I was sat on a train to Derby, sipping my coffee and watching the fields fly by the window. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and I pulled it out to read the email. It ended with “Hope it all goes well and I can’t wait to see it! You’re so brave!!! xxx”. I smiled, but I could still feel the nerves fluttering in my stomach. Even though I had been looking forward to this appointment for the three months since I booked it, its significance was only just starting to hit me.
After today there would be no more “well I might get a tattoo someday”. No more vague non-committal flirtations with the idea. I would have something permanently inked onto my skin, and it would be something everyone will notice. Although I had been advised to get something small and discrete to start with, I didn’t want something small and discrete. The piece I had been daydreaming about for the last year or so would take up most of my upper arm. If I’m going to start doing things that I’ve always wanted to, I need to get exactly what I’ve always wanted.
I came across Vicky Morgan via Thinks and Ink and immediately liked her work (plus her interest in Disney, Harry Potter and Robin Hood). I couldn’t be happier with the design she drew, based on something I doodled in a meeting at work, and the way she put me at ease with her assurances that it’s never as painful as you think it’s going to be.
It definitely wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be, and as the two and a half hours went on the thing that was making me most uncomfortable was the fact that I was missing lunch (note to self: should have brought snacks). Having said that, I was certainly glad when it was finished. I had my arm wrapped in clingfilm and was sent on my way with instructions to buy antibacterial hand wash and Lush’s Dream Cream.
I didn’t have much of a chance to look at it for the first day since it was mostly wrapped up. But now I can’t stop looking, and I can’t help but grin every time I do. I love everything about it and couldn’t be prouder of myself for finally getting it done. I’m not going to get too philosophical. I mean, it’s just a tattoo, plenty of people have them. But it does represent something to me. Perhaps most obviously, the words and pictures themselves represent the things that are most valuable to me (in the first drawings there was also a cup of tea with the word “nourish”, a castle with the word “dream” and a rose with the word “love” but it was starting to get a bit unwieldy). It also represents me taking control of my body and, in particular, a part of my body that I’ve always struggled with body image wise. Finally, I guess it also represents a bit of bravery on my part for actually having it done. Or at least, a certain strength of mind. Because despite what my parents will inevitably say when I eventually tell them (I’m not that brave) I know that I won’t ever regret it.