I do wish I had realized how MUCH my family hates tattoos. I just thought they didn't like them, not that they would be horrified and angry and offended and upset. I feel like their reactions are disproportionate to my, er, 'crimes' but I do wish I had really realized how much of an issue it would be. I might have chosen a less visible location since I feel self conscious sometimes. Interestingly, I never feel self conscious about it around anyone else. And I do love my tattoo.

The best advice I can give you is to find a good ARTIST. You can definitely find a picture you like and have it stamped on your body by any decent artist and end up with something good (like I did with my Trojan tattoo). But you could also find an artist whose work you like, who is really creative and who listens to what you are looking for and they will design something really incredible and unique just for you.

When I was considering getting my unicorn tattoo I went and talked to my artist (George Campise in SF).
I told George I wanted a unicorn and that I wanted it to be very beautiful and triumphant and up on its hind legs with maybe some roses around it. And even with that crappy description he created my tattoo design-- something better than I could have imagined or found anywhere. The thing is, tattoo artists know how artwork looks on human bodies. They're ARTISTS, so they tend to be happier and therefore produce better work if you give them some room to be creative.
And remember: good tattoos aren't cheap, and cheap tattoos aren't good....

My Trojan tattoo wasn't all that painful. The unicorn was pretty painful, but it also has taken a lot longer to complete (3 sessions and not done yet). I would say that any of my sessions have been more painful at the beginning and then eventually I was so 'high' on adrenaline that the pain kind of died down and it was more... irritating and just stressful I think?
The sound of the needles doesn't really bother me but it bothers a lot of people. I usually bring my laptop and watch a movie (with the subtitles turned on).

And I know most people think that tattoos have to have some Big Significant Meaning and I guess mine mostly do but I also wouldn't really care if they didn't. It just has to be a design that you really LIKE.

St said...

I love tattoos so I have a couple and am always planning more. The most significant one I have is a design focused on Burning Man, it was such a huge life-changer for me. More than a life-changer, a me-changer, I guess. I love it. I've gone around and around about what to get for my kids but I've finally settled and should be getting it this year! I'm not huge into astrology or anything but it can be fun. I'm getting my sign, about palm-sized, on the outside of my leg, below the knee. Underneath will be the signs of my three daughters about quarter-sized each.
I LOVE your fox idea!

Emily said...

Oh! I so know where you're coming from. I wanted a tattoo from the time I turned 18, but I had the same "Will I like this when I'm 50 concerns." I FINALLY found the tattoo I wanted two years ago and then got the tattoo six months ago. I love, love, love it and I'm soooooo glad I did it.

That said...

1. It's just a symbol (pic and abbreviated tat story here http://bit.ly/pEq9Ov)

2. I looked and looked and looked for something I absolutely loved, and when I found this, it just spoke to me. My only real complaint is that explaining its origin is uber embarrassing, so I just won't do it. I tell people it's a symbol that doesn't mean anything. No one believes me, but it prevents me having to tell them where I found it.

3. It's on my left foot, right under my ring toe.

4. I chose it for its easy cover/uncover-ability, the fact that it would not likely stretch during pregnancy, and that I can see it when I want to. Left foot just felt right. My other option was lower back/back of my hip, probably on the right side, but I thought there was too much risk of stretching if I gained weight.

5. Not really. My BFF and I both wanted to get tattoos, and she was coming to visit, so we did it. I think getting one on a random Tuesday is cool.

6. I got it last October - so not terribly long ago - and I'm still in love with it. It makes me happy whenever I see it.

7. I'm glad I very carefully considered the design I wanted. I waited a year and a half after finding the design I wanted before actually getting the tattoo, which I think was a good choice for me. I thought the fact that I still loved it and wanted it permanently etched on my body after a long period of time was a good sign. I'm also glad I researched my artist/shop a lot before I went. If you have a fairly simple tattoo you want hand drawn or a slightly more complex one you want traced, the artist's art skills aren't as important, but if you have something complex or want it all hand drawn, make sure the person you choose is going to do a good job with the art before he gets near you with a needle.

8. Um, I wish I had considered how to explain it to people without sounding like a nutjob. Seriously. People always ask, and I feel like a dumbass because I still don't really have a good answer for them.

As far as the pain, I didn't think it was too bad. It didn't feel GOOD by any means, but it didn't hurt as much as I was expecting. It kinda felt like a bee sting. There was one spot (close to my toes) that hurt far worse than others. It didn't take too long, though, and I was so geeked about getting my tattoo that the pain wasn't really an issue. The thing I was most concerned about was not jumping. The tattoo artist made a big deal about warning me that I couldn't jump or flinch or move or anything when he started (for good reason). I was so nervous about ended up with a random squiggle on my foot that I spent all of my energy concentrating on not moving that I couldn't really focus on the pain. Chatting with my friend and the tattoo artist throughout the process helped distract me, too.

I like your fox. If you want to do something kid-related, you might want to think about picking out something small that you like (stars, birds, Sees candies) and getting a cluster of five of them somewhere (I'm a big fan of the foot). Good luck making your decision!

velocibadgergirl said...

I have nothing to share because I'm too wishy-washy to ever get a tattoo, but I love tattoo stories and pictures. And I LOVE that "say what" fox. LOVE.

Chez Bacon said...

Ooh, I love tattoo stories, too. Fun reading.
1. I have the virgo symbol- it looks like an m with a figure 8 attached to it.
2. I think I just wanted a tattoo. I was very into irritating my parents. I liked the look of it and thought it would be something about myself that would never change. And while my birthday obvs didn't change, I would say I no longer give a crap about ASTROLOGY of all things. (FTLOG, 18 year old self!)
3.It's on my left hip/lower thigh. It shows out the bottom of most but not all of my bathing suits.
4. I wanted something hidden-ish but not totally private.
5. As to timing- mostly I was just recently turned 18, away at college, out of my very strict/conservative house.
6. It's been a bit over 10 years. I don't hate it, I rarely even think about it, really. While it's not something I'd get tattooed on myself now, it does very much remind myself of who I was then. There are days when it's nice that my almost-thirty chubby mom-of-two self can look down and remember that I was once a (very mildly)rebellious kid with skinny thighs.
7. Glad I got it somewhere private enough where I'm not asked about it all the time, just because I no longer care what my astrological sign is.
8. I do sort of wish it was something that had aged better, but I don't really regret it. I'm thinking of getting another tattoo, and trying not to think of it as something that has to represent me For All Time. I think most tattoos end up being just a snapshot of who you were when you got them.

Chez Bacon said...

Oh, I already wrote an over-long comment, but no, it didn't really hurt very much. It was sort of an irritating, pinchy feeling. I felt like saying "Ugh, stop that already," not "AAAHH!" My tattoo is pretty small, though.

Anonymous said...

I have a tigerlilly in the tramp stamp lower back spot. I love it. I got it when I was 23, it was spontaneous and I didn't think it over that much. It is just something that I find beautiful, the colour is awesome, it is a deep orange and pink in the centre. My favourite flower and my favourite colours. In my humble opinion, people try too hard to make tattoos "meaningful" or they try to have some cool story to go along with them that others will like. I just chose something that I love to look at. I like the lower back too because it is central, symetrical and easily hideable, in fact the only person who sees it regularly is my husband and I can show it off at the beach if I want. I also recommend getting it in a spot that you cannot see all the time. I think it stops me from getting sick of it, the fact that I rarely see it, I can look at it in the mirror whenever I like but I mostly just forget about it. I dislike the "tramp stamp" monniker a bit (I swear that saying started after I got my tattoo) but mostly I just think it is funny.

Also- it hurt like a bitch. So much so that I passed out from the pain and was out for a couple minutes. It was quite troubling and alarming. The tattoo artist told me that it is actually really common and happens a lot but I had never heard of it.

- Laurel

Tina said...

1. A cluster of three plumeria flowers. It's in shades of pink, yellow, green and very "girly."
2. My husband and I took a vaction to Hawaii for my 50th birthday. We had a wonderful time and I decided a tattoo would be a perfect way to commemorate the trip. So a few weeks after we returned home, I got my first tattoo.
3. It's on the outside of my left ankle. It stung, but didn't hurt as much as I thought it would.
4. I just had the feeling it needed to be on my ankle. It's the perfect spot when wearing capris.
5. It's been 3.5 years and I still love it. I get a lot of compliments on it.
6. I went to a reputable tattoo parlor and a good artist. I actually took a refrigerator magnet as a sample and he was able to draw something very pretty.
7. I like what I have, but i might have made it a little smaller.

Trina said...

1) Tribal flag for the tribe I am from (Oglala, Lakota). It's a circle of TeePees.
2) I chose it because it's a part of my family that I knew nothing about until I was a teenager. My mother never knew her father so therefore does not (and still won't) claim that part of her heritage.
3) It's on my ankle
4) I chose my ankle because I could hide it with pants if I HAD to, but it was visible without having to wear something too revealing to show it off.
5) I got it with my high school graduation money that people sent me. So it was sort of a graduation gift to myself.
6) It's been 15 years and I don't regret it at all. I actually had it touched up a few years ago.
7) I am glad that it has personal/familial meaning and when people ask about it I can tell them about that part of my family.
8) Back then, tattoos weren't as mainstream as they are today. So, the first professional job I had, I actually had to wear a bandage over it if I wore a skirt to work. It was the only time I ever considered getting it removed. I am so glad I didn't though.

It hurt a little, but you go numb pretty quick. You can't bring a flask and if they expect at all that you have been drinking they won't give you a tattoo. Alcohol thins your blood and you will bleed like crazy. Have a drink (or 6) when it's all over.

I have been condsidering getting an "old school" double heart with a banner that says "Mom" and "Dad" but I know my parents would DIE. So I haven't built up the guts to get it yet. My husband is COVERED in tattoos. I have spent many hours in a tattoo parlor. :)

Good luck!

Missy said...

I have 2 tattoos. One is a bumble bee, as my eldest daughters nickname is Bee, and it is on my right ankle on the inside. I chose the location because it would be easy to hide if necessary and would not be as subject to aging problems as other parts of my body. I got it about 8 months after my daughter was born. I was 26 at the time, and am now 39. The timing was mostly about finally having something meaningful for a tattoo. I wanted one for awhile, but having the tattoo have significance was very important to me. I still like the tattoo and have never regretted getting it. It was not terribly painful. I found it more annoying, like a kitten scratching at you with it's claws. My tats have never really been an issue.
I have a second tat of a Violet on my left ankle on the inside. I chose the violet because my youngest daugther's middle name is Violet and I originally planned to have it placed next to the Bee on my right ankle. I never could get it to look how I wanted, so I gave up and put it on the other leg. The only thing I don't love about the tat is the stem, someday I may see if someone can do something to make me like it better. I got this tattoo when I was 32, no regrets really other than not loving the stem completely. This one was more painful than the first. Getting the stem done was farily painful, and I think that is what has made me put off getting it adjusted to something that is a bit more pleasing.
Getting a tat is serious business and should be carefully considered. I totally get wanting to find a spot that can be concealed when circumstances warrant that, but I do think you should have it be someplace that you can see and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I am de-lurking to talk about this! I love tattoos, and think they are fascinating.

I have 2 - the first is a stylized flower my best friend drew for me, and it is on top of my right foot. I got it when I was 19 and I still love it (I'm 34). It is the perfect mix of hide/show and still looks good. They warned me that on the foot can sometimes fade quickly due to less circulation, but that has not been the case for me.

The second is the astrological symbol for Cancer, which is both my husband and my daughter's sign. It is stylized with a little water. It is on the back of my neck. I still love the tattoo, but I SERIOUSLY regret the location and have been considering getting it removed. I have complete strangers come up to me and make remarks about the "69" I have on my neck. (Idiots) I should have gotten it a bit lower, so that scoop neck shirts and collar-less shirts wouldn't show it. I have had it for 6 years now.

As for the pain - I don't think they hurt. If anything, I thought it was more annoying. I can most relate it to having a really bad sunburn and scratching it.

Good luck and post a picture when you decide!!

Lauren

Superjules said...

Oh, I also meant to say that I love the fox idea and that picture is really cute!
I hope my comment didn't sound to know-it-allish. I don't think I'm some kind of expert, I just get excited when people ask about tattoos! :D

bluedaisy said...

1. A blue daisy, very, very simple

2. It's something I've always drawn- like doodle-style, I'm no artist and it has always been a happy image for me...don't know why

3. lower back, left side, between spine and side..not on buttcheek at all

4. at the time, i wore bikinis so it had the hide/reveal aspect. now if my tankini top rides up a bit, you might still catch a glimpse

5. i was 26ish? no meaning in the timing, my boyfriend got it for me as a bday gift but the daisy is in no way symbolic of him

6. 11 yrs, no regrets, still love it

7. glad i considered a discrete location...arm or shoulder area would not have made me happy on my wedding day or when dressed up. but that's just me. ankle would be fine.

8. no changes at all, truly.
if i chose a second one, it would be a shamrock for sure...probably somewhere near the flower. i'd consider the ankle area too
or possibly a little constellation of stars for each of my 3 kids?

Good luck choosing!! And the age doesn't matter so much as that you are sure about the image you choose. the fox is a cool idea :)

Bratling said...

I don't have one and the reason is simple--I don't like needles. And the thought of paying someone to stick them into my skin over and over again strikes me as being insane considering that. And, well, I used to have two holes in each ear that I let grow back together, so the thought of etching something permanently into my skin doesn't appeal.

Heather R said...

-I have a purple flower on my lower left abdomen.
-it was originally a butterfly outline that a friend of mine did in her bedroom when we were 16. She used a needle wrapped with thread and india ink
-I think I chose the location so my mom wouldn't see it and it would be "sexy" but it ended up looking like a mot
-timing-I was a dumb 16 year old looking for a way to rebel-I had it covered up with a purple flower with a couple green leaves when I was 19 because I was legal and had the money by then
-I am now 33 and it has been stretched due to 2 pregnancies. If I try and gold my stomach a certain way it looks okay, but my skin is thin/wrinkly there now because of the stretching. It doesn't bother me at all that I have it though because it is hidden, even if I were to wear a bikini (which I won't be, ever)...but even when I DID wear a bikini, it was hidden.
-I am glad I considered putting it somewhere that would always be hidden while clothed so there would be no regrets later
-I do wish I had considered the pregnancy thing, but it doesn't really matter a whole lot to me

My aunt had a small symbol that has meaning in our family put on her side under her armpit area....so not IN her armpit, but sort of on her side/rib area to the side of her boob-ish area....it really looks better in that spot than I just made it sound. I like that it is hidden by most clothes, but she knows it is there. She also has a small one on the top of her foot.

Oh-and about the pain, I remember it hurt quite a bit for me....but I got through it. There was some toe curling and I made some noise and asked for frequent breaks, but it didn't take very long.

Stacey said...

1) It is a purple ladybug.
2) Purple for my college alma mater, mainly to commemorate all of the hard work and I have always thought ladybugs were awesome.
3) It is over my right hipbone.
4) I chose the area because I wanted a place that was fairly private because it was for ME.
5) I got it on my 30th birthday, I think at 30 I finally felt like an adult, out of grad school, about to move across the country, etc.
6) I got it 5 years ago and would not change a thing!
7) I am glad I waited until 30, I wanted one for so long but am glad I never pulled the trigger previously. For me location was key, people do tend to judge tattooed people and I did not want to be judged for something that was my business and not theirs.

The pain was not too bad...but I was 3 margaritas in when I got inked.

I will get another one, above my c-section scar in a few years. Once I complete 10 marathons I am also getting a 26.2 to the 10th power :)

Good luck deciding!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I love that fox! My husband is currently trying to decide on a tattoo. I tend to go with piercings, right around every birthday. Something about seeing those numbers go up?

Siera said...

What: Butterfly, Swirly design more butterflies, Lillies.
How: This could take awhile I have 7 all on my lower back.
Why: I was 16 and got the idea in my head that I wanted a butterfly. I still still like. Very 1st one was on my back lower hip/upper ass. Easily hideable, easily showable.
Location: Based on easy to cover up.
I still feel good about my 1st tat. My second one I got when I was 18. I don't regret it but don't like it as much.

I've blogged about this with pictures 2X. I will link to it.

http://fortheluvovblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/memories-in-photos.html

http://fortheluvovblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/go-big-or-go-home.html

1hottiredmama said...

I do not have a tattoo, but I wanted to tell you about one. A family from our church lost a baby to SIDS. The hubby had a tattoo of the baby's foot put on his leg -- you know -- the hospital-inky-footprint. So sweet, I thought!

Guinevere said...

I have a leafy scrolling pattern wrapped around my lower back, in the "tramp stamp" position.

I chose it mostly because it's an area of my body that I was never particularly delighted with, and I wanted to add ornamentation/flourish to it, sort of like the margins of a manuscript. I liked the idea of a tattoo that wraps around the body and highlights the shape of the body rather than being pasted on like a decal. I designed it with an artist whose work I really admired. I picked the fall-like colors because it, and the act of getting a tattoo in the first place, are sort of a reminder of mortality for me, and that helps remind me to seize the day and sometimes just go for things that seem scary that I've been dithering about.

Things I like about the location: it's very private if I'm wearing professional clothing (I'm a teacher, so image matters). The down side: I can't see it much myself, except in the mirror, and I can't show it off as much as I'd like because it really does require wearing a bikini to actually expose the whole thing.

I timed it as a reward for getting through the worst of grad school. It's been 6 years, and I love it. I really can't imagine my body without it - it's just a part of me and my self image. I love it so much, and I can't imagine regretting it in the future.

I'm glad I considered that bodies change and skin stretches. The first tattoo I wanted when I was a teenager (a golden spiral) would have been a bad idea because it would have NOT stayed a golden spiral with weight loss/gain and aging. I'm glad I considered that and then waited a long time before finding another idea I loved. So, I am a fan of designs that can be distorted a bit and not be overly altered in impact... and also designs that are integrated with the body, period.

I'm also glad that I really thought about what "my colors" are (in a color me beautiful sense) before getting the tattoo, because the tattoo matches most things in my wardrobe.

I'm also glad that I went big, even though that's a scary thing to do.

I'm also glad that it's a tattoo that is uniquely mine and not something that anyone else will have.

I think that when I am done having children, I will also get a tattoo to commemorate my family. In that case, I think I will probably do foot, again, because I really like how my lower back tattoo took one of my least favorite body parts and made it my FAVORITE body part... and I have horrible yucky runner's feet. AND, I could look at it more easily myself, then!

The first 5-10 minutes hurt a whole lot. And then, this massive wave of endorphins hit me and I spent the rest of the 3+ hour session totally, well, high, in the way that marathon running makes you high, relaxed and sprawled out on some comfy cushions and almost asleep. Same for the second session (another 2.5 hours). So, I wouldn't really worry about the location being painful. It will hurt, and then it will NOT hurt.

My spouse got her (one and only) tattoo on her upper arm/shoulder (wrapping around covering what a cap sleeve would) and I think that is an awesome location in terms of being both easy to hide to be professional (just no sleeveless tops) but also very easy to show off. I'm jealous because random people on the street can see and admire her tattoo, but not mine. And she wishes the weather were warmer here so she could show it off more often!

Lippy said...

I don't have any yet, but plan to get something with my kids. I had thought of doing a bug of some sort for each one, but someone further up (to lazy to scroll up) mentioned a birth month flower. I love that idea, so I think I will do 3 lilies, and I want to do a little bee among the flowers to remember Ellie's twin (she was baby B). It will be obvious to me, but I won't have to go into a long story with folks who aren't close. I am planning on doing this on my foot. I can't wait to hear what you are going to do.

Jennie said...

I have two, and I don't regret either, although they are very different in thought-out-ness.

The first is a flower on my lower back. I was 18 when I got it and, yeah, enough said. BUT, I don't regret it! I almost love it more than I did when I first got it because, to me, it reminds me of being 18. It reminds me of the girl I was back then -- oh that, messed-up, crazy girl -- and I kind of love that girl for being that messed up and crazy and getting a flower tattoo on her back. (I would obviously never do that now, so I just want to hug her for being so cluelessly brave, if that makes sense.) (Oh, I also never really have to see it, which I suppose helps.)

The second is a tribal butterfly on my foot, and I love it. I got it right after I got married, to remind myself (cheesily) that I was still my own person in this marriage, not two-becomes-one, but very much still one plus his one.

I'd like another, a star, on my wrist. For Kyle. There's a song I love that mentions Kyle's birthday in it, and there's a line that says, "In an unreliable world, you shine like a star." I want to get it in Vegas when I go later this year.

Phancy said...

I have three. I have an infinity symbol on the inside of my heel, just under my ankle bone; a zia (symbol of New Mexico) on the top of my other foot, and the eye of Ra on my hipbone. All are solid black. The infinity symbol I thought about for the longest--cheesy story about having a moment at age 18 where I realized that the world was infinite. I got it when I was 19, and saw myself as an adult. Ha!. I always wanted a tattoo and like the idea of decorating myself. I chose the location because I wanted to be able to see it, and it is easy to show or hide. Plus, I thought it was kinda a fun and unusual location that fit me. It didn't hurt too bad. I got the hip one a few months later, and that was mostly because I accompanied a friend and got caught up in the moment. So, while no regrets, it isn't the favorite. And it got stretched to heck when I was pregnant. I think I chose the location because it was "sexy" (as I said, not much thought and college-girl herd mentality.)

The third one I got a couple of years later. The inspiring moment for my infinity tattoo was in NM, and I spent many summers there as a young adult, then lived there, met my husband there, etc. I also loved the design. So that one commemorated an important part of my life. I liked the one on my foot so much that I continued that trend.

It has been 15-12 years since all of them. I would still like more, but haven't been inspired. I'm glad I have them all, even my silly hip one. I don't tend to be a silly and impulsive person, so it is nice to have a bit of that written on me.

I am glad I chose classic symbols. I like that they aren't trendy, and I like symbolic meanings in general. I felt like it was my way of physically inscribing important things on my body. (Yes, age has now taken care of that for me also...) I'm very glad I chose the solid black--I just couldn't jive with colors on me. No idea why. I love the two on my feet--I like seeing them and they look fun in dress up shoes.

Guinevere said...

I'm also glad I considered the artist carefully, and paid a lot more than I could have, because it means I got a really amazing tattoo rather than just a technically competent one.

The one thing I wish I had considered that the skin on my lower back is very very thin (I got it at a time when I weighed a lot more and I think the gain might have explained why, or maybe just luck) and thus prone to blow-outs. It's pretty minor and nothing that detracts from my love of the tattoo, though!

Blondie said...

De-lurking to comment on this topic that I think is so fun!

I married my HS sweetie- he hates the idea of me being tatooed- so I don't have any. BUT I know what I'd get, and am still thinking about it.

I almost lost my dad last year- it was very sudden and unexpected. He'd just retired from 40 years with the local police dept, and we are very close. I'm so thankful for the extra time I have with him, but eventually I would like to get his badge, probably with his birth/death dates.

This isn't quite what I want, but I love it- a badge that incorporates the Masons (my hubby is very active with them): http://www.everytattoo.com/Badge-Tattoo-picture.shtml

When my cousin turned 18, she had a small lizard (about 2 inches) tatooed on her hip. Her name is Elizabeth and her nickname growing up was Lizzy Lizard. I've always liked that she got something that was so "her", and in a place that no-one ever sees, unless she wants to show it off. It isn't so low that it is rude to show it in public if she wants to, though clothing always covers it.

BTW- Funny! My verification word is "derma" :)

Phancy said...

One more thought. A friend of mine got her astrological constellation tattooed on her calf. Let's see if I can explain that more clearly. She took her zodiac sign (say, Libra) and looked up the actual constellation, and had the stars tattooed on her leg in their correct alignment. I love that idea and would love to do that someday. My other thought is to do it with my kids' constellations, perhaps overlaying each other in different colors of shapes of stars? Depends on the kids I guess, and how many!

Bailey said...

So in defense of my mother: she was a great mom, just a little unconventional. When I was 15 and my little brother was 12, she took us on a cruise to Mexico for Christmas and the three of us got tattoos in Mazatlan. It's still my only tattoo, a chunky line drawing of a sea turtle, what Hawaiians call honu: http://www.webxtremes.com/images/surfer/Honu.gif.

I chose it because I was obsessed with turtles, and because I have Hawaiian heritage. I had the artist freehand a design based on a silver bracelet I'd gotten from my auntie. It's on my ankle, with just the right amount of showability vs. hideability, although because it's a black outline filled in with green, it does show through most pantyhose. It's been eight years, and I sill love it. I'm not as into turtles now, but it reminds of that time in my life, and that moment with my family.

As for my brother? My mom made him choose something unchanging and hopefully something he wouldn't regret. He got his initials tattooed on his buttcheek right below the band of his swimsuit. And now, at age 20? It's NOT something he's real pleased with, but it turned him onto the craft young. He's a tattoo-artist today!

Bailey said...

And as for the pain, I would describe it like this: it feels like you're being burnt, like you touched a very tiny concentrated part of yourself on a hot stove and you're thinking, "Oh dear, that hurts! Why am I letting myself be hurt like this?" and just when it's almost too much, the needle lifts and there's NO RESIDUAL PAIN. Just a lasting mark of the image you chose, and the thought that you know it must have hurt while it was happening, because it was JUST happening, but it certainly doesn't hurt now. Weird. (Also, you will see the artist wipe away drops of your blood mixed with ink. It smears on your skin, and looks a little gross.)

At least, that was my experience. 8^)

Kate's Crazy Life said...

Great topic & especially perfect since I just got my first tattoo three days ago!

I've wanted one since I was 18 but couldn't think of something that I liked enough to ink on myself permanently. I became serious about figuring what that 'thing' was a few years ago, and finally, over the last month or so, I came to the answer. I sketched up a very rough picture and went into talk to the artist. I told him what I wanted and the significance of it. I made the appointment and went back and was THRILLED with what he came up with.

(I'll post a picture of it on my blog so you can see - please look cuz it's beautiful!)

It's my kids' initials - S & Z - intertwined, but it also just kind of looks like a swirly design. It's on my right shoulder blade. It hurt a bit, but nothing intolerable. When he did the shading, I almost squeaked but it was over quickly. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it and keep checking it out in the mirror. It's in such a spot where it can totally be covered up or I can show it by wearing a tank top.

The kids think it is totally cool and I think they feel special (they are almost 9 & 6) because I chose something that represents them. They keep asking to see it and take turns putting lotion and such on it for me.

Like I said, I just got it last Thursday, which happened to be my 40th birthday. :)

p.s. Just know that once you get one? You'll want more. I already have a 2nd one planned.

Kate said...

I have five total, gotten between 10 and 15 years ago- a sort of asterisk between my shoulder blades, a chaos symbol with lines blocking each arrow (kind of looks like a snowflake, which I like since I love the snow)in the middle of my back, a stylized dragony-seahorsey thing on my ankle, a dragon on my upper thigh, and a fallen angel on my shoulder (angel sitting with her head on her knees, hair covering her face).

I love all of them except for my ankle one, which I'm kind of meh about- I got it while visiting a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend and came up with the idea to get a tattoo more as an excuse to spend some time away from him than because I wanted one. I certainly don't HATE it, but I associate it with that time in my life and it's not a happy memory.

Both the asterisk and the chaos symbol were things I'd doodled on and off for years- I eventually plan to get variations done down my spine, so the asterisk phases into the chaos symbol and back again. My favorite is definitely the angel on my shoulder. A friend of mine drew it for me and we fiddled around with it until it was exactly what I wanted. The only thing I don't really like is the fact that I let the tattoo artist talk me into making her hair hang more 'naturally' around her face, as opposed to how we had had it. It doesn't look bad, but I wish I had kept to the original design.

An interesting story about my dragon- I had it done while my brother was deployed to Bosnia. Turns out he got a tattoo while he was there- a dragon on his shoulder blade. It's almost identical to mine, which is extra weird because I conflated several different designs to come up with what I wanted. How cool is that?

I don't feel like any of them hurt excessively. Probably the worst was the one in the middle of my back on my spine, and even that was mostly ok interspersed with a few ow! moments.

I seriously love all of them, with the exception of the one on my ankle and have no regrets whatsoever. Go for it! The only assvice I would offer would be to research the tattoo artists in your area and find someone with a good reputation. The best part of the fox is that 'what?' expression so you definitely want to find an artist who's skilled enough to capture it.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved tattoos, but never got around to actually getting one until hubby and I had our 10 year anniversary. We didn't want any gifts for each other, so we decided to use the occasion for our first ink. Important note: neither one of our tattoos are marriage or anniversary related, but both are family related (in very indistinct ways). Since then we've both added more, but that first one will always be special.
The first one is one my left back shoulder blade. It wasn't too painful until you got to the area where your bra band hits. I found that to be the worst spot, but still manageable. The actual tattoo is a tree, but instead of leaves, it has butterflies that fly off (and over my shoulder). I won't bore you with the rest, but I will say that I found my forearm to be the LEAST painful site. I'm glad I waited until my 30's to start. All of my tattoos are personal and autobiographical, so I can't see ever regretting any of them.

Rebecca said...

1. what it is
My own design. It's 2 stylized hearts in red and black with my sons names at the top

2. how/why you chose it
I'd always wanted a tattoo, but was too cheap to pay for it. My sister and her GF offered to buy it for me for my birthday and I accepted. I spent several months figuring out what to do and it really is beautiful.

3. where it is
The inside of my right ankle

4. how/why you chose the location
It's easy to hide/show and I can see it easily, at any time. It hides so well that even when I wear shorts/capris, no socks, whatever, a lot of people don't even realize I have one. But again, it's easy to show off if I want.

5. whether there was any significance to the timing
Nope, it wasn't about timing for me.

6. how long it's been since you got it and how you feel about it now
2 years, and I still love it, and expect I always will.

7. what you're glad you considered
I'm glad I considered what would always be important to me, as well as the fact that nobody else will ever have this same tattoo. I didn't want flash, or something other people could get. This is MINE, for ME, and it signifies the most important things in my life forever and ever.

8. what you wish you'd considered
I waited long enough that I think I considered everything important. Thank goodness.

MelissaInk said...

I have three, an angel, a "wing" (to cover up a trinity), and a butterfly with flowers.

The angel was something I doodled in high school, the butterfly has some elements of my grandmother, and the "wing" is really just to cover up the horrible trinity design.

The angel is on the side of my butt, the "wing" is on my lower abdomen, the butterfly is on my ankle.

Both the angle and wing needed to be in spots hidden from my mother (still in college). I chose my ankle because it didn't matter anymore, and I usually wear jeans ... so.

No significance to the timing. I could, so I did.

I was about 19 for the first two. No regrets. I could take them or leave them. They're sort of like moles now - they're just there. I don't really think about any of them usually. Was like 26 for the third one. Sometimes I wish the ankle tattoo was also in a more private spot, but regret isn't the right word.

A good tattoo artist will know how to form YOUR idea into a GOOD TATTOO. YOUR idea won't necessary carry over to a good-looking tattoo. Be a little flexible. Always go bigger than you think you want to. I see so many tattoos that are just too flippin' small. My angle tattoo is larger than most, and I'm glad!

Things I wish I'd considered? It's hurts. A lot. Anywhere the lining will touch bone ... ouch. If I could stand the pain better, I'd have a lot more. So, consider if it's a piece you'd like to add to in the future (like a themed sleeve or something) and if it can stand on its own if you chicken out :)

I wouldn't worry too much about "regret." Obviously, don't get something on your forehead or something completely ridiculous. Winnie the Pooh and a fox both sound perfectly fine. They really do just become a part of your body.

Jenn Mc said...

Could this be the most commented post ever? :)

Mine is a butterfly that is composed of two "J"'s to symbolize my first initial and my husband's. It is on my right upper hip so that you don't see it unless I am in a bathing suit or bend over and you see the top.

Ouch factor: I would say the color was very easy. To me, the black seemed harder. A bit like a slow motion cat scratch. But MUCH less painful than cavity filling!

I am hoping to get a rose vine with thorns on my lower back, wrapped around a scar I have from back surgery. I have been advised that this may be painful so I may wait til 40.

Anne said...

I have a salamander. 1997, Spring, right before Easter break in college. I had just finished a significantly long project, attempting to do a population count of the Eastern Tiger Salamander on a property that was private, but the person was considering donating as a refuge. I spent so many hours scouring the acres and became friendly with the red tailed hawk and the Great Horned Owl that lived there. I also had a friend who read Tarot Cards, and taught me to read, and it was the Ryder Wait Deck, and i kept getting the King of Wands, which is covered in salamanders, describing a somewhat arrogant man who would enter my life in a important role. Strange. So friends and I drove to Sandusky, OH to a place called Clean and Sober tattoos. One artist had just gotten out of jail so I got a 30% discount. I chose a gecko and asked him to alter it by rounding the toes to be less claw-ish and more salamander-ish.

Still love it.

Location- left inside ankle. Why? Fattier area. Chosing fattier parts means more padding. Also an area I knew I would not stretch out in child-bearing years.

No flask, sorry, most places will not tattoo anyone who is in an altered state.

Not horribly painful, I mean, childbirth was a lot worse.

Timing wise, wait until summer is over, as you can not go in pools for a bit once you get it (I think).

Want another one, 4 dragonflies to represent the 4 babies we lost. Dithering on location.

1 week after I got the tattoo I met the most infuriatingly arrogant, cocky, horrifically self-centered boy EVER. And then I married him. So more significance, maybe.

Do it but I wear tons of sleeveless dresses, so the inner ankle is a bit more cheeky and hide and go seeky than the upper arm for me. If you do not wear lots of sleeveless things, upper arm sounds PERFECT. And love the fox idea.

also color wise keep in mind light colors, like white, fade fastest.

S said...

1 - I have seven tattoos.
2 - All but one of them have meanings. Example, I got a running tattoo after running my first marathon, I got 3 flowers to represent my sisters and me, etc. The very first tattoo I ever got was picked off the wall and is just a lame heart.
3 - Most of them are on my feet/ankle area. Two are on my back and one is on my hip bone.
4 - I got one on a random Wednesday night in college. I got my second one on a random Friday night in college. Then, I got two after running big races, and three with my best friends on random visits to each other.
5 - I got my most recent one a little over a week ago. The rest have been spread out over 7 years or so. The only one I am not a huge fan of is the heart on my back b/c it really doesn't mean anything, and I wish I had thought a little longer before just picking one off the wall. But I was young and just really wanted one.
6 - I'm glad all my other tattoos have meaning to me and that I thought long and hard what to get. I'm also glad I considered where I got them, b/c they are all in places that I can easily hide at work where tattoos are a little taboo.
7 - I wish I had thought longer before getting my first one.

Lisa said...

I have a chinese symbol on my inner ankle that I got when I was 21. My maiden name in German means "rowdy" or "troublemaker", and in my twenties I thought that would be a cool thing to have as a tattoo. Except I couldn't find any chinese symbols that said that, so my father, who worked with a number of Chinese nationals at the time, had one of them draw me the symbol and I took it to the tattoo parlor and they put that on my ankle. It did cross my mind at the time that I had no way of knowing that it actually said troublemaker; for all I know it could say "eat more chicken." My father did say that the Chinese guy had told him there was no direct word that meant that, so it was more of a translation.

So, fast forward 10 years later, a friend who spoke Japanese and had a limited knowledge of asian symbols looked at my leg and said "what exactly does your tattoo mean? I see the symbol for mouth, but I can't figure out the rest of it." So....I'm pretty sure that the symbol says something along the lines of "big mouth" or "person who talks too much", which has a very different connotation than the cool "troublemaker."

I kind of feel like even if it were actually saying troublemaker, having that permanently inked on my body is not the karma I want, and I'd like to get it removed.

It didn't hurt that much to get it done. I'd say it was sort of a dull pinchy feeling. I think the ankle is an ideal location as it easily covered, even with a bandaid if you are wearing a sundress and sandals and don't want anyone to see it.

Lisa said...

Bizarrely enough, the commenter S above me is my sister, and I just discovered by reading this that she got another tattoo.

Jaida said...

1. I have the Japanese symbol for "younger sister"

2. I think it's obvious why I chose it? I have an older sister and she got...wait for it..."older sister"

3. It's on my lower back, the classic "tramp stamp"

4. It was the in place to get them, easily hideable, but sorta sexy in the "catch a glimpse" way

5. Sis and I both got them when I graduated college. No reason really, just an excuse to take the plunge.

6. That was almost 10 years ago and I still love it. It looks as good as it did then, too.

7. No regrets, period. I am glad I considered the permanence factor (I am also hesitant to go for something expressly husband-related. We have a great marriage, but we're humans) I am also glad that I researched and chose a really great place with what I consider to be artists. DON'T GO CHEAP.

I actually didn't think it hurt very much. It was a little unpleasant, but if you are someone who doesn't mind needles then it's really not so bad. I think they frown on judgment-altering substances in the chair ;)

Jenny said...

I don't think I will ever get a tattoo because I have a very hard time staying still. But I thought I'd tell you about two of the neatest tattoos I've ever seen. Also your fox is adorable.

The first one will sound outlandish but was surprisingly subtle: it was a lipstick print on a beautician's shin, centered between the knee and ankle. It looked SO real, like she could have wiped it off with a Kleenex if she wanted. I actually thought it was lipstick the first time I saw it, but when I went back for another haircut it was still there. She wasn't my beautician so I never got the courage to ask her about it, but I wish I had.

The other one was a lush green vine on a lady's shoulder and upper arm. She was a grad student in botany. It wasn't outlined in black; it looked more like it had been painted on than tattooed. It just looked very natural on her, if that makes sense.

LizScott said...

what it is:
An "m-dot" Ironman symbol
how/why you chose it:
I did an Ironman triathlon on the 3rd anniversary of having heart surgery. At the time (and still, I suppose, but slightly less now) my triathlon lifestyle was an enormous part of my physical and mental recovery, and I wanted a permanent reminder that I wasn't an invalid anymore. (Ok, and about 10% of me wanted bragging rights).
where it is:
Inner left ankle (the only picture I can find that somewhat shows what it looks like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizlewis/5944321862/in/photostream)

how/why you chose the location:
I wanted to be able to see my tattoo easily, because I was getting it for me. I considered lower back or shoulder blades, but I was concerned I'd almost forget it was there, effectively making it a tattoo for OTHERS to see, and not me. Also, I figured as I go through life, different parts of me will shift and um, swell, but the odds are that this part of my ankle will stay relatively the same.

Also, this is a good location in that no one can see it if I'm wearing pants, so if I need to hide it: pants. Which is not, you know, like the biggest challenge given that "wearing pants" isn't an unusual event.

whether there was any significance to the timing:
Well, I did the race in November, but I didn't actually get the tattoo until later that year - early June, I believe. The timing was more the ironman event than the actual day I got inked.
how long it's been since you got it and how you feel about it now:
It's been.... 2 years? Yes, two years. I love it more now. I was SCARED when I first got it that I would hate it - I wouldn't even look at it after the bandage came off that first week because I was all "FUCK. I'm going to hate it and now I am stuck." But now I love it, and I'm glad I have it. THAT BEING SAID: I am more or less done with triathlon and that lifestyle, so the actual commemoration of a triathlon race I did is almost a sad reminder of someone I used to be. BUT! At the same time, it's a nice reminder of a very happy time in my life, and one I've moved on from because *I'm* so much happier. I guess I just look at it now as a part of me, and in a large way it tells quickly a bit of my history. I love it.
what you're glad you considered:
Placement, size and what it is - like I said, it tells so much of my story (if only to me) that i love it.
what you wish you'd considered:
I needed to be MUCH MORE CLEAR with the tattoo artist. My husband has the same symbol on his calf (he did an Ironman years before me), so I went in and pointed to his calf and said "I want that, but half the size, and on my ankle" and the guy went online, found the brand symbol, sketched on my ankle and went to town. BUT. The symbol he found online wasn't outlined in black (my husband's was). The guy was all done and I was like "Where's the outline?" and he was all "Oh, you wanted that? The picture I showed you didn't have it, and I can't do it now because the black ink will bleed into the red" and I was all "We need to work on our communication" I suppose i can now get it fixed, but I've never gotten around to it.

I did joke to my husband that now that we have matching tattoos our marriage would never last; so far we're good :) (also, when people ask about it, I just tell them it's our family crest. Which is of course a joke but never fails to crack me up.)

Oh, and the ankle DID hurt, BUT it was an under-ten-minutes kind of hurt, so by the time I was all "Ow , I don't think I can handle this", it was over.

Heather said...

I have a butterfly on my ankle because I love butterflies and so did my grandmother so it is one that I did and still love. It is tiny, just behind my ankle bone.

I will tell you that of the three tattoos I have that one hurt the least and I love it the most.

A good friend of mine is a tattoo artist and told me that anything above the waist is more painful, which I found to be true because I also have one under my arm on my ribcage which was SOOO painful I almost passed out.

Nik-Nak said...

•A tribal design with five butterflies surrounding it

•I put alot of thought into a tattoo and researched for months. Eventually I designed this one-so that I wouldn't have one like anyone else

•lower back. I know, I know TRAMP STAMP. But it's seriously the best place as it's very easy to hide and to show off

•I got it when I was 18 and started college. It symbolized freedom from my childhood for me. I was a "perfect" child and never got into any trouble while growing up. I felt like a tattoo was a small way of breaking away from that persona I had set up for myself. The tribal was insirped by my deceased father. The butterflies symbolize me breaking away.

•I've had it seven years now and I still love it as much as I did the day I got it. It's in a spot where I don't see it all the time so everytime I catch a glimpse of it I have to stop and stare.

•I'm eternally grateful I didn't get one somewhere where it shows.

I am in the process of researching another one. I want my daughter's name on my ribcage. I think those are very cute and eaisly hideable. I just have to figure out how to do it so that names can be added as more children come along.

I also love wrist tattoos but for me that is something I would never do as I'm not sure I want to be 80 and have tattoos anywhere that aren't covered up on a hot summer day.

Anonymous said...

I got "compassion" on my wrist around 6 years ago and knew I wanted to get another tattoo at some point. I spent a few years knowing I wanted to get another one, but not knowing what or where or any of that.

Then I went through a 4 year struggle with infertility and my desire to get a tattoo became stronger. I felt like I was in so much emotional pain that I somehow needed that reflected in physical pain, if that makes sense at all. I also wanted something to remind me of my strength- that I could touch when I was going through yet another painful procedure.

I still didn't know what I wanted to get until Easter Sunday, when the minister spoke about hope and quoted the bible: Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I decided to get it with a Carolina wren which is "my" bird according to my bird-loving mother. As soon as I thought of that combination, I knew it was what I wanted. I then spent a lot of time picking the perfect wren. My tattoo artist said the verse would be too long, so we just did "Joy comes in the morning".

I got it high on my rib cage, just below my bra (both to be hidey and because I still desperately hoped to get pregnant and wanted a spot that hopefully wouldn't stretch too much), and it hurt like holy hell. But that was what I wanted. I sat there in that chair in a lot of physical pain, thinking "Bring it, because I have been through so much worse".

About a year later, I did get pregnant (yea!!) and the tattoo held up great through the pregnancy. Despite getting BIG, the tattoo never stretched.

So, 3 years post-tattoo these are my thoughts:
1) I generally love how hidey it is, because unless you see me in a bikini, you won't know I have it. Sometimes I would like to show it to people without exposing my whole torso. Then again, getting it was an incredibly personal thing and the there-but-unseen nature of the tattoo reminds me of my infertility struggle.

2) I agree with you about getting something personally significant and lasting. No matter what else happens to me, infertility will always be one of the more challenging things I have ever been through and something that indelibly effected who I am.

3) Take time on the design and find a tattoo artist who will work with you and who has an artistic eye. Listen to their recommendations.

c_girl said...

I have a small triskele (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triskelion#Spiral_triskele) on my left shoulder. I dithered and dithered about what to get, and then was in Galway, Ireland with my sister and friends and we all decided to get tattoos and I decided quickly.

I wrote a little bit about that day in this bittersweet post: http://www.hilarity-in-shoes.com/2011/05/18/theres-a-darkness-upon-you-thats-flooded-in-light/ (one of the people I was with that day died recently, very unexpectedly.)

I love that:
--I got my tattoo in Ireland;
--It's small and meets the visible/hidable requirements;
--It's not Winnie the Pooh or, as it might have been if I'd stayed in Ohio, the Tasmanian Devil of Calvin pissing on Michigan;

I wish that:
--It was a little bigger and more colorful; if I'm only ever going to have one tattoo,it should be more badass.
--It was this Eye of Horas that I really want (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Horus) and I could have one on each blade.

Alice said...

i'm pretty sure i shared my tattoo story on twitter already, but i've loved reading all of these so i'll add mine as well!

i have a fleur de lis, all black, on my intter left wrist (just like nonsoccermom!!).

i wanted a tattoo for TEN YEARS before i actually got this, and had been hesistant due to the whole permanence, what-the-hell-would-i-still-like-at-90 thing. especially since if i'd gotten one after highschool/college, it would have been heavily music-themed and now i hardly ever play anymore.. so the shifting priorities/likes/dislikes thing was very clear to me.

i ultimately got the fleur de lis because a) i just really, really liked it, and b) i lived in france for a while, and that fact will never change :)

i found the pain to be annoying/uncomfortable, but not at all unbearable. the worst was the very end when he was touching it up and going over parts that were sort of sore from already being tattooed, but that was over quickly. my tattoo artist told me that tensing up would make it worse, which at first panicked me because HOW AM I NOT SUPPOSED TO TENSE UP WITH NEEDLES ATTACKING ME, but i actually found that concentrating on keeping my wrist relaxed helped me NOT focus on the pain.

no regrets at ALL. i love that it's in a hugely visible place but still pretty discrete. my mom commented that it was much "classier" than she expected, ha.

Magnolia said...

I have three tattoos and am planning on more. They are across my upper back and I have two stylized black birds flying away from a big stylized sun in the middle.

I got them for a myriad of reasons, the birds are supposed to be ravens, and they are symbols from a game that I played for over 12 years and helped shape my life and brought important players in (such as my ex the father of my kids etc) and because of the story about how ravens became black.

The story is that the sun became jealous of the moon, went into his house and hid and the world began to die...so the ravens took a big mirror in front of his house and began to talk about the new awesome sun that was there and how they were all big new awesome sun fans!

The sun peeks out, see's the new sun (in the mirror) and furiously begins to chase him out of his sky. The ravens fly in front of him with the mirror leading him back to his place in the sky..in the process becoming burnt themselves and turning black.

I like the idea of being clever enough to think of a solution when there is not one obviously there, and I like the idea that brains not brawn overcoming something.

I chose the location because it's big enough to demonstrate the tattoos..and I got them all pretty quickly in succession, while I was pregnant unknowingly lol

I've had them for over seven years now and I hardly think of them..but I'm glad I have them. I'm planning on another now, a ball of yarn with a pirate hat and an eyepatch with the word 'yaaarn' under it, because I'm a freaking obsessed knitter..

I'm glad I considered multiple meanings and something intensely personal to me.

I wish I considered the same artist for all three so it could have been aligned properly.

Ah well.

Auntie G said...

I have a very small (dime-sized?) flower on my upper left...butt cheek/hip, I guess. It is a great location from a "people only see it if I want to them to or if I am wearing a particularly skimpy bathing suit" standpoint, and even more importantly, it was SUPER from a pain standpoint. Lots of fat there to absorb the (minimal) pain.

It looks most like a daisy, I guess. It really looks like the kinds of flowers I doodle, but that's more of a coincidence. I actually cared very little what the tattoo WAS, when I got it. I just wanted a tattoo. I went to a reputable parlor and said, "Pick something small and feminine." Really.

I went from divorce court, to a bar for a last, very weird drink with my ex-husband, to the tattoo parlor. Long story short: long-term, long-distance beau and I got married but turned out to be pretty incompatible once we were around each other all the time, and he had a terrible temper, and eventually took a swing at me, and THE END. Currently quite happily married and exasperated, with a 3-yr old son and a little sibling due in October, so all's well that ends well. :)

Anyway, it felt appropriate to me to get a tattoo after my divorce b/c I wanted something painful and permanent (just like divorce!) as a reminder, but also kind of a battle scar.

I have zero regrets. The design itself is fine with me - I've never thought about anything I would have liked better...admittedly, this may be because I don't see it MYSELF very often!

Also, I will be getting one more tattoo in my life, probably an augmentation of sorts of the one I have. We lost two babies in between my son and this one, and I would like to incorporate their initials into my tattoo. The rather weird part of the story is that I'm not 100% sure we're done with our family, in spite of the fertility and miscarriage issues that have threatened to kill us DEAD over the last 5 years...so I want to wait until I know we're done and, uh, all lost babies would be present and accounted for in said tattoo.

Way to bring it down, I know. But personally, the whole pain/permanence issue is very healing for me.

Speaking of pain, I've had dental cleanings that hurt worse than this tattoo. Healed quickly. No issues.

bananafana said...

my tatoo is a star where each point is made up of my husband and I's last initials before we were married. it looks rather celtic and you can't actually see any letters in it unless you know what to look for. The design was one that my dad made for our wedding invitations and we each got it on our shoulder blades for our first wedding anniversary (this was our oh-so-clever take on the traditional "paper" anniversary gift). the location is super easy to hide and also super easy to show - looks cute with camisoles but almost none of my work clothes expose it. We'll be married for 10 years this year so I've had it almost 9 and I still absolutely love it. I think I'd still love it even if something happened to my husband and I - stars are a big thing for me and my dad designed it so it means a lot to me. i'm glad i took into consideration where it is but I wish I had considered how big it would need to be. My husband, what a man, wanted it pretty big but I was going to make it smaller for mine. Due to all the little details it couldn't be made any smaller so it was larger than I intended although that doesn't bother me much (it's probably about 4 inches across). I felt like it was more annoying than painful. it didn't bother me at all for about the first 45 minutes but by the end i was just getting irritated. I guess I would take into account your ability to manage discomfort and for how long you can remain patient :) and where I went i'm sure you would have been able to bring a flask

Gaby said...

- I have an abstract design of a phoenix. It is approximately 5 inches tall. It's solid black, and it took about 3 hours to complete. I thought it felt as though a rubberband were snapping against my skin when I was getting it, but I think that I have a slightly higher pain tolerance than some. It looks like the top left-hand image on this page, but all of the tail feathers are swirly on mine, not feathery like two of this design's, and mine faces toward the right: http://www.imethods.com/phoenixtattoos.html
- I chose it because of the symbolism of a phoenix rising from the ashes, reborn. I like to think that I rose up from a fairly craptacular childhood, and the tattoo is a reminder of that.
- It's on my lower back. Higher than a tramp stamp (oh, I dislike that term), but it can be seen if I'm wearing a shorter shirt, and I bend down.
- I chose that spot because it's a larger tattoo that needed space, and I liked that I could cover it up.
- I got it my senior year of college, a week before graduation. The timing was mostly that I finally just decided to do something for myself, and I had waited long enough.
- It's been six years, and I'm still glad I got it. I love it, really, and am a bit sorry I can't see it more often.
- I'm glad that I thought about it for about five years before committing to it. I'm glad that I made sure the design was perfect. I'm glad I went to a decent parlor.
- I wish I'd considered that I wouldn't see it that often. I wish that I were more in shape so I could show it off in a bikini or while running, just because I think it's so bad ass!

bananafana said...

also wanted to second the mention that someone else made about finding a good artist. we had someone recommended and my husband got them - i got someone else in the same place that was available and my husband's tatoo has fared much better in terms of bleeding and fading. his was filled in with flesh tones and it looks much more "crisp" than mine

Alyssa said...

I have 3 tatoos, and I love them all. I have a moon with stars on my left hip, a big star on by breastbone and my Capricorn sign on my lower back. I got them all before I turned 20. I'm 31 now, and still like them. I love spce/stars/solar system, which is why I got those designs. My sister and I got matching star tatoos on our breastbones, which I love. I would still like to get something incorporating my children's names and birthdates, too.

Jenny Grace said...

I'm certain that I've already bored you to death with the constant repeating of my Tattoo Story.
Mine is large, at no point did it feel GOOD, but it only really HURT over the bony parts of my back. The other parts were okay.

-R- said...

My college roommate got 3 tattoos when we were in college, and I went with her when she got each one. FYI, she always took a shot of alcohol for pain reasons after she finalized the design but before the tattoo work started. =)

She said the one on her back near her spine hurt the most. She also got one below her shoulder blade that was easy to hide or show - I liked that placement the best. And she got one on her inner ankle, which makes it easier to hide than on your outer ankle.

I like all the fox pictures you've been pinning on Pinterest.

Anonymous said...

I found a great tattoo artist to do an amazing rendition of an original Tenniel illustration from Through the Looking Glass, which has been my favorite book since I was 10. It's on my ankle, and I can vouch for the fact that this area is a very good balance of visible and hideable (I'm thinking either mid-back/shoulder or high forearm for the next one). And yes, it hurts (over the bone is the worst, as you go higher up on the leg it's not bad at all), but it's not a scary pain -- you know you chose to be there, you're not in any actual danger, so it's a very different experience emotionally than other kinds of pain which for me made it much more bearable.

I got it a few months after I turned 24. I had thought about it for years and after my birthday I just told myself, "I'm a real grownup now, I can do this if I want, and I'm just going to go for it." I'm really glad I did. I told myself that even if I didn't always love the image (although I was/am pretty positive I will, given how long I've loved it) I would never regret the decision to get it as it would remind me of that moment in my life when everything was going really well and I felt all this new adult freedom and agency. That was only about a year ago but my life has changed a lot since -- not necessarily for the worse, but things are really really different now -- so I'm glad I did it when I did. It's nice to have that reminder be a permanent part of me.

I read somewhere once that you should never get the name of someone who isn't a blood relative tattooed on you. I think that's a good rule of thumb, and one you've clearly already thought about with regard to your children's names vs. your husband's name. Also -- and this is an obvious one -- do a lot of research about which artist you want to do it. It's permanent so there's no point in not putting the time in to find the perfect person. Schedule a consultation before you go under the needle.

I LOVE the fox, although obviously I'm a fan of illustrations from classic children's literature as well. I reject the notion that there needs to be an important life milestone that kicks off the tattoo -- to me it's more about making the decision to do it and then just doing it. It's very empowering. So yes -- a random Tuesday. Why not.

Nikki said...

I have a celtic peace knot on the back of my shoulder blade. I got it after my Grandma passed as she was the most peaceful person in my life. I got it on my left shoulder blade as I needed to balance a huge scar on my right shoulder. I love it and have never regretted it.

Mrs. Irritation said...

I have an outline of a cat head between my hip bone and the top of my pubic line. I got it in college. I chose it b/c I loved cats, in particular my cat at the time (best cat ever) and it was the only tattoo I found in the tattoo guy's books that I sort of liked. I was determined to get a tat but did not come prepared. I chose the location b/c I didn't want some big tattoo where others could see it, esp if I ended up in the corporate world where I would have to explain it. I'm glad I chose a more hidden location (I abhor the tramp stamp locale) but you can guess that pregnancy was not kind to my tat, though it wasn't as bad as I feared. Through time my tat looks more like a raccoon and less like a kitty. Am I sorry I got it? Not really, it is what it is. Do I love it? Not really, though I don't really think about it at all that much anymore. Would I get another? I know what I would get but there is little chance I would actually follow through and get one.

Great post! Should we all post pics of our tattoos now?

Jean said...

I want a small, brown freckle, identical to the ones that the sun gave me, on my forearm. Then I could say, smugly, 'yes, I'm all tatted up, too.'

The Curmudgeon said...

I have two tattoos, one gotten when I was eighteen, the other in my late 20s. The early one is a flower picked off the wall of the tattoo parlor, and is on my hip; the other is a word that is important to me, written in Hebrew (a language that is important to me) and is located on my ribcage right under my right breast.

I got the first one because I'd left a crappy home situation and it symbolized freedom; a silly reason, and one that SHOULD have been a disaster/embarrassment later, but I still look at it and think fondly of how happy I was at that time, and how much better my life is now. I got the second one to remind me of something very important; and I find myself absentmindedly putting a hand to my ribcage when I’m considering an important decision, so take that for what it’s worth.

I am so, so happy to have both of them.

Words of wisdom – especially since you mentioned it, it makes a HUGE difference to have ink in places that are only visible in (some) bathing suits. It’s just for me and my girlfriend, and I have shown it to some close friends, but otherwise, it’s totally hidden – which is important for, say, black tie work events where I’m wearing a formal gown and a shoulder placement would show.

Also – though over bone is more painful, the pain itself is more “lots of discomfort” than “actual pain”, and is temporary. If you are having trouble, the artist will ALWAYS stop and give you a break.

Go for it and HAVE FUN!!!!

Amanda said...

I have a lily on my upper left butt cheek. I rarely notice it because I have to be checking out my bare bum in a mirror and I don't particularly care to look at my own bum. I absolutely do regret it, though.

On spring break my friend, who was in some rebellious phase that her parents didn't even notice, wanted a tattoo, but was chicken. She kept saying, "I'll get one if you do. I dare you."

I did not want one. I felt, and still feel, it should be something that will hold a lot of meaning for a long time. I had nothing that I felt met that criteria for me. However, she DROVE ME BATTY ALL WEEK. Finally, I said, "Shut up. We're finding a f-ing tattoo parlor and I'll get a tattoo and you will get a tattoo and you will SHUT THE F UP." She insisted I go first.

The lily was the prettiest thing I could find that didn't seem like it would ever be embarrassing. Still, I got it in an easy-to-hide location. It hurt a lot. It was well done - luckily, we accidentally picked a pretty decent artist - but it is a permanent piece of art on my body which has no meaning for me except, "DO NOT BOW TO PEER PRESSURE."

There are some things in my life that do meet my tattoo criteria, but I just don't feel the need to ink them on my skin to keep them close to me or to display them for others' to view. For me, tattoos are like putting up tons of Christmas decorations, really cool - on other people's houses.

Carmen said...

Oooh, I'm looking forward to reading this comments.

I also have always wanted a tattoo. Strangely, though, the thing that I would choose hasn't changed at all over the past 20 years. I would get a strand of DNA circling my left ankle. Why yes, I AM a complete and utter geek with a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics, why do you ask? :)

The thing that mostly stopped me when I was younger was the pain issue. Now that I've had two kids, I think I can probably deal with it (although...ankles=ouchy, as you said). What stops me now is two things:
1) I'm not sure how great an old, wrinkly tattoo looks, so I sort of feel like I should actually have done it when I was 18 rather than now at 38. It's only downhill from here... :)
2) it would have to be the "right" kind of DNA helix. Some images look lovely, others look hideous. I would have really really trust the person to reproduce what I brought them.

Okay, now I'm off to read the comments. Fun!

Lawyerish said...

I don't have any tattoos, but a friend of mine has one in a location I think is really cute and clever: on her big toe. It's a daisy, but I think a lot of things would look cute there, including a wee fox. It's easy for you to see but also very easy to cover up.

Carmen said...

Crap typos. Reading these comments. THESE.

Jossie said...

Delurking for this. I currently have one tattoo, middle to high back, between my shoulder blades. It is my husband's family tatto. It's his last name in Chinese, inside a tribal sun, no color. I added dolphins to mine, as I have always loved dolphins, and it felt like I was bringing a piece of me into it. I got it for my 23rd birthday, 6 months before we got married. Even if something were to happen to our marriage, it would still be our daughter's last name. To me, it felt like someone was dragging the edge of a playing card over my skin. Uncomfortable, but not painful. I have absolutely no regrets, and it has been 4 years. It is super easy to hide or show off, depending on the situation. I will be getting two more soon, one on the top of each foot, and I am told that hurts much more.

vanessa steck said...

Tattoos!
I have, in the order that I got them: a ying yang symbol, with doves nstead of dots and half green/half blue, on the inside of my right ankle. I think I was 17.
2. A small butterfly on the inside of my right wrist--18?
3. the Righteous Babe Records logo on the outside of my left calf.
4. a tattoo that incorporates my sisters and my initials (this might be cool to do w/ your kids, a design that has all the initals woven in) a few inches below my collarbone on the left side,.
5. A large chalice on my right shoulder.
6. the outline of a dog paw on my right side below the collarbone.
Re pain--eh. It varies. Ankle was ok except when going over bone. Wrist wasn't great. Shoulder was mostly OK. Chest was a little painful. Basically the more fat you have in an area the less painful it will be. But either way, its going to hurt. Its certainly bearable, though.

vanessa steck said...

Oh yea--and it is WORTH IT to spend the time and the extra money to find a really good tattoo artist. As someone upthread said, what you design may not work as an actual tattoo, so you need an artist to really figure out with you what your design will translate to. and don't be afraid to go big!

CherylAlanna said...

I have 14 tattoos. The worst, pain wise, was my foot. The easiest was behind my ear (oddly enough, I was expecting that to be very ouchie.) and the back of my neck. I have three on my ankles and they were moderate. The level of pain for each person does vary, of course.

Don't drink before getting tattooed. You will bleed more.

The best thing I can recommend is find an artist you think you might be want to go to (a lot of shops will have websites with email address available.) and open up a dialogue. Tell them your ideas and listen to their suggestions. A reputable shop will not give you tattoo that won't work nicely. Placement is important. :)

Jess said...

When my now 17month old was born, she was sick, and we didn't know what was wrong. She ended up being diagnosed with epilepsy, but there were some other things, and for a long time there wasn't much in the way of happy. But, we always had hope. We always had hope that she'd be okay, that she'd be healthy.

I had the words "Fragile Hope" tattooed on my lower back. Yes, it's what a lot of people call a tramp stamp, but I like the location because the skin there doesn't stretch at all. I love it. I wouldn't change it for anything.

I'm getting another one, a small dove on my forearm, for the same reason, except that this one will be visible.

It hurt like hell. The worst was when he went near my spine and it hit the nerves, but it was a big tattoo so it took awhile. In spite of the pain, I loved it and want more.

Clarabella said...

Ach, I almost missed this b/c I was out of town. Now, where to begin...I have 7 tattoos. The first 4 I got within 6 mos of each other from Halloween '04 on. It was pre-baby & Philly & I were in our honeymoon phase, & we love tattoos & went on a few whims. Of those 4, I would not get one, move one & go to a different artist for all of them. Therein lies my greatest piece of advice, choose the artist well. You want to look at their work & you want to make sure they will actually give you what you want.
So...my last tattoo was the cover of a significant (to me) book, Ben Marcus's _Notable American Woman_, & I got it on my shoulder & I love it. I have the words "boundless love" in typewriter script on the inside of my right arm right below the inside of my elbow, from one of my favorite lines of poetry by one of my favorite poets: Frank O'Hara: "I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love."
By far, though, my most significant is the cursive "L" on the inside of my left wrist, for my son Liam, & around the "L" is the constellation of he Pleiades, within which is the star Maia, which represents his birth month May. The constellation is a bit complicated, but I have a thing for stars. Also, Maia in the constellation is green, the color of May & his birthstone, the emerald.
Of Pain, the wrist & inner arm didn't hurt at all. My first on my lower back hurt like a female dog (in all caps!). Other than that, the one that involved tattooing over the front of my pelvis & the one on my ribs hurt the very worst. Shoulder was middle pain. None of them were anything compared to labor contractions & childbirth, so...Ha. I think someone explained it like a bee sting with the pinch but no sting, & I think that's pretty accurate, except sometimes, with the needle going fast & thick, it feels like 40 bee stings in one little area.
I cannot WAIT to see when you get it!
(I am going to tweet you a photo b/c I am too tired to figure out how to link it on here. Long day.)

Mickey said...

I've been reading your for a while and this is the first time I've commented. Great post! Mine is Mickey Mouse, b/c it's my namesake. It's to my right of my left hip bone, slightly above my pelvic line. I chose the location b/c I can see it when I want, show it when I want and still cover it during every day life. The only significance in the timing is that I got in in college w/ my then crush, now husband. He got one too. If we had kids, pregnancy would not be kind to Mickey, but since that probably won't happen, it's been ok in the 15+ years since. Ask me again when I'm 80. I've had to have the colors retouched once b/c they faded. Yellow shoes do not stay yellow, nor does white face stay white. I'm glad I got one that is my name b/c that's unchanging. My husband got one that was trendy at the time, but lame now. Sucker.

PinkieBling said...

Mine is on my lower back, just slightly above normal "tramp stamp" territory. I was born on the Big Island of Hawaii, on the fall equinox. That night, there was also a full moon, and an erupting volcano on the island. My parents chose Mahina (ma-hee-nuh), for my middle name, which is the Hawaiian word for moon. So, my tattoo is of a full moon above an erupting volcano. It's very colorful and I think it's beautiful - but I don't see it constantly, so I don't get sick of it. It's never visible in work/dressy occasions, but it's pretty easy to show someone by just lifting my shirt a touch in the back. I got it shortly after my 23rd birthday - no special significance except that my birthday falls on a 23rd, and 23 is my favorite number.It was more annoying than painful, but I took a lortab before the appointment. :) The worst part of the whole experience - by far - was The Horrible Itching as it healed.

PinkieBling said...

Oh, and it's coming up on 11 yrs old (my navel piercing could get its own driver's license this fall, OMFG!!!), and I still love it. When you find something truly meaningful to you, go for it! You can totally kick a tatoo's ass. ;-)

Tara said...

In high school I was convinced I would be a music minister. I thought, well, if I am NOT a music minister, I will surely still be singing in church every Sunday. So when I was 18 I got a cross with music notes on my ankle (right behind the bone).

Uh. I'm not a music minister and I don't sing in church either. And haven't for many years. In 2009 I had my cross covered with an angel, in honor of my first child. The first tattoo just tickled, but the second one really hurt on my ankle bone. Not more than a c-section recovery though. Or labor.

Just a few weeks ago I had my daughter's name tattooed on my wrist in my husband's handwriting. I figure even if my husband and I aren't together forever as we hope to be, Eriana will always be my daughter. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would, but was fine later that same day.

Next I plan to get daisies on my foot. They are my favorite flower, my birth flower, and my sister and I share a birth month (April) and want to get coordinating tattoos of our birth flower. I hear the foot hurts worst.

I really like my tattoos. Even my original one, I liked a lot at the time, though I didn't identify with it for very long.

Good luck!

Jen said...

I have long considered getting a tattoo. What I want it a flower for the birth month of each of my children plus a little flower bud for each of my surrogate children. I think it would be very pretty. The problem is that every part of my body that could act as a canvas has in some way or another been destroyed by my relentless child birthing. Everything on me droops or has has stretch marks or is just plain flabby and gross. I could get the prettiest tattoo in the world and no one is going to want to see it if it's located anywhere on my body. So my plan is to wait till I am 100% certain I am done having babies THEN have a boob job where I get the girls cut back by half and then lifted nicely and THEN get a pretty flower tattoo on the upper chest area leading into the front of my shoulder. I will keep you informed of all progress. Don't expect updates soon since I'm going to try to get pregnant again in a couple of months.

Misty said...

•A heart made up of vines and small flowers
•I picked it off the wall at the tatoo parlor. I was young and stupid, what can I say?
•High up on the outter portion of my left thigh.
•I was young so I methodically looked at the older women's bodies in my gene pool to see what spots were likely to gain weight/get distorted by pregnancy, etc. Plus, I wanted to be able to hide it at will.
•Timing: I was legal to do it without my mother's permission. :)
•I'm glad I have it and I would like another. I do wish I had picked a better design. Something more "me" and less generic.
•I am so glad I thought so carefully about position. After three pregnancies and 60 lbs of weight gain, it is still unaltered.
•That there are more tatoo designs than what one can find on the walls of the parlor.

Oh! And I wanted to add that I have a good friend who, when asked about tatooing her children's names, she said, "Hell no! What if they grow up to be assholes?" Which, you know, could happen to any of us.

Anonymous said...

I have one.
It's a black celtic circle design.
I chose it because it's pretty and complex - I looked through a lot of books until I found one I really liked.
It's just above my inner ankle - and no, it was not anymore painful than a tattoo anywhere else.
I like my ankles and I can still hide it in pants.
My (ex) husband and I got the same tattoo...at the same time...but...it doesn't have his name or anything - and as far as I know...my NEW husband has not noticed my ex is sporting the same tattoo...so all is good!

I've been thinking of getting another one - colorful on my inner wrist - perhaps a bird (African Roller Bird), because they are pretty, and from South Africa - like my husband.

I totally think you should get one.

J.

The Diniwilks said...

Your comment about Paul vs. the kids totally made me laugh, because I have been having the same thoughts about whether or not my hubs should be included if I get a tattoo representing my family. Not that I EXPECT anything like that to happen, but the fact that it's a possibility means that I'm a little hesitant.

I have a little design I drew on my front left hip (I got it when I was 19, I'm 32 now). I figured I'd be less likely to get sick of it if a) it was my own "art" and b) it was a design instead of something that could become dated. I like the placement because it is hidden 99% of the time, but regret it because my pants constantly rub so it faded faster than it should have. It hurt, but not THAT bad. You gave birth 4 times, you can do it!

Kendra said...

This is not my tattoo story, but my mother's. My mother who at the age of 47 decided to get a tattoo.

Her sister was dying of cancer. One day while sitting around visiting, the idea of getting a tattoo for her came up. She loved the color pink, and elephants, so a design was made of a little pink elephant (with the trunk up, it's good luck) with a halo. Well, my aunt passed away and the day of the visitation 4 of her sisters, her daughter and her best friend all went together to the tattoo parlor and got the little pink elephant tattoo'd on their right shoulder. (Granted they weren't thinking straight as there was lots of hugging going on at the visitation and everyone was still sore!). I watched them get the tattoos and it seemed painful, but not unbearable.

Obviously this tatto has great personal significance for those who got it, they chose their shoulder so it would be like my aunt was sitting on their shoulder.

Aubrey said...

I have a tattoo on my left foot of the word "passion" in all lower-case letters. I first thought of getting the tattoo when I was 15 or sixteen - I knew that I wanted something on my foot, and I knew that I wanted a word rather than a picture. I absolutely love literature and writing, so it was a given. I love the concept of passion - being completely enamored of someone, some place, some thing. And I think that a life without passion is a pretty dull life, no?

I choose to get the word in an old-style courier font, like the print from a typewriter. This tied into my love of reading and writing. I actually downloaded one from a custom font site, printed it up, and took it to the artist who transferred it to my skin. The placement is at an angle on the out side of my left foot. If I'm wearing a pair of flipflops, the left strap acts as an underline to the tattoo. The whole word itself is the exact size of a standard bandaid, so I can easily cover it up if I need to.

Like I said, I first decided to get this in high school. I waited until I was 21, and I'd never wavered on what I wanted. I'm 26 now, and I still absolutely love it. It's a constant reminder to keep going at life with a healthy passion for everything, it's an interesting conversation starter, and it looks pretty hot with a pair of black stilettos.

I'm glad that I chose the font myself - the tattoo shop I used originally tried to get me to do it in an olde English font, which I would NOT like at all.

The only downside to the tattoo is that occasionally I'll come across a pair of shoes that I love, but they'll obscure the tattoo. Really, though, this isn't a big deal.

It didn't hurt (just some pinching), and I'd always heard that a foot tattoo would be painful. Maybe the side is fleshier than the top? It was also pretty cheap - maybe around thirty or forty dollars?

-Aubrey

pantherpaw said...

I have 6 tattoos and they all are meaningful to me.

1. Seven dolphins circling my right ankle. I got this after living in Hawaii for 8 years, and during that time I actually swam with dolphins in the wild.
2. A large (5"x6") and very detailed cougar head on my upper left thigh. I have always had a thing for cats, especially big cats, especially cougars. I got this as a college graduation present to myself (at 38yrs old)
3. A small solid black panther walking down the top of my left foot. This one was to symbolize me: moving forward after my divorce. It was probably the most painful of all.
4. A dove/vine/flower/name that I designed myself. It's a memorial to my sister. I got it 3 years after she died and it's on my upper left breast. Some of it was pretty painful, due to the location.
5. A large fairy with wings that covers the back of my right calf. I got this when my first granddaughter was born. It's the only color tat I have.
6. A small horse's head with flying mane on the back of my neck. Very personal/private meaning. This one hurt the least... in fact I nearly fell asleep while it was being done.

I still love all my tattoos and have no regrets. I got the first one in 1995 and the most recent in 2007. All are in locations that I can easily show them off, or keep them covered. (I work in a hospital and we're not allowed to have visable tattoos. Mine are all covered by my scrubs.)

I think it's really important to find a good tattoo artist. If you see someone with a great tat, ask who did it. Go to various shops and look at examples of their work. Don't drink beforehand... you may bleed more. Yes, it will be painful, like being scraped with a needle, but if you can birth that many babies you can take the pain, lol.

Linda said...

This has been great because I'm trying to come up with a 2nd tattoo design - something about my three daughters. Maybe their birthstones? But I'm dithering about location. Currently thinking shoulder blade, but also considering foot. I need to find an artist to talk to, I think.

I currently have the sign of woman (a circle with a plus sign under it - the equivalent man sign is a circle with an arrow). I got it at 18 and am now 34 and no regrets. I AM a woman and I'm very proud to be a woman. I think we women are awesome! I knew it was something that would be applicable for the rest of my life.

It's on the left side of my lower back/buttcheek area. I can show it off, but you aren't going to see it without my knowledge.

One of the saddest tattoo stories I know was a mom who lost her 12 year old daughter in an accident. The next time I saw her, she had her daughter's name tattooed on the top of her wrist with flowers connecting all around her wrist, like a bracelet.

Katie said...

I hemmed and hawed over a tattoo for a YEAR. So at the ripe old age of 19 I took my self down to that tattoo shop finally picked one of the three designs I have been stressing over. All of which had no meaning what-so-ever. So I got a purple flower tramp stamp. But in my defense people weren't tramp stamping it up back in the day. So 10 years later I dont hate it, its easily hidden and dont see it everyday.

jessica fantastica said...

DO NOT get a tattoo in the summer. That is my only recommendation as they are hardly permanent anymore. But onto your questions:
My first was a silly little line design on my left breast that 2 of my other friends also have. I was 19, wanted a tattoo and thought these girls would be my BFFs forever. Not so, but no regrets.
My second was from a CD by the band Soulfly. It has a tattoo and the words In Loving Memory Dana on it and my cousin Dana had just died. I put it on the back of my neck for no particular reason and only the image, no words. I wish I'd gone for color but that can be done later.
My third was for my 21st birthday, the year of the dragon. As I considered myself still a baby I got a baby dragon on the right side of my lower back almost hip area. I wish I'd chosen a better shop.
My fourth was a bracelet of stars, 7 of them as it was my 27th birthday. My most favorite and was designed by my tattoo artist.
My last was done by the same artist but is not as good of quality. It is hearts instead of stars but was done at a convention rather than his shop. I won't be going back to him which is a shame since he did so well on the stars.
Good luck on your tattoo decision and I hope you got some helpful info from me!

Becky said...

I'm late to the discussion, and I don't have any tattoos, but I want to comment anyway. My sister has a lot of tattoos; "Only God can judge me" on her back/shoulder; coy fish on her arm; a pinup girl on her side. My favorite tattoo of hers, though, is on her wrists. She has 2 children, and she had their first and middle names tattooed in a pretty script around her wrists. You could maybe fit all of your children around both wrists, if you just did first names. It looks kind of like a bracelet.

Anyway, I thought I would share. Let us know what you decide!

Christina said...

First tattoo is three small stars on my right foot. Easily hidden by most shoes and sandal straps. I got it when I was 18 because I had been wanting a tattoo for about two or three years. I used to draw the stars on my foot all the time. My mom suggested I get it hennaed first which I think is FANTASTIC advice. The henna stays on 1-2 weeks, so enough time for you to really consider, sleep on it, and get used to it. It helps get comfortable with size/location. I'm really not sure how or why I came up with it or it's location. The first time I got it the guy just used one needle and it hurt. Not badly, but it hurt and it bled after and it was barely visible so I had to get it done again. I went to a different shop and the guy said that 1 needle is bad b/c something w/ the surface tension of your skin? So he used 3 needles and it hurt a LOT less and is bold and awesome. I have heard that a lot of hand/foot tattoos do have to be touched up or done twice b/c they're in such bony areas with thin skin.

Second tattoo is a small green leaf on my right hip. I was at the tattoo parlor with my friend who was getting a tattoo. I really don't know why, but I fell in love with this little leaf in their catalog of work so my friend and I both got it on our hips. Again, easily hidden. I think I was 22 at the time?

So-- been under the needle 3x for 2 tattoos. Both I still love. They're very small and also neutral things - stars, leaf. Not really something to look back and change your mind about.

The next one I'm going to be this summer hopefully is my current last name. I'm getting married in December and taking his last name. I like the tradition of taking his last name, but still some part of me feels weird for abandoning my current last name. So I'm going to dither over a font I like and have it tattooed somewhere on my trunk- maybe on my side, by my ribs? Not sure of location yet, but I know it's a tattoo I want and wouldn't regret.

Oh! The first tattoo first time I did pop some anti anxiety pills beforehand but that was more just for anticipation. Honestly it doesn't hurt that bad. I'm a huge wimp and none of the three times even made my eyes water. I honestly think the pain from a papercut is worse than the pain from a tattoo. HOWEVER I do think it's important to mention that the 2nd or 3rd healing day for me has always been the worst. I guess b/c you have to sit still and tense for so long, my MUSCLES hurt on the 2nd or 3rd day -- like that pain after you do a really hard work out. That's about the worst of it, though.

Swistle said...

Christina- Ooo, neat idea for surname tattoo! I think I might have it done on my wedding ring finger, for underneath the ring.

Pudge said...

Tattoos are surprisingly addictive. I got my first during the first semester of my freshman year of college, and then proceeded to get another approximately every six months through my undergraduate career (and pierced my ears three more times and got a bellybutton ring, which has since been removed since I have a lot more belly and a lot less button).

Here is a listing of the tattoos and locations, in the order I got them done:
-black spade on the inside of my right ankle
-black "tribal style" pegasus on the extreme lower right side of my back (not quite low enough to be on my butt)
-black "tribal style" rose on the extreme lower left side of my back
-two small dolphins jumping from a wave on my right shoulder blade (the wave was added about a year after the dolphins were done)
-Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) at the top of my right thigh, right where my leg joins my torso
-Hobbes at the top of my left thigh
-a fist-sized Celtic knot in the center of my lower back

The Celtic knot is by far my favorite. One meaning of Celtic knotwork is a representation of the eternity of God (originally pre-Christian and adapted accordingly), as the knot has no beginning and no end. The knot itself is really pretty; it's done in black line with the "overs and unders" done in purple and green.

Of all the tattoos, none of them were painful beyond all belief or anything like that, but they did all sting quite a bit. The worst two were the ankle and middle of the lower back. The Celtic knot took almost two hours to do, and it vibrated up and down my spine the whole time.

I am considering getting another tattoo. My mother passed away a few years ago, and I was thinking about memorializing her with another Celtic tattoo, this time a cross with knotwork in it. I would like to incorporate her initials into it somehow. I am thinking about getting this on my left shoulder blade (as I am running out of other places :/).

Your Personal Troll said...

http://tatt.ly/ is a site for temporary tattoos - that might be one way to try things out.


Best of luck.

My word verify is "chessed" - I love chess, but it's also a misspelling of "cheesed".