Diary of a First Tattoo
Today I went for my first ever tattoo. It was a big deal for me, made bigger by the fact that I’m the sort of person who worries about every single thing that could go wrong as if all of them could happen at once. But it was also a big deal because I’d wanted one for so long and had begun to think I’d die before I ever got my nerve up.
So, I hit my interim target on the diet and used that as an excuse to book myself in at the studio I’d had recommended. I chose a design of a small black cross, thinking I would test out my reaction on something small and work my way up. Very appropriately, I got the appointment on Ash Wednesday, which felt right – to be marked with a painful black cross on a day of penance.
Last night and this morning I was so anxious and afraid that I almost suggested to myself that I didn’t have to go through with it. I didn’t sleep, and I arrived at the studio, thankfully quite early (10.30am), in a state of nerves. However, I passed myself off as a normal person while he was applying the transfer of my design to my shoulder. Then I was distracted by the setting up of the needles (removed from sterile wrapping in my presence.) They look huge! I mean, way bigger than sewing machine needles. But they’re actually a bundle of smaller needles all contained together. I’m not sure if that makes it better.
After bracing myself for what would come, I was surprised, relieved and even strangely disappointed that it wasn’t really what I would consider painful at all. I think he was very good. I had told him I was ridiculously sensitive and had a low pain threshold, and he started off very slowly, with quick touches that I didn’t really start to feel before they were over. Even when I’d relaxed a bit and he’d got a bit more heavy handed, he’d always stop just before ‘that’s strange and hot and maybe even uncomfortable’ crossed the line into ‘that’s painful.’
When it was done, I had a look at it in the mirror and absolutely loved the look of it. Though I suspect now that I was in the kind of elevated mood where I would have loved anything. I certainly was on a bit of an endorphin high for an hour or two afterwards. However – word of warning – when the high wore off about one and a half hours after getting it, I then felt like I had a mild case of shock afterwards. I felt shaky and sick for at least the next three hours.
Anyway, he covered it in clingfilm and told me to wash it in 2 hours, then re-cover it, and to repeat that every 8 hours thereafter. I’m to keep the clingfilm on for the first two days, and then use ointment to keep it soft thereafter until it’s finished healing in about 3 weeks. That way he says it should not scab at all. Watch this space to find out if it works like that!
I took this very bad photo immediately after washing and recovering it the first time
(What, it was hard to photograph my own shoulder! I had to hold the camera upside down and look in the viewfinder in a mirror.)
Right now it appears to be seeping black liquid under the clingfilm. I hope this is normal. I have Googled on the subject and find that seeping plasma is normal, but I always thought plasma was clear/yellow rather than black. Hope I’m not losing ink, but again, watch this space tomorrow to see how that turns out 🙂 I thought I would update each day on the progress, as I haven’t been able to find anyone else who’s done so and it could be useful to other tattoo newbies.