• Mike Douglas

My first tattoo!


So today happened, and I got my first tattoo!

I am still in a bit of shock about the whole thing hahaha.

For a while now I have wanted to get a tattoo, but I had my doubts. Did I really want it? What would it / I look like? Did I really want to grow old and have a tattoo? Would I hinder my work opportunities?

In truth I kind of still have these questions. However I now also think: yes I want one, I've wanted one for a while, I know what I want and where I want it, maybe I will not live till I'm old, maybe it'll still look bad ass when I'm old (notice which one came first there!), when you interview you have long sleeves.

I believe for me getting a tattoo became something I felt I could hang my hat on so so speak. This for me would be a symbol that I have / am changing. My life has changed, I have changed. As some will know, in the last two years I have 'conformed' much less to 'the man'. You just have to see my hair and the ware my flip flops have gotten to see that.

While this one was a long time in the making it was also showing an sense of spontaneity, in that often I can overthink my way out of going something. This is often really handy as it saves me money, but it can also hold me back.

Anyway the tattoo!

At the start of the summer I had in my mind this would be a great time to get it done. I had time away from my more formal job and it would allow time to attend a weekday appointment. Well, it's fair to say the summer passed with me walking past one of the three tattoo places near me quite a few times. I would work up excuses to not go in like: weekends will be busy, first thing they could be setting up and not ready to have a chat or do a tattoo, maybe later would be good. Then at the end of the day, ooo I think they are about to close (well in the next 30 minutes) so maybe another time.

Well that went on for a few weeks! Once most of the summer had gone I started to feel a greater sense of urgency. Additionally with the recent mental health struggles it felt like an appropriate time to do this. Otherwise maybe I never would.

I finally went in and chatted to the place I had walked past so often. Rob was wry pleasant to talk to, he explained the best thing to do was get two or three images that I liked then discuss it with him. Sounded good, though it was a 7 week wait for an appointment. Mmmm I'm not great at waiting. So I checked out some other places online. I came back with four all with fairly equal reviews on tattoo sites and Facebook. Rob's place had the most reviews, Urban (another local place) didn't have many photos but looked good. I found two others I had I rule out, one looked great with awesome photos but no appointments till late October maybe November. The other looked....not as good. Given this is a tattoo I opted nope. So I messaged the Rob & Urban, both replied with similar costing and info. Rob confirmed I could have mid October, Urban had a slot today or in a couple of weeks. So I opted Urban. While Rob did have more reviews, he had a lot more promotion going on and a better location so I guess that's expected. I had looked on Facebook and both were liked by one or two of my friends (so I took that as a recommendation too).

I was mega excited the day before. I didn't tell anyone I had booked it, until the night before. I told my new friend Laura that night. I was not really nervous at all, though I knew I would be on the day.

Today I put so much thought into my food and drink hahahaha. I was booked in for 1pm so I had a big lunch early, drunk plenty of squash and made sure my phone was charged. On my way there I started to rain, quite a bit. So far to say I had a bit of drying to do once I got there.

Once there I confirmed my design and we went over the exact size and placement of the tattoo. Then ten minutes later I was in the chair!

At this point I was glad I'd done my online reading. I had my water bottle (which I needed!) and my phone. But possibly more importantly I felt comfortable enough to ask for the chair and rest to be moved so I could lay my arm out in a more comfortable way. This made a huge difference, given I had to hold my arm in place for 50 minutes.

After about 10 minutes I had to ask for a short break, I had become a bit woozy and dizzy. I said I was hot, and my tattooist asked if I'd like the fan on. Man that helped big time! After about three or four minutes I was ready to go again. It hadn't been the pain, that wasn't too bad. It was my body's response that I was struggling with. However now armed with a fan (well not armed, it was on the floor) and having drunk some more water I sat there took a couple of photos, sent snapchats and whatsapp messages. There where a few particularly bits that definitely, definitely hurt more. But I guess that's normal on the inside of your arm.

At the end there were two bits I asked to be filled in a little more (glutton for punishment) and that was that. I left armed with some coconut lotion I'm meant to put on two or three times a day - and my new tattoo!

The place I went to was not modern! But that made me feel more relaxed, and that's what I think I needed. The staff there were very friendly and approachable.

I had thought about getting another tattoo too. This other one has been on my mind since early this year, but I'm not quite sure on the design or placement so I decided against it this time. Plus two on my first go seems a bit excessive.

I have been asked by Sarah and Laura (still the only two people that know about my tattoo...until now) what did you get and why?

Well, I've told you a little about why 'a' tattoo. But this one specifically, has a very simple start. While in Melbourne a few years ago, I saw a girl on a tram with a triangle tattoo and I just loved it instantly. I can't remember if hers was the same way up as mine or not, but it looked great. I wanted it. I thought about it while in Australia. But 'that me' wouldn't get a tattoo. The same concerns and doubts exist in this me. But something has changed, well a lot has changed including me! I want to say yes to more, do more, experience more. The fact I conform less and am generally less stable probably also plays a part haha.

It has also crossed my mind that I view this as more acceptable because of that time in Australia where tattoos are more common and accepted. But I believe a lot more of it could very well be that I view it as an acceptable way to self harm. Now this could cause some disagreement, I am not saying tattoos are self harming, I am simply trying to explain and explore my own mind and the way it works. I have not focused on this line of thought as I do not believe it to be beneficial, true or not, I choose to focus on the inspirational decision and action I took to do something I wanted. Something I would previously have been to scared or would have over thought and not done.

So I am pleased. Even if my arm does still feel sore.

As always, no proof reading just pure thought straight to the blog. Hope you like it.

#mentalhealth #depression #episodes #tattoo #selfharm #summerplans

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