Did you know that the word tattoo is derived from the Samoan word “tatau” which means “open wound”? Neither had I until I heard it mentioned in an episode of Teen Wolf. Various different dictions have been used to describe tattoos, but I’d never heard one that struck a chord within me so violently. Apart from the tattoo’s liberal description as a radical expression of self and art, it is often forgotten that, as with most great pieces of art, it is inspired by pain. Whether the origin of the pain is physical or emotional, it still involves the piercing of the skin and inevitably the baring of the soul, which is what I would like to do in this post. By telling you about my tattoos I will be revealing parts of my soul. Wow. That sounds very melodramatic. Let me make a reference to the mother of a Rainbow instead: enjoy the peepshow.
1). How many tattoos do you have?
Two. I have a tattoo on each of my wrists.
2). What’s the favourite tattoo that you have?
Probably my first one, which is the word “Fighter” on my left wrist.
3). How old were you when you first got your tattoo?
I was 20 when I got the tattoo, but it was one of my 21st birthday gifts from my parents. My parents took me to Sun City for my 21st so I had the tattoo done a few weeks before my birthday so that it could heal before we went away.
4). What do your parents think of your tattoos?
Both of my tattoos were birthday gifts from my parents, the first for my 21st birthday and the second for 22nd. Although neither of them are fans of tattoos (in actual fact they quite dislike them ha!) they understand and respect the reasons I have for wanting them.
5). Did you always have a love for tattoos?
I wouldn’t say a love, but I’ve always been intrigued by the general aesthetic surrounding tattoos. I think it was the whole rebellious reputation and stigma surrounding tattoos that drew me in initially. Even though both my tattoos have very deep and intrinsic meanings, I like to think of them as permanent accessories to my personal aesthetic, which is why I had both done on places where they can be seen and why I rarely- if ever, cover them up.
6). What were your tattoo inspirations?
My initial inspiration was the two tattoos that Demi Lovato got on her wrists that say “Stay Strong”. I really liked the sentiment and placement, but I wanted to choose two words that meant something to me personally. My first tattoo, the word “Fighter” is inspired by the Christina Aguilera song of the same name. My second tattoo, the word “Joy” is in reference to my middle name. The font reminds me of the typography in Medieval novels, which is why I chose it.
7). Do you plan on getting more tattoos in the future?
If it wasn’t for the fact that I have yet to graduate from University and find a job I probably would have had more already. Yet, sometimes I feel like getting twenty tattoos and other days I’m perfectly content with only having two. It varies.
8). Which tattoo would you say is the most painful?
Well apparently the wrists are low pain zones for tattoos, but the tattoo on my right wrist definitely hurt more.
9). Do you regret any of your tattoos and why?
No, I love both of my tattoos. However, I do regret going to a different tattoo artist for the second one. I went to the same tattoo studio, but the lady that had done my first tattoo was booked for six months in advance (yes really) and I had my mind set on having it done on my birthday. This meant that a more “junior” artist had done the second tattoo and he did a good job. I just would’ve liked if the line work had been a bit more precise and saturated like that of my first tattoo. But luckily this can be fixed. However I’ve decided that whenever I get my next tattoo (if I get one) I’d rather wait six months than have it done by anyone else.
10). What was your least painful tattoo?
Even though both my tattoos are essentially on the “same” parts of my body, my first tattoo on my left wrist hurt less than the second one on my right wrist. Personally, I think this was due to two reasons. Firstly, let me just say that I’m petrified of needles. What added to this mounting fear was that I had to have blood drawn from the veins on my wrist the year before, which had resulted in me semi-passing out. So in all honesty, I probably would have pulled out of going had we not already paid the deposit. So what I’m trying to say is that, I think I made such a big deal about it building up to my appointment, that by the time the tattoo artist started it wasn’t half as painful as I thought it would be. Secondly, I noticed that, weirdly enough, the letters on the outer edges of my wrist hurt less than those in the middle. I think this is why when I went to get my second tattoo I was overly confident that it wouldn’t hurt that much, which just meant that it hurt all the more. The “Joy” tattoo is also placed more in the middle of my wrist, which is a more sensitive spot. Another factor of course could have been the fact that we were in the middle of a heat wave on the day that I went for my second tattoo. If I’m not mistaken it was about 37 °C and extremely humid, which meant that as I was driving home from the tattoo studio, I had beads of black ink-sweat running down my arm.So if I can give anyone advice, I’d definitely recommend having it done in the autumn/winter or when the weather isn’t hot enough to make you sweat as you have to keep the tattoo covered for a certain period of time during the healing process.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about my tattoos and my experience getting them!
Photos by Deirdré De Bruyn from CupiCamera.
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