March 1, 2016

How To Prep For Your First Tattoo

What Mandy Thinks: Words of Advice post via
I finally did it, guys: tattoo number two is done and DONE!  (Shout-out to Che at Current Tattooing in San Jo.)

Each tattoo I have / plan to get will have at least two meanings.  "ODD SOUL" in this case has the first, most obvious meaning for the Mutemath fanatics out there: the song and title of the band's 2010 album, all about going your own way when you're pressured to conform.  The second meaning is one I've always wanted in at least one of my tattoos: pride in my personal uniqueness.  I like how it looks like a stamp or brand on me like I'm labeling myself to the world before anyone else can.  I always have been an odd soul, and always will be.

What Mandy Thinks image of my ODD SOUL tattoo: My arm looks ANGRY, but the tat is otherwise awesome, am I right?
My arm looks ANGRY, but the tat is otherwise awesome, am I right?

My peace sign tattoo in my ear is technically my first tattoo, but this second one feels like the first REAL experience with a larger surface area and more "complex" design.   As I mentioned last summer with the best time to get a tattoo, I've wanted to wait and plan for the future day of when to get my next piece.  But how did I prep for the actual day when I received my new ink?  For those who have never had a tattoo before and want to get one, I hope my experience helps calm your nerves.

BEFORE the appointment:
After choosing the design and getting the money together, I chose a tattoo parlor - are they still called parlors? - and artist I felt comfortable with.  I scheduled the appointment for a Friday evening to give myself the weekend for initial "recovery" time.  I ate an early dinner an hour or so before (no passing out or puking allowed, thank you) and took an ibuprofen a half hour before to help with some pain and swelling to come.

DURING the appointment:
I took deep purposeful breaths to calm my nerves.  I went alone to my appointment so I was texting friends and the boyfriend while in the waiting room to vent my anxiety.  (Bringing a friend or family member who is supportive of your decision is a good idea.)  The artist prepped my arm with the right creams and shaved the hair and all that, so I just came in off the street with no special prep on the area itself.  As the ink was setting to skin, I looked away the whole time because I'm not one to find watching my skin getting touched with sharp objects fascinating.  I didn't tense up or move around to stay as relaxed and still as possible.  To distract myself, I admired the light fixtures and anything else away from my arm and eavesdropped on other people's conversations.  Small talk with my artist also helped fill the sound away from the BUZZZZZ of the needle.  Depending on where you get your tattoo, wear or bring something to cover it against harsh sun or temperatures once you leave, as I knew I had to walk home in crisp wind and sunshine.

There's not much else to it, guys.  Prep in the way that works best for you and enjoy the new ink!

(AND since I'm no expert whatsoever, you may as well do some more research outside this post - go online and/or walk in to your nearest tattoo parlor for more info and recommendations.  I can add my after-care experience if you'd like to know.)

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