I thought it would be nice to start up again and share with you all about my first tattoo! I’ve wanted to get one since I was a teenager, but hadn’t found the right art (or even idea) of what I would want on my body forever.
I am always immensely interested in other people’s tattoos, so I hope they don’t mind too much when I ask about them or what they mean. I remember I was getting food somewhere and I noticed writing on the guy’s arm. I asked what it was about and he explained the story behind it. What struck me was how he said something just clicked for him; he knew it was right. I nodded thoughtfully, wondering if that would ever happen for me.
Thankfully I was patient as I contemplated the idea of having something so permanent on my skin. A younger impulsive version of me might have jumped at any pretty tattoo. But I kept my eye out for designs and began a Pinterest board to marvel at other people’s art. As I began seriously considering ideas, I became more aware of people around me. I realized tattoos are much more common than I initially thought.
After following a few artists on Instagram, I began keeping a genuine lookout for anything that might jump out at me. One day, it happened. An artist from El Salvador, Sonia, posted art that she herself was offering as a tattoo. It was a girl hugging a heart. I fell in love immediately, even tagging my sister and saying I needed one.
I took a screenshot and saved it. I held it in the back of my head, wondering if this was it. For a few weeks I thought about it on and off, then realized I could ask friends for their input. I know it’s something personal and something I would want for myself, but I also needed other people’s opinions to help form my own.
Everyone was super supportive! I explained about how I wanted the tattoo to be a reminder of self love, how it would be placed on the same arm where so many of my healed self harm cuts live. However, the moment I knew it was going to happen for real was when I met up with a friend. She had a few tattoos I had noticed, so I knew she would be a good person to ask. I showed her the art and her immediate reaction was, “It’s perfect!!” and directed me to a tattoo shop with the artist who did her own work.
I knew right then that I was going to get this tattoo. It had clicked in the way the guy talked about. This tattoo was going to be an expression of my journey with bipolar disorder and the immense amount of healing I have gone through to get to this point. It was a decision I took lots of time to make, which I really think makes it all the more special.
It hurt, if I’m being honest. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely is something you have to earn. My tattoo is not detailed and only took about 20 minutes to finish; I was happy with it the moment I saw it for the first time. The artist did a fantastic job with super clean lines and it looks exactly as I hoped it would.
Right now the tattoo is healing and scabbing and peeling, as I’m adjusting to the realization this art is going to be with me for the rest of my life. I’m taking very very good care of her. It’ll remind me to take good care of myself too, while remembering all the work I’ve done for myself thus far. I can’t wait till it’s healed and I can fully show it off!
I’ll include a close-up picture here: