Tattoos and Tribulations

“Wow! How many tattoos do you have?!” “Did they hurt?” “How did you get that job with all of those?” “What do your tattoos mean?” “Who does your tattoos?” “How much did they cost?” “You must have a lot of money.” “How do you think you’ll look in your wedding dress?” “Can I feel it?”

I don’t think I’m officially allowed to complain about all the hullabaloo people make about my tattoos because I was the one that chose to get them in the first place. Like when I dyed my hair fire engine red, I couldn’t complain about the amount of stares I received because I chose to walk around with bright ass hair. But, then again, drunk guys at bars didn’t come up to me and touch my hair to see if it felt any different.

I love my tattoos. But I don’t love strangers and my tattoos. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to touch tattoos to comment on them. Once they’re healed, they don’t feel any different than skin. I know which one you’re talking about without you putting your grubby fingers on it. If you need to be six millimeters away from my ink to be able to see it, maybe you should get glasses. Just because I have tattoos doesn’t mean I’m okay with you getting all up in my space (and if you have “tattoos *heart eyes emoji*” in your Tinder profile I’m probably going to swipe left).

So, here’s what I’ve wanted to say to all of you complete strangers who think I owe you information about my tatoos:

How many tattoos do you have?

Okay. First of all, I usually get asked this question when I’m in a tank top and you can literally see I have a full sleeve and one that’s three-quarters full. Do you want me to count them out for you? My left arm took three sittings. Does that count as three or is it more? I don’t know how many tattoos I have. You can see that there’s probably more than ten. Do you really need a specific number or are you just trying to remind me that I have a lot?

Did they hurt?

I don’t know how to answer this question for you. One day I fell asleep finishing up my sleeve. Another day I had to grip the edge of the table because it hurt so bad. I’ve been told I sit well. Obviously they don’t hurt too bad because I’m covered in them. I don’t get what you want me to say. We all handle pain differently. People have passed out getting tattoos. I googled how tattoos work:

Tattoo application uses a mechanized needle to puncture the skin and inject ink into the dermis or second layer of skin just below the epidermis. Since the process involves damaging the skin, the body responds with white blood cells which attempt to absorb the foreign particles and dispose of them in the blood stream.

Does that sound painful to you?

How did you get your job with all of those tattoos?

My job makes me wear sleeves. I don’t have any tattoos that are in places I can’t cover up. And yeah, it does suck that tattoos are still viewed as unprofessional, but there’s not much I can do about it except suck it up and put on a blazer. I made the choice to cover my arms with tattoos and I’m living the #sleevelife because of it. I don’t mind.

How much did they cost? You must have a lot of money!

This is just, like, not okay to ask. Just google the average cost of a tattoo and it’s probably on point. I don’t discuss my finances with complete strangers. I don’t spend my money on stupid things and save up when I want to work with a specific artist. I budget for my tattoos.

Can I feel it?

Touch your own skin. They don’t feel any different. When they’re fresh, they are raised but I’m not going to let you touch them when they’re fresh. It hurts and who knows where your hands have been. Also, you don’t need to touch my tattoos to talk about them. I know where they are and I know I have tattoos. You don’t need to grab my arm in order to see one better. I don’t like it. I might punch you.

Aren’t you worried about what they’ll look like when you get old/married/have kids?

No. I’ll look fucking awesome.

What do your tattoos mean/Who did your tattoos?

I’m going to reiterate that tattoos don’t have to mean anything special for you to get them. A lot of people have really meaningful tattoos and that’s awesome! I’m not one of those people. Not every single tattoo I have means something to me, but I’ll do my best and explain here why I got the ones I did, in the order I got them. Also adding the instagrams to who did them.

  1. Anchor / If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
    These were my first tattoos and they cover my feet. They’re also my most annoying tattoos because I’ve been followed through grocery stores by old men trying to figure out what the text says — instead of asking me, they take the creepy option. It’s also fun moving my foot out of view when I see someone trying to read what it says. These tattoos were the most meaningful ones. I wanted my first tattoos to mean something to me, so I chose my favorite song we sung in church. (Sean)
  2. Swallow
    I have a small bird on my ribs that I got to match with one of my best friends. I forget about this one a lot because my boob gets in the way and I can’t see it. I think I need to get it touched up. (doesn’t have instagram)
  3. Snake skull
    This one was stick and poke and my boyfriend didn’t want me to get it. So I broke up with him and got it. (MKNZ)
  4. Spider
    $31 on Friday the 13th. Also I like spiders a lot and usually leave them in my house to catch the nasty bugs or I capture them and set them free outside. (Chantel)
  5. Praying mantis
    I really liked Ruby’s art and I also really liked praying mantises. I think this is when I decided to have a creepy crawly sleeve. Also female mantises eat the heads off their partners after sex which is rad (Ruby)
  6. Paper airplane
    I really loved Dave’s 3D tattoos, so I decided to get a paper airplane since I’m in the airline industry and I love to travel (Dave)
  7. Scorpion
    It took me two years to make an appointment with Shannon. I told her I wanted another creepy thing to add to my arm and listed a couple different ones I wanted. She’d never done a scorpion before so we agreed on that (Shannon)
  8. Angler Fish
    Dave did this one. I didn’t realize he was like actually pretty famous when I went in for the airplane. His books were closed but he really wanted to do an angler fish so he squeezed me in. This might be my favorite tattoo.
  9. Moth
    I saw this on Alexa’s flash and I figured it would fit in really well. It did! (Alexa)
  10. Beetle
    Louis is friends with Dave and they share a studio space in Portland. I really liked his art and was feeling a beetle. (Louis)
  11. Roses Sleeve/Underboob
    Sara Mae was working on a project I got involved in. I’m in love with her work. We’ve even traded some tattoos for photos. She’s a great friend now and I just want more from her!!! (Sara Mae)
  12. Squid
    Somehow I started following Seth on instagram before I moved to New York and knew I wanted to get tattooed by him. He posted a picture of this squid and I got it the next day (Seth)
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