My Life Of Mistakes: Tattoo’s And the Devil’s Gin

Everyone and their mum has an opinion on tattoos, and at this point in my, as I like to call it, ‘tattoo career,’ I think I have heard a solid portion of these opinions.

I have had the stares and the questions; I have had the random people coming up to me thinking that I need Jesus; the ones that tell me I look like yakuza and can never go to Japan; I have had the; ‘you look ugly,’ ‘you’re a whore,’ ‘you don’t look feminine anymore.’ I’ve heard it, I get it. Thank you for the blessings, much love to you too.

This is the kind of stuff you learn to laugh off. People are bastards. But hey! That’s their problem and not mine.

Thankfully we are not here today to talk about bastards, well kind of, maybe at some points. You’ll see.

I’m here to talk about what I’ve learned about tattoos from getting tattoos.

However, proceed at your own risk; you know what they say about tattoos – NOT EVEN ONCE. You can’t even TALK about them or else you will be susceptible to their charismatic charm.

What I’ve Learned About Tattoos: A Memoir Of Nonsense

They hurt… a lot more as you start getting older. HA, got ya! No, but seriously – I could handle tattoos a lot more when I was younger than I can now that I am in my 20’s – bearing in mind that I have now been getting tattoos for 10 years of my life. And no, that was not a SIGN for any underage people to go ahead and get tattoos – keep reading first.

One is never enough… they were right. Once you step over into the depraved world of tattoos – you will not come out with just one. And if you do, you are more depraved than the tattoos themselves.

You will have a regret tattoo … heck you might have a few. I think I got pretty lucky. I only have one tattoo that I would be perfectly fine putting into a blender.

You will disappoint a family member… Aunt Beatrice will probably never forgive you.

Tattoos will change you… into a demon… with tattoos! Embrace it.

Tattoos will bring forth weirdos … Like I said, everyone and their mum will have an opinion about your tattoos – including some really dubious people that think it is okay to come into your personal bubble, touch you, and talk your ear off either about how much they hate your tattoos, how ugly they make you, or in fact, how they are about to get a tattoo, or ‘omg look at the one I got in my mum’s back yard last night.’ Do not be afraid to tell these people to bickity back the fark up.

Speaking of which, do not get tattoos in a back yard… here’s the thing, I’ve gotten a home job tattoo, with a guitar string- complete prison style yo. Personally, my tattoo turned out fine and I still love it to this day.  However, I have friends that went to the SAME person and their tattoos have caused them grief. And that freaking sucks. The risk is too high – if you want a tattoo make a proper investment – it just makes a lot more sense. Also, just don’t get tattoos in dubious places or with people that don’t sterilise things. That is wrong and we don’t do that. Ok? Good, moving on.

Research. Your. Artist… do not just go anywhere, and even when you DO have an artist you like, do some research into the type of work they do… EVERY artist has a strong point AND a weak point. Not every design you have is going to suit the style of your artist, no matter how talented they are or how many times they have gotten it right, if the style is completely out of their comfort zone you need to be aware of that. Just research – always research. Just promise me ok?

Tattoo artists can be dicks… because they are human, not because they have tattoos.

You don’t have to get tattooed by a dick… I don’t even know if that’s possible. Nevertheless, you don’t have to get tattooed by an artist that you don’t like. We sometimes sit with our artists for hours at a time, if you don’t vibe enough with someone to be able to talk freely with them, AS WELL AS sit silently with them, then snip snip, you don’t have to be there. Just remember to consider this before your half way through the tattoo.

Tattoos don’t make you a badass… I know there is that ‘bad girl/boy image’ thing that comes along naturally with tattoos… you know the, ‘oh my gosh, look at those tattoos, she/he must be such a badass freak.’ I see you girl, and you are 100% right…  I am a badass. But not because I have tattoos. Because I’m me, and yes, I might have some badass tattoos (I’m biased, sue me), but that doesn’t make me some kind of  tough and ready to rumble sex addicted freakazoid. And you know what, even if it did, that’s really none of your business Karen. Just go away with that nonsense.

Do not… befriend the guy or girl that shows off their tattoos at a party. They are a disgrace to the tattoo race and you cannot associate with them without also being a disgrace. They are assholes, and no one likes a tattooed asshole.

Your tattoos don’t have to have meaning… there’s this huge thing about tattoos needing to have a meaning, as if you need to justify the ‘contravention of the human flesh’ or something. Some of your tattoos with have meaning; some will not have direct meaning, but the time or placement might have meaning. Some will be complete jokes and have absolutely no goddamn meaning at all. That is up to the person – but don’t feel like you have to have meaning in your tattoos to justify them to others. In fact, don’t feel you have to justify your tattoos at all. Ever.

You don’t have to like other peoples’ tattoos… I always felt like because I had tattoos I somehow had to automatically like other peoples’ tattoos; Like somehow I was part of a discrete club where membership meant loyalty to the messiah of tattoos (Sailor Jerry, otherwise known as, I kid you not, bloody Norman). No. You don’t need to like other peoples’ tattoos. At all. In fact, you might hate them. And that is friggin fine.

Tattoos don’t have to define you… For periods of time my tattoos did define me, they were a huge part of who I was and the journey that I was one, and I love that to this day. But after a while, and as I grew up and grew into my adult self, I realised that my tattoos no longer defined every part of who I was. They just define memories and pieces of who I am. They aren’t the end all be all to my existence, no matter how much people want to tell me they are.  

Tattoos don’t mean I will beat you up… In all fairness, and just between you and I, I can barely lift a 2kg dumbbell. That means you can stop hiding from me at the supermarket now. Thanks!

 Your family will get over it… Aunt Beatrice might NEVER agree with your decision, but she will get used to it. Everyone will move on, and even though there will still be little digs about it at Christmas time, everyone will get over it. You won’t be a disappointment forever. At least not because of the tattoos.

Tip your bleeping artist… if you get a piece that is RAD, that is everything and MORE, you need to be tipping your artist. This is their craft, and that is your way of really paying tribute to that. I know that the prices are steep to begin with (if you have a proper artist), but this is just an important nicety that exists in the tattoo game – it’s just respectful. In addition, you give respect, you will usually get it right back.

If you start young, you might have regrets… let’s get this one out there – and I know the mums and dads out there are like, finally yes, continue – but here’s the important thing, I started at 14. I am 24 now. I am in the process of removing two of my tattoos. BUT WAIT, hold your smug face – not because I don’t like the tattoos, quite the contrary – because the placement of them is wrong and will no longer benefit me in my professional life. Now, all I am trying to say is that, yes, you might have a regret or two. Look, if you get tattoos when you are younger it’s just plain and simple –you are not thinking with complete foresight – therefore when you get older you might have one or two, or a bunch, that you no longer want. That’s okay. It’s annoying, yes; its expensive, yes. But if that’s the decision you made, you can’t go back and change it. Tattoos are accountability just as much as they are art.

Check the stencils… once the stencil is on your body, actually look at it. Especially if it is words. I know it can be really exciting, and you’re already mentally preparing yourself for the pain and yadda yadda, but seriously, take a moment of clarity and check your stencil. I don’t know if they told you, but that is going to be on you for LIFE and all.

Don’t get tattoos if you cannot sit with pain… if you know that you are not good with pain just don’t. There is nothing worse for an artist then trying to sit through a wriggling client who is screaming and belting and crying. You don’t HAVE to have a tattoo. It will not make you cool – (it might, however, make you coolER). If you cannot do pain, consider something else pls – it’s really awful watching someone twist and shout while a tattoo artist tries not to take their eye out. (Also, don’t be a lil bish)

You don’t have to date someone with tattoos… common sense? Not for some people. Assholes.

Tattoos will make you a shitty criminal… I mean I’m just saying. I’ve never been a criminal or anything, but tattoos are, pretty, you know, distinguishable – if I was a criminal, I think it would be pretty obvious it was me. Short point here – don’t be a criminal if you have tattoos, but also, not all people that have tattoos are criminals. Just stop with that.

And there you go.

23 things I have learned since I started getting tattoos 10 years ago!



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