The growing cult of ink isn’t for everyone. While some don’t like the permanence of a tattoo, others are wary it might be too painful. But for those smitten by body art like me, these aren’t even issues. In fact, tattoos are an ancient rite of passage in the tribal world, and there is plenty you will learn from the experience of getting inked.
1. Pain is temporary. Suffering is optional
Regardless of how good the tattoo artist is and how high your threshold for pain, you will experience some amount of stinging from the needle. The pain will last a week as the skin heals yet you will emerge from the first one proud of yourself and mark you bear.
2. Don’t fear the unknown
Getting your first tattoo is a scary thought. I remember being a teenager who’d spent her entire salary from her first job to get one on my arm. I didn’t know how painful it would be, but didn’t need to call a friend for “moral support” either. Getting inked is a commitment for life (heck, most of us aren’t even ready to be in a relationship for life). Yet, so many folks emerge from the experience happier for having gone through it. And a lot of them go back for more. As did I.
At the time of writing this post, I have a half sleeve on my left arm, a sprawled out cat above that, a Flower of Life mandala on my back and a tiny cross on my right hand between thumb and forefinger. I’d like to say I’m done… with tats, one never knows!
3. Never judge on first impressions
First impressions aren’t always lasting. Any heavily tattooed person will tell you how they are seen as rebels with angst when in reality they are regular Joes. Belonging to this special tribe of the tattooed makes appearances less important in understanding what people are really about.
4. Meaning is ambiguous
Every person explains what the tattoo means to him from his ideas and his memories of getting body art. The same design could represent different things for different people. Same goes for life. The same event could bring up different emotions in people.
5. Be who you truly are
Whether people find your body art cute or intimidating, whether they admire you or shun you because of the ink, what you take away is the satisfaction of doing something for yourself and for yourself alone. It’s the only way to live in satisfaction.
Now, what was that Rolling Stones song again?