2020 Milestone #2: Getting My First Ever Tattoo (The Actual Experience)

Sunday 29 February 2020 aka THE DAY:

Woke up bright and early this morning at 7:30AM before my alarm rang and did my laundry that’s been piling up after a week. I strategically planned to do all the heavy lifting like cleaning my entire room right before I get my tattoo so that I can rest and chill and relax after being inked. I am prepared to be sore.

Currently still not feeling any jitters yet which is oddly rare, I can’t even comprehend this strange calmness in me. I’m sure it’ll erupt later on when I’m on the bus towards the parlour. It’s a good thing I have my thriller Kdramas to occupy my thoughts – the plot is too captivating and I’m hooked too much to think about the pain I’m about to go through later.

3PM

I can’t even feel nervous – the tattoo artist is off ranting to her friend about some personal issues and unbeknownst to her, I can actually understand what she’s saying. I’m feeling too awkward to be scared right now. Everything still feels so surreal. Am I really here at the tattoo parlour, all alone, waiting to get inked for the first time?

3:15PM

Stencil is on, I’m lying on the bed waiting for the buzz of the needle machine to start. I’ve got my earbuds on, my music blasting in my ears to distract my senses from the hum of the machine. It’s working somewhat, I’m still not as afraid as I thought I’d be. The anticipation of that very first stroke, of the unknown pain, is what keeps my senses high and alert.

The tattoo artist presses down firmly on my shoulder, to stop any unwanted movements. I take a deep breath, and as I let it out slowly, she begins inking. The first contact it made with my skin, I internally let out a deep sigh of relief. It’s not that painful! I can survive an hour of this! Basically, it feels like someone’s scratching me at my chest area, almost like a cat clawing into your skin but the pain level is about 6/10. It helps that every few seconds, she’d stop to wipe off some ink and that’s a chance for me to catch my breath and rest a bit. Some parts of the skin are more sensitive than others, so the sting is a little more painful, but still tolerable overall.

In fact, I think tattooing is a less painful experience than threading my eyebrows, no joke. My eye area is pretty sensitive, so the last time I went threading, I couldn’t help but tear up. Pretty embarrassing to have beads of droplets rolling off my cheeks when it’s just a mere eyebrow threading session. But at least I didn’t cry this tattoo session, or faint or do anything drastic. I didn’t even clench my fists that tightly (which I do sometimes at the dentist when he’s cleaning my teeth).

3:59PM

It’s the last and final stroke. The tattoo artist uses a piece of alcohol swab thing to clean the finished art piece, and puts a thin film of plastic over it to protect the area from any friction rub.

I paid, and left the store, feeling slightly astonished and to be honest, a little anti-climatic. Didn’t feel as dramatic as I thought this whole process will be. I guess all the drama and excitement happened waaay before this, when I was in the process of actually going to make the booking.

All my friends were shocked that I ended up going ahead with it – they thought I wasn’t very serious. My instagram was flooded with DMs from them after I posted my completed tattoo.

Wow. I actually, really did it.

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