Tattoo Tag: The Meaning of my Ink + Advice For First-Timers


So this post is one that has been on my mind for a while. I’ve always found joy in explaining the meaning behind my tattoos to whoever asks, and I think making a post solely around them is an amazing idea. I will also include personal advice and experiences for those who are interested in getting tatted, but never had the courage or don’t know what they want.

As a kid, I've always known that I wanted tattoos. I always thought it was dope to express yourself through permanent art. I'm honestly not sure where my love for ink came from, my dad only has one big one and my mom does not really care for tattoos. She doesn't have any and never plans on getting one; which I respect because everyone has their own opinions. Plus that’s my mama. But anyways, I’ve always thought people who had tattoos were dope and great at self expression.

My very first tattoo experience occurred on October 3rd, 4th, or 5th of 2014. I don’t remember exactly but I do know that it was the day before my boyfriend and I went off to separate colleges. We were both extremely sad that our plans to attend the same school didn't happen, so per his idea, we went to get matching tattoos on our wrists. When he mentioned it, I was beyond shocked because Mic is not a tattoo type of guy. So we went out around 8 pm, and went straight to the tattoo shop. Honestly thinking back about the whole thing, I was not one bit nervous. Usually when I feel like something is a bad idea I can feel it in my gut. I freak out, my stomach hurts, I can't eat or anything. But with this, I didn't feel an ounce of fear or a second-guess type of moment. We got our tattoos at the same exact time, by two different artists. He was at the first booth and I was at the second; he was able to see me from where I was but I had to turn a little to see him. But we kept looking at each other and smiling, I didn't feel any pain really, but he did, (punk, lol). But overall, it was an amazing experience. We ended up getting our anniversary with a lock and key. I have the lock, he has the key, and it's something we have to cherish between just the two of us. On a pain scale of 1-5 I give this placement a 2.

My second tattoo, I got on 4th of July weekend in 2015. I came home from work, all my roommates were gone that weekend except one, (because we both were about that shmoney) and I remember we were talking about how bored we were going to be because everyone else had plans and we only had one day off at the same time. One of us came up with the idea to get tattoos THAT night, but we called the shop and they didn't have any openings. So we scheduled for a couple days later, and brought our other roommate with us. Honestly, at the time I made the appointment, I had no idea what I wanted. I knew I wanted it on my shoulder and I knew I wanted something big (shout out to my inspo Jhene Aiko and Kehlani). I knew I didn't want a rose because everyone and their mama has a rose tattoo. As I said, Kehlani was my inspiration for this tattoo and so when I saw the sunflower, I knew that was it for me. Sunflowers represent the sun, and they symbolize longevity and loyalty. When we got to the stop, everyone was getting something different. I was getting my sunflower on my shoulder, T was getting a songbird on her forearm I believe, and P was getting a rose on her lower stomach. The entire time I was getting worked on, I did not budge, flinch, any of that. This tattoo, and this placement is probably the most detailed that I have but it's the one that hurt the least surprisingly. On a pain scale from 1-5, I give this one a 1.

My third lil baby came in March(?) 2016. This one I went with a former friend/roommate and her friends. But anyways, I've always wanted to get my grandfathers name tattoo'd on me. My grandfather passed away when I was 5 years old, but I've always felt close to him and from stories I've been told, my feelings were accurate. I didn't want just any script with this tattoo, I specifically wanted it in my grandmother's handwriting. I got my cousin to get her to write down his whole name, including his nickname with his birth year and the year of his passing; but when she found out what it was for, she didn't want me to get it. I don't listen and I got it anyway. Now this one, I can't even lie to y'all, this one had ya girl in pain. I don't know if this is just a sensitive part of your body or what, but the inner arm HURTS. On a pain scale of 1-5, I give this one a 4. But no regrets, it came out exactly how I pictured and the artist traced my grandmother's handwriting to the T.

Now, tattoo #4 came in June 2017. Anyone that really knows me, knows about my adoration for the late rapper Tupac Shakur. Yes, I am a HUGE Pac stan. While doing a school project, I was able to dig deeper into Pac's poetry vs. his music and of course I fell in love with his most popular poem "The Rose That Grew from Concrete". Originally I wanted to get "Tupac cares if don't nobody else care" but Mic wasn't feeling it, so I decided to get the final line from the poem, "Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared", wrapping around my arm. I chose that placement because I don't really see many people with tattoos like that. I decided to place a rose between the beginning and end of it just to add something extra to the tattoo, because without it, it would have been a little plain. On a pain scale from 1-5, I give this tattoo a 3. Only certain parts of my arm really hurt, other than that I was okay. I think I love this tattoo because of the thought and creativity I put into it.

Now, my last and final tattoo (so far, still thinking), came in September 2017. With this one, I went with my current roommates/friends to a tattoo party. Meaning there was a lot of people there who were also getting tattooed and the artist usually sets their prices a little lower. I DO NOT RECOMMEND GOING TO JUST ANY TATTOO PARTY! But the guy who was tattooing this one has done almost all, if not all of my roommate's tattoos and a lot of people in her family. Plus I watched how he worked and changed needles after every tattoo and all. This was very professional, very clean. Don't just go to any person expecting them all to do the same because some people just don't care, so be careful. As usual, I knew exactly where I wanted my tattoo, but a long time ago I wanted to get the moon phases, but the more I looked at it, I changed my mind. So I thought about using lyrics of a song, but that was a fail, then I came across these two quotes, both that resonated with me. "She conquered her demons and wore her scars like wings," and "the chaos in her, found balance in you." Those two quotes describe the last 4-5 years of my life. I had a lot of personal issues going on that I don't like explaining, but I found my balance and everyday I continue to work on myself. This tattoo was another one that only hurt in certain spots. From the top to about the middle, I want fine, but once he started towards my lower back, it HURT. I jumped a couple of times but other than that, it wasn't that bad. On a pain scale of 1-5, I give this one about a 3.

My personal advice for anyone who wants a tattoo; make sure you are 100% sold on getting one. I would not recommend being hesitant because tattoos are forever. Yes you can technically get them removed but from what I'm told, the pain is worse than getting the tattoo itself. So you have to be confident that this is what you want without thinking about getting it removed or covered up later. Another piece of advice is to make sure you have a legit, talented, and professional tattoo artist. I have a few friends who got quick and cheap tattoos that they hate. Quick and cheap is not okay. You get what you pay for, and sometimes you have to pay a little extra for quality. Depending on what you want to do in life, make sure they can be covered easily. I HATE that mindset but it's the unfortunate truth. There will be people out there who don't hire you simply based on the fact that you have a tattoo, no matter how big or small. Are any of you hesitant about tattoos or have one that you don't like anymore? What's your favorite tattoo? Let me know in the comment section below!

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