I never thought about getting a tattoo, they looked all right on other people, but not for me. That’s what I always thought anyway. I could imagine having a tattoo, and being in my seventies, the wrinkly picture that came into my mind was not a happy thought. It was a sunny evening when we were passing the tattoo shop, “Hey, I think I will get a tattoo,” I found myself saying to my friend. “OK,” I remember him saying with a puzzled look on his face.
I was excited at first; stepping into the shop I saw all the pictures on the surroundings walls. I happened to glance in the back, and saw someone sitting having a tattoo done, the sound of the needle wasn’t loud, but a little unnerving. I admit I did start to get nervous at that point. I focused more on the pictures on the wall instead. I decided to get something small, figuring it wouldn’t hurt as much, or at least it wouldn’t hurt for as long.
Having decided it would be on my right arm, just below my shoulder, I paid and took a seat. The longer I waited, the more nervous I was becoming. The tattooist was friendly, but I still didn’t feel at ease. I almost jumped out of my seat when he started spraying water on my upper arm. The artist started inking, and I recall saying I would never do something like this again. The tattoo artist smiled and said “It’s an addiction, once you get one you come back for more.” I smiled politely with tears as I couldn’t utter a word.
Throughout my adolescence, I questioned everything, as is common at that age. One of my favourite things to ask was, “What does that tattoo mean?” It still surprises me how many people don’t have an answer. I understand the desire to decorate our body and celebrate our individuality, but I always wanted my tattoo to have deep personal meaning as well.
I have mostly out grown the Mickey Mouse Phase and often thought of getting it removed. But I wouldn’t dare. Every time I look on my arms I remember that day. I will keep it there for all time and whenever anyone asks about it, I smile and tell them it was a gift from my mom. To this day, I don’t regret getting a tattoo and receive constant comments. In fact, I got another one and receive constant comments on the rose that is on the top of my right wrist, serving as a constant reminder to me that I can find beauty although surrounded by many thorns in this world. I am not 150 pounds anymore. I am not the grungy, wild child I was. I am a father in fact. I am happy I got my tattoos. They are uniquely me and a great way to express myself. In the end, what a memorable experience this turned out to be.