Ask the Girl Episode 1 – Choosing a Tattoo

Welcome to the first episode of my new Ask the Girl series! I created this series to answer questions and cover topics that you, my readers, choose! If there is something that’s been on your mind, whether it’s about ballroom or writing or dealing with your demons, leave a comment or contact me directly.

For now, the series will post once a week on Tuesdays. I may post episodes more often than that if I get a lot of responses. I don’t want anyone to wait too long to see their topic addressed!

Today’s question comes from Simon, the author of https://sfarnell.wordpress.com/:

You got a tree tattoo, but how did you come to the conclusion you wanted a tree? I want a tattoo but i dont know what to have, it needs to be tasteful obviously as ill be wearing it a while, but how does one decide how to decorate their body?

I have to take you back over 15 years to get to the original inspiration for my tree tattoo. I had a necklace in high school with a wolf howling at the moon on one side and a tree of life symbol on the other.

image

The tree is what really spoke to me. Trees have wonderful symbolism attached to them, including life, survival, natural beauty, strength, endurance, wisdom, etc., etc. Every one of these symbols carries personal meaning to me, so this tree was the perfect image for me to carry for the rest of my life. A necklace was insufficient though. I wanted the symbol to be a part of me, as a tattoo.

That is how I chose the tree as well as the two Celtic knots I have tattooed on my wrists. I chose symbolic images that carried meaning for me. My tattoos are a way of sharing what I value with the world, as well as a way to memorialize significant parts of my life.

Tattoos

You don’t need to make a profound statement or have deep meaning behind your tattoo. Some people love the art of tattooing and acting as a living canvas. Some people get tattooed for the sake of the tattoos. The why behind your body art is yours alone and does not need to be validated by anyone else. Just be sure your why is as permanent as your tattoo will be. “Because it’ll look cool” might not be the best reason to start with.

Once you have an idea for your tattoo, you will have several questions to answer. Where do you want it placed on your body? What size will it be? Will it be colored? Do you want it easily hidden or something easily displayed? Do you want to be able to always see it yourself? I need a mirror to see most of my tree.

When answering these questions, you also need to consider the impacts on the rest of your life. The biggest area of potential impact is employment. Some companies do not want employees with visible tattoos. Others will tolerate small, “unobtrusive” tattoos. Make sure you are aware of your company’s policies ahead of time.

The other area of impact is social – people will judge you based on your tattoo. It’s natural, humans are very visual creatures. If you have a visible tattoo, people will draw conclusions about you before you have a chance to speak or offer a handshake.

So if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, consider the reason motivating you very carefully. What first gave you the idea? An image that spoke to you? Or seeing someone else’s tattoo? My tree tattoo evolved for over 15 years before it was finally inked on my back. In the meantime, I had my two wrist tattoos done, but the point is I didn’t rush the process. I waited until I felt 100% confident in what I wanted. Although the technology exists now to remove “permanent” tattoos, you should still consider them as images you will carry to your grave. It is said you can’t take anything with you when you die, but you can take your tattoos!

And to answer the first question I always get when discussing my tattoo with someone – yes, it does hurt! Everyone has a different pain tolerance but the reality is you are paying someone to stab you with a tiny needle over and over and over again. You will feel something and it won’t be a gentle massage.

Another consideration is the expense. A good tattoo artist will cost you some dough. Smaller tattoos with little to no color will be cheaper, but many places will have a minimum deposit required. The tattoo parlor where I had my tree done required a $100 deposit, which was applied to the total cost once the tattoo was complete.


Simon, I hope that answers your questions! Obviously, I am very happy with and proud of my tattoos, especially my tree (I built a whole brand around it!), and I think tattooing is a beautiful art form. It isn’t right for everyone, but for those it speaks to, it is a wonderful way to express one’s self!

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