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Caitlin Melvin | Caitlinalisonmelvin@gmail.com | Toronto, Ontario

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GETTING INKED | my experience

April 3, 2017

 

Hi everyone! Today's post is replacing my usual weekend post cards. I'm doing something a little different today :)

 

Tattoos are either taboo or a piece of art / expression that someone chooses to wear forever. I have 7.

 

I'm not a criminal, a rock star, a skater, a punk. In fact, I'm generally a girly girl. But for whatever reason, tattoos have this stigma that people who have them are hooligans or people who lack education and morals. Or they think someone with tattoos has too many piercings, brightly coloured dyed hair and a pack of cigarettes in their pocket. Gross, I'm none of those. Maybe because tattoos were something that prisoners got while they did time. hahahahaha, I have two degrees and an adult job. My criminal record doesn't exist...because I don't have one. And yet, I still have 7 tattoos 

 

Recently, I got this grey jay tattooed on the back of my left arm. It's an early birthday present from Bryon. I had my first encounter with a pair of grey jays in front yard of my aunt's cottage. I was nine and having lunch with my brother and my cousin when these large birds became brave enough to flirt with us so we would share our snacks with them. Soon enough we coaxed them into eating from our hands. I was SO excited. This winter,  Bryon and I spent the weekend in Huntsville and ventured into Algonquin Park to feed the birds, and when I spotted a grey jay on the trail and managed to get it to eat out of my hand, I convinced him to wait int the parking lot of the trail for two hours while I fed another I found. They're Canada's national bird, known for their bravery, friendliness and sneaky personality (they love snacks). My personal love for them was strong enough that I wanted one forever. And perhaps to remind me to channel all of their personalities...but don't worry, I'll ask before I take your snack.

 

If you have 'virgin skin' but your curious about the process of getting tattoos, I can explain. But first, before you permanently ink yourself, consider the following: how long have you wanted this for? Is the art important to you? Do not wake up one day and go get one. Are you going to change your mind about it in the future? The idea of getting a tattoo is exciting, but it's important to think long and hard about what you're getting...and who is doing it. If you're past this stage now....here are things about my experiences.

 

1. Pain

Will it hurt? Don't even ask that question. Because yes, it will hurt. It definitely doesn't feel good. There are tiny needles injecting ink into your skin. Sometimes it's a tolerable pain. Sometimes it feels like someone is dragging a needle across your skin (which is what they are doing), sometimes it hurts so bad you feel it in other areas of your body and you can't breath. But here's some food for thought: I've never cried during a tattoo. I've never asked an artist to stop. I've never needed to take a break. But I have asked how much longer (when I had a 10 minute tattoo on my right ribs). Some spots hurt more than others - but I would never not get a tattoo in a place because I thought it was the least painful spot. We all handle pain differently. I could say getting a tattoo on my ribs is the most insane thing anyone could ever do, while others might say, yea it hurts, but it's not that bad. So don't research the least painful spot to get a tattoo. It's not a forever pain, and you'll feel accomplished and excited after. Also, don't NOT get one because you're worried about the pain. Because like I said, it's tolerable. A little insight, ladies, if you can handle a Brazilian wax, this will be a walk in the park, lol.  And if it's a small tattoo...get over it. You'll be fine and it will be over before you know it.

 

2. Was Your Mom Mad?

Yes. My mom was not happy about any of my tattoos and she refuses to look at them. But my mom is cool in the fact that she understands it's my body and my money. That was her exact reaction when I got my belly button pierced at 14 (everyone was doing it back then, and I don't have it anymore lol). If your parents' are going to be pissed at you for getting a tattoo when you're under 18, don't get one. Wait until you're old enough and you don't pick something silly. Because I hear laser remover feels like death. My dad on the other hand thinks my tattoos are cool. He asks about them often, but pretends to be irritated about them in front of my mom. (sorry dad.)

 

3. Healing

Healing is worse than the needles. Why? Because it is SO DAMN ITCHY! You will be doing the weave pat to your skin for a week or two. You can't scratch it, you can't go to them gym either. When you sweat, your sweat will push out pigment. You can't go swimming, or sit in any body of water like a bath. So working out gets tricky. But the itching, especially if you have a lot of shading is horrible. Last night, I noticed my tattoo has just started to peel and I started to prepare myself for the itching hahaha. I woke up in the night twitching, and just sat up and started to slap my arm for a couple minutes hahaha. It's honestly the worst. You'll also need to resist the urge to peel. As you're tattoo heels, it can sometimes scab, and it also starts to peel off excess ink in your skin. So it sheds, which is why it's so itchy.

 

4. The Artist and Shop Matters

Cheaping out is not the way to go. I've gone to reputable shops every time. I make sure they show me the tools and needles they are using so I know they are sterile. ALWAYS ASK THEM TO DO THIS. I cannot stress this enough. You need to be comfortable about the cleanliness of the shop. Research their reputation, do not be afraid to ask questions. And when looking for an artist, you should have a specific style in mind. The shop will show you various artists that work with that style and you can select the one you want. I went to Chronic Ink Tattoo Shop in Toronto, and I didn't even see names of the artist. The admin staff showed me photos of art work, and I selected the style I liked and then I was matched with my artist. I looked at his Instagram and was so amazed with his work. This is great to do, because you will be so much happier with your tattoo.

 

These were pretty much my own concerns when getting them. So hopefully, for any of you on the fence about this, this will help with your decisions. And, of course if you have questions I'm happy to answer. But getting one should be your decision and yours alone.

 

 

<3 Caitlin

 

 

 

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Caitlin Melvin lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Bryon and two cats Finnigan and Lucca. A marketing manager by day, blogger on the side, freelance social media specialist and a lover of travel and new experiences