For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted a tattoo and this week I finally plucked up the courage to get one. When I was younger I spent hours every week watching the likes of Miami Ink and I would often doodle designs on notebooks during in high school. I've always known I've wanted a tattoo, but never really known what design I wanted. In the past I've gone through dozens of tattoo design phases from one time wanting doves flying up my back to almost booking in to get a band tattoo on chest, which thankfully I chickened out of because I no longer like the band. I've always read stories about how people have chosen a tattoo that really meant something to them, but until recently, there was nothing that stood out to me that much that I wanted it inked on me for life.
The last two years of my life have been really life changing both for the better and for worse.I married the love of my life and got a really good job - both of which make me really happy, but on the downside my health has taken a tremendous beating and during the last two years I have been diagnosed with two incurable conditions that affect my life daily. When I was reading tattoo designs and their meanings, one really stood out to me and that was an elephant tattoo. Elephant tattoos represent strength, family and peace and also luck and success - all of which are elements of my life. The strength symbolises my constant battle with my health and the ability to stay strong when everything gets tough and the family aspect represents my love for my family who have been by my side. Despite not having the best health, I do consider myself quite lucky and I am successful in some of the things I do and that's where the luck and success come into play. Elephants also happen to be my favourite animal and they are highly regarded in Buddhist culture - something I learnt a lot about and admired during my trip to Thailand last year.
On Wednesday morning when I woke up and was doing my usual social media check, I noticed that the tattoo parlour I have been researching for months had some walk in space. After putting my tattoo off for almost a year and a half due to nerves, I decided that Wednesday was going to be the day that I got my tattoo and without telling my husband or my friends, I walked into the studio and booked myself in. I remember sitting in the waiting room with my heart feeling like it was going to rip out of my chest - I had read so many horror stories online about heel and foot tattoos being the most painful, but I reassured myself that I could handle it.
Did it hurt?
After a couple of minutes wait, I was called into the back room of the studio and asked to take off my shoes. Harry, the tattoo artist then drew a stencil on my foot and asked me to check the design in the mirror to make sure I was happy with the placement. It was funny seeing the design I had dreamt about outlined on my foot and strangely, it looked better than I thought it would. I returned to the chair, acknowledged that I was happy and the tattooing begun. To begin with, Harry told me he would draw a small line so I could get used to the pressure and tell him how I felt. I took a deep breathe and he began. At first it was a bit of a shock to the system - it was painful, but not too bad and if anything, the noise of the machine made it more frightening than it actually was. Once he began properly tattooing my foot it began to hurt a bit more, but nothing like I expected. I read so many forums online saying that 'grown men cry when they get their foot tattooed' and that I would be 'screaming in agony.' It was more uncomfortable than really painful and after the first 10 minutes I became numb to the pain as I finally got used to the needle. My little -heel tattoo took 20 minutes to do and when I looked in the mirror at my finished design, I actually cried. A) I was happy with myself that I had the guts to walk into a tattoo studio solo and get it done and B) the tattoo meant so much to me that it brought so many thoughts into my mind after first looking at it. Since getting it done four days ago, I haven't stopped looking at my ankle and grinning. With the rest of my body not cooperating with my life, it's nice to look at my body and feel happy with something and have a little design that makes me smile when I wake up in the morning.
My tattoo is only four days old and hasn't yet heeled, but so far, so good. It doesn't hurt to walk on, there's no swelling and it looks fantastic. I've had so many compliments and a waitress even stopped me in a restaurant to look at it. The downside about getting a foot tattoo is only being able to wear ballet flats for several weeks until it has fully recovered and with the unexpected snow, it has been far from ideal. However, it is a small price to pay for something that will hopefully bring me a lifetime of happiness and I cannot wait to see what journeys 'Nellie' and I will be embarking on in the future.
Do you have any tattoos?