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True Story Thursday: what I learned from getting a tattoo.

A few months ago, following my 30th birthday I did something I never thought I would do. I got a tattoo! This was surprising not only to me, but to friends and family who know me as generally traditional, and straight & narrow.

The idea came up over dinner with my husband. Since turning 30, I wanted to do something a little unlike me, something fun, but not permanent. Something that made me feel a little connected to my 20’s. I did not want to cut my hair or skydive, and came up with the idea of getting a funky ear piercing (a tragus piercing to be exact). I figured if I hated it, I could always take it out and it would heal up, just like the belly button piercing I got when I was 18. After quite a few drinks I shared this idea with my husband. I told him I wanted to get the piercing that night. His response… “Ok, sounds good! We should get tattoos too!“. Shocked I unexpectedly responded “let’s do it!“, followed up with “what do we get?”.

Once we arrived at the tattoo and piercing parlor, we were not certain which tattoos we would get, so I started with the piercing first. It was a success, but I would have been damned if I was the first to get a tattoo. So up went the hubs on the tattoo chair, and I immediately saw the look of regret in his face. This was the moment I realized I put myself in a very uncomfortable situation. Since he got a tattoo I could not back down. I reluctantly went ahead and spent ten agonizing minutes having a one-inch tattoo marked permanently to my ankle.

The moment we walked out of the parlor we looked at one another speechless. It did not take long for the silence to turn into an argument about why the other did not stop us from this bad idea. We sat on our front porch for an hour before we went into the house that evening, ashamed of our decision.

The next morning I woke up crying. My husband was online searching for at home remedies to make tiny tattoos disappear(nothing works by the way- duh!). I cried for 3 days. I was so uncomfortable and did not feel like myself. I would NEVER have a tattoo or an untraditional piercing. What had I done? It felt so foreign to me, I felt foreign to me.

It took me about three weeks of reflection as to why I was having such a hard time with the decision I made. When I finally realized what was really eating away at me I started feeling better. I found it was not  the tattoo I was upset about. It was the lack of thought and planning that went into it. I have always prided myself on having things well planned and well thought out. Anything I do (especially anything permanent) I put a lot of thought and effort into and definitely has meaning. (My tattoo does have intentional meaning by the way). It was the most spontaneous and out of my element thing I had ever done in my entire life, and that was what made me uncomfortable. At this moment of realization, I learned things are not so bad without a plan and a little spontaneity. I am still the same person, but with an experience different than my usual. I lived a little out of my comfort zone. Now I have a great memory never forgotten and a story fun to tell.

Each time I look down at my ankle, I smile and see more than what I thought it would mean. I also see a reminder it’s okay to live on (your) edge sometimes, to try something new, to do something without over analyzing, and just be free in the moment. You will not be seeing me do those types of things often, but when I do I will remember the time I got a tattoo and how everything turned out just fine.

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