Before I even begin this post, I want to reiterate something which I had spoken about in a past post when it comes to giving advice to your daughter – I am not a mother. My opinion is one that is solely based off my experience as a daughter. These pointers are ones that while looking back could have possibly been useful advice to my mother, who basically had a heart attack each time I came home with a new piece of ink.
Now I am by no means an expert when it comes to tattoos, I only have 4 of them, 2 of which are quite large (on my ribs, & thigh) and 2 which are smaller (wrist & neck). Growing up I was not a girl you would have expected to ever want to permanently mark her body. In grade 9 I was still watching high school musical, throughout high school I worked at a seniors home, I rarely went out to party before college, and I was an ambassador for the town in my 12th year of school – pretty much the face of innocence (ok well kind of). I say this because for whatever reason, people seem to associate tattoos with more of a rebellious lifestyle, which is quite unfair and untrue to say the least.
I never really had an interest in tattoos, that was until I experienced something in my teens which made the urge of inking myself very strong. I lost a close friend right after I had turned 17, and I wanted to get something in memory of him. I was shocked when my mother didn’t shut the idea down automatically – that was until we started discussing the ideas. Because I was only 17, she would have had to sign and give permission for me, and we were both on completely different pages when it came to size and placement. I of course wanted it to be about the size of the palm of my hand, she wanted it to be about the size of a dime, and preferably in a spot where it could be hidden. She was very understanding and supportive when it came to the reasoning behind the tattoo. But, she grew up in a time and a house hold where people with tattoos were usually just bikers & bad asses … and not her baby girl. Eventually we came to a decision that I would wait. This way I could be 100% sure of the placement and size. Although I hate to admit it – I’m super glad I decided to wait until I was a little bit older and had a little more time to think.
A few years went by, and I was now 20 years old and really wanting my first tattoo. I still had not come up with an exact idea when it came to the tattoo I wanted in memory of my friend, but I knew eventually I would and I was ok with waiting. I had always been very into quotes, song lyrics, etc. And one of my favourite quotes was one by Charlie Chaplin that went as so, “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” It was kind of a reflection of how I had been feeling at that point in my life, and I always looked at tattoos as being a part of a diary but on your body. Now I totally understand the irony in this quote (yes I know a tattoo is pretty permanent) but I loved the quote so much, and I didn’t care. And I mean there’s always laser, right? So seriously, NOTHING is permanent.
Now you can bet your bottom dollar that my mother was upset. She cried, offered me cash not to get it done, and called me before my session begging me to change my mind. However after 5 & a half hours of pain, I called her and let her know how happy I was with it. It was a surprisingly emotional experience. And after she saw it, although it was bigger than she had expected – she ended up liking it. The next day she even offered to take me shopping to find dresses that would “show it off”. That part still makes me laugh.
I waited about 2 years before getting my next one, and thought very hard about its placement, and content. I ended up getting the lyrics from a Lord of the Rings song that my mother & I used to play on the piano/violin, and that also meant a lot to me as the lyrics reminded me of my friend I had lost when I was young. It says, “In Dreams We Meet Again” and has a green spider flower for my friend, because his favourite colour was green, and a pink rose beside it.
After that, I had 2 more ideas in my head that I knew for sure I wanted. And I waited about a year in between each. The next was my mother’s handwriting which said “Blue sky day.” It was our secret saying we had when I was in college, and we would be speaking on the phone. If she wanted to know if I was having an alright day, she would ask me, “Is it a blue sky day?”. Which was our special little code for meaning it was a good day. Now you may be wondering – how did I get my mom to physically write it out without becoming suspicious. Well truth is, I lied. And no I don’t feel that bad about it, I told her I needed her to write it for a “craft” I was making for her for Christmas – and well I think she secretly knew I was being dishonest. That was the one tattoo I think that she kind of laughed about because she knew I had tricked her, or at least in my mind I think I kind of did.
My latest one was a cross on the back of my neck, which I kept secret for a couple months before telling her – and well she kind of just rolled her eyes and said “that better be the last one.” Now will it be my last? I think for now, but I change my mind on a regular basis so who knows!
Now as people say – yes tattoos can get addicting. And I think that is something you really need to talk to your kids about, because it could get to a point where they end up getting something they may regret. Trust me, I know a lot of people my age, who have tats they regret already (and I’m only 24 turning 25). However at the end of the day, if they want one bad enough – whether it is for a special meaning, or simply for art, truth is that they are probably going to get one once they are old enough. Now when it comes to signing for your son or daughter who is underage, my personal opinion would probably be to not. Like I said, I’m not a parent but when I think back to being 16 and where I wanted a tattoo, and the size, I’m so happy my mother talked me out of it. I think your best bet, would be to take your son or daughter seriously when they are underage and wanting a tattoo. I know I thought longer & harder about my decision because my mom didn’t shut me down without hearing me out. Talk to them also about the importance of getting a tattoo in a legitimate shop, where professionalism & sanitization are top priorities.
On the flip side, as a daughter (or son for that matter), it is also important to hear your parents out. I know my mother’s biggest fear was that I would get something I was going to regret, or not be happy with. It is so important when you’re considering getting a tattoo, that you seek out lots of potential artists to check out their work, and that you strongly communicate your ideas and thoughts with them. Always make sure you have a clear and concise idea beforehand, and make sure their final sketch is something you are comfortable with. Also realize that you should be taking their ideas and professional opinion into strong consideration – as they have much more experience with placement, size, colours, etc. than you do.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post or even found it helpful in some way.