when i got my first tattoo.
i got my first tattoo when i was 21, just a few weeks shy of turning 22. i had wanted to get one earlier, when i was 18, but my mom cried when i had made an appointment, so i got a piercing instead (by the way kids, don't get your eyebrow pierced. it doesn't turn out well as an adult). i'm glad that i didn't go with the "i'm 18 and can get a tattoo now"state of mind, because i definitely would have regretted it.
my first one was on impulse. i was studying photography in london at camberwell college. i was inspired by a friend i had met in class, who was from brazil, and her tattoos. they were small and more symbolic than ones my friends had gotten. it wasn't tribal or any of that mess (which was popular at the time). they were meaningful to her, and not to anyone else. which tattoos really should be.
a few weeks later, i was in camden market with my friend, fi. we spent many weekend days there. and weekdays there. we were walking to find some place to eat and walked by one of the many tattoo shops in the area. i grabbed her by the arm and pulled her inside the shop. "i'm going to get a tattoo. right now." i talked to the girl at the counter and was told to come back in an hour or so, when david (the artist) would be back from lunch.
maybe i should have done research on the shop. maybe i should have looked at a portfolio. this was in the day before instagram, or internet on our phones, even facebook, so i didn't have the instant access to the information. and i wasn't going to back out. fi and i went to lunch, and she double and triple checked to make sure this was really how i wanted to spend money and the afternoon. i assured her that this was what i wanted to do. this is what i wanted to remember this time i had in london, what i learned, and who i met. we made our way back to the shop and i met david.
david had a thick polish accent and was covered in tattoos. i drew out what i wanted him to do, and away we went. the process was really fast, it was a tiny tattoo. he was friendly and told me a lot about poland (i mentioned that my family was from there). the room was all white tile, very sterile feeling, not as comfortable as i would have hoped. i sat in a denist chair that they had, with my foot in david's lap. about 45 minutes and $30 later, i had my first tattoo.
thanks to pinterest, the infinity symbol is all the rage now in tattoo designs. i got this one because it is the furthest a camera can focus, and at the time, photography took up a majority of my thoughts and time. it was what brought me to london in the first place. when i look at it now, i still remember that point in my life of being a very impulsive, often silly, almost 22 year old woman. my dreams are still as big as they were then, but they may have change a little bit. it almost makes me miss photography and maybe i need to get back into that more.