Saturday, April 28, 2012

My first tattoo!

 A few years ago, I decided that I wanted a tattoo. Preferably a Harry Potter quote, on a part of my body that wouldn't change much over time. At first I wanted "the ones we love never truly leave us", from Prisoner of Azkaban. I then thought that it was way too long. The last book came out after my freshman year of college, and I loved the last line in the epilogue, "All was well". I loved it, and decided that I wanted it on my foot, to comply with the Disney Look standards. The nice thing is, not everyone will recognize it as a Harry Potter quote.

My friend got a great tattoo at a shop downtown, and after talking to her artist Ian, I realized that I wanted him to do my tattoo as well. I made the appointment on St. Patrick's Day, for April 28, 2 weeks before college graduation. I wanted it to have a subtle nod to Disney, so I found the Aladdin movie title font online, and chose that for the font.

The shop called me the day before, confirming my appointment and placement. After the phone call, since I knew nothing about tattoos, I decided to look up aftercare tips. That was a giant mistake. "My god, the pain before and after was like nothing I've experienced before!" "My foot swelled up to three times its size!" "I bled for 3 weeks!" "My foot bled puss for a week and I had to go to the hospital!" "My foot will never be the same again!" "I couldn't walk for 2 weeks!"

I was now terrified.

The next morning, I went to breakfast with my brother, and then to the shop with his girlfriend (my friend who had gotten the tattoo at the same shop from Ian). I had put a small stuffed animal in my purse, Gromit from Wallace and Gromit, thinking that I might need to squeeze something.

Ian walked into the reception area and we started talking about paperwork, the tattoo placement and font, and then he noticed how nervous I was. He asked me if it was my first tattoo, and I nodded. He asked me what I was afraid of, and I told him that I had stupidly looked up tips on Google. He nodded, and asked me if I ever looked up my symptoms when I was sick. I said no, and he explained that going online to look up medical information was a horrible idea, because it always gives you the worst information/diagnosis. He then said that most of the people had probably gotten their tattoos "in some dark living room with dirty needles and cat hair everywhere". He reassured me, and then left me with the paperwork as he went to trace the tattoo. I filled it out, reading about the possibility of infection, death, etc. He and I signed it, and then went into the tattoo room.

Ian then said "I know this isn't the kind of music you normally listen to-" Heavy metal was playing- "Would it help if I put on some Disney music?" "Um. Yes please!" I couldn't believe that he would be so nice. I chose the Lion King Pandora station, and 'I Just Can't Wait to be King' started playing. Ian smiled and said "This is the first time this kind of music has played in this tattoo shop."
I got my Gromit stuffed animal from my purse, and sat on the table he had pulled into his tattoo cubicle. From the way he had me position my feet and legs, I was really glad I was wearing leggings. He explained that all the equipment was sterilized at 270 degrees, that he would use a new needle (he showed me as he prepared it), where the needle would go into the biohazard bin, how the tattoo gun worked, how long the needle was, what the sound of the gun was like. He was incredibly thorough, and I was so glad he was.
After placing the stencil/transfer on my foot, he asked me if I liked the placement. I asked it to be moved down a bit, and he did exactly that. He then got the tattoo gun going, and told me that he wouldn't start until I said "Okay". I took a deep breath, and he asked me if I was ready. I nodded, clutched Gromit with one hand and held my foot down with the other, and said "Okay".

He started with the last letter, and worked his way backwards. I was trying so hard to not move, but sometimes my foot would involuntarily jump a little from the pain.

I had thought that it would hurt really badly, but since it’s fairly small, it didn’t hurt that bad-more like lots of short, sharp, pokes. There were definitely places where it hurt really badly-the first ‘a’ and ‘w’, but overall it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t cry or faint, which was nice.
He was finished in about 15-20 minutes, and it would've been faster, except for my stupid jumpy foot. During that time, 'I See the Light', 'Under the Sea', 'The Bear Necessities', 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight', and other fantastic Disney songs played. Ian whistled along a little to 'The Bear Necessities' as he worked, and I was charmed.
My brother and his girlfriend were the best cheerleaders. They kept telling me I was doing a great job, patting my back; that sort of thing.

When the tattoo was finished, I was instantly in love. Ian took a few pictures for me, and then wrapped my foot in plastic wrap and medical tape.

At the Blaque Owl tattoo shop, one hour is $100, and he charged me $50.

I'm so glad I did it, it was worth every penny and every second of pain. I love it!

Blaque Owl Tattoo facebook page

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