When you have zero tattoos and are planning your very first tattoo, the process can be overwhelming. I am sure you’ve thought about it a million times “I’m getting a tattoo”. Then suddenly fear settles in and you become hesitant.
Sometimes the process can be intimidating. The anticipation naturally causes anxiety. You’ve considered, and reconsidered. After you’ve done your homework, sketched your idea on paper – or printed off Google, found your artist and scheduled, it’s time to go get some ink.
Learn from my mistake. On the day of my very first session, I didn’t stay hydrated and after a little while, I was hungry. That in addition to my first tattoo being on my back, needless to say the pain was something new to me! Despite my optimism, dizziness hit me like a train on a track.
Before I could tell the artist what was happening, I passed out – I hope this doesn’t discourage you. I realized I needed food. After a quick break to recover, I was ready to finish. Once the session was finally over, though I obviously loved the design and felt amazing about myself, I was traumatized by the pain and told the artist I wouldn’t go back there ever again. Little did I know!
Shockingly to me, a year or so later, I was back and got a half leg sleeve – go figure right? The moral of this quick story is to remind you to eat before your session, and stay hydrated during it. To avoid passing out like me on your first session, I strongly suggest bringing some light snacks (fruits etc.) and water – you will definitely want to stay hydrated and keep your sugar levels right.
Distractions are a fantastic tool as well. What has worked for me in the past is talking to my artist – or whoever, meditating, yogic breaths, and of course, listening to music. Any of these options can help take your attention away from the pain.
What about that pain?
I know you’re thinking it right now “how much will it hurt”? And “what does the pain compare with”? Look, yes, it will hurt to some degree – to what degree is a very individual thing. I know some people who just breeze through getting inked, with little pain at all. However, thee are some locations almost everybody doesn’t like to get tattooed, such as the lower back or ribcage. There’s nothing you can do. Well, almost nothing! Many shops offer numbing creams/ pomades. You’ll still be able to feel something, but there will be way less stinging and discomfort overall.
Pain is relative though and we all feel pain in different ways. How can I describe the pain and compare it with something? Well, think of when you’re sunburnt. Now, say you have a cat. And your cat scratches your burn… there, that’s the ‘stinging’ feels like.
To ink or not to ink.
Be confident. Stop putting road blocks and finding excuses and reasons why not to get a tattoo. Is it the fear of the needles? Or you can’t decide on what design you want? If you love the art of tattooing, then you might pick something that you’re not emotionally attached to. On the other hand, you might want to get something that will always be meaningful.
Today, I have 20 tattoos and every single time I get a new one the feeling of anxiety remains. I try and remember that like many things in life, nothing lasts forever, including the pain and stinging and burning sensation of being inked. Plus, when it’s all over and you get to look at the finished piece, and it’s a glorious feeling!
You will be in love with it, and will be immediately assured that any pain you were exposed to was worth it. The design was everything you’d imagined it to be. I recently read a book about how we have the tendency of leaning towards fear. Fear can absolutely control you and prevent you from doing the things you really want to do. Remember to take care of your ink. Ask your tattooist for what after care cream/ pomade she or he recommends and go with that.
Whatever is the reason keeping you away from your first tattoo, get over it and go get some ink. Think of how it will make you feel sexy, prettier, whatever… Everything about it will be worth it.