A family affair

The story behind my first and only tattoo began about a year and a half ago when my mother — who at this point has four tattoos — decided it would be nice if she, my sisters and I all got a tattoo together.

Of course, when four people are required to make a decision on something as permanent as a tattoo, much debate is involved. We couldn’t agree on what to get or where we should get it. I have to admit, I put up quite the fuss over what it should be. I didn’t want an angel or flower or whatever else my mum and sisters suggested. When we had finally agreed to what the tattoo would be, then came the question of where it should go. I suggested we all choose our own spot for the tattoo and the others agreed.

When the day finally came, I was having second thoughts. In fact, I made the mistake of verbalizing these thoughts to my mum on the way into the tattoo shop. She looked disappointed, having been excited about the four of us being able to share this experience. I quickly reassured her I was just nervous and said I was looking forward to having this tattoo.
I should tell you what we had decided upon for our tattoo: a sleeping baby angel with the word “Love” underneath. I have to admit the sketch our artists had come up with was beautiful. They had made all the necessary changes to our starting picture of an ugly cherub with clown hair, transforming it into something I was actually excited to have permanently inked into my skin.

After months of waiting, the time had come for the four of us to be tattooed. With two artists, each doing two of us, I was next after my little sister. What followed was the worst pain I have ever experienced.

I never really thought I was a wimp when it came to pain but the day I got my first tattoo showed me otherwise. Now, it should be noted that for my first tattoo I picked what my artist called one of the most painful spots to have done. I had chosen to have my side tattooed, an area of the body that is particularly painful due to the number of ribs that just happen to be there.

The pain when the needle first touched my skin was incredible. This first moment was followed by two and a half hours of equally excruciating pain. I admit it; I spent much of the time with tears silently streaming down my face. Judge me if you will, but it really hurt. I am very thankful that my artist was probably the sweetest tattoo artist ever. She was very encouraging and said I was doing a great job for the first time, especially someone having their side done. I particularly appreciated when she sprayed the area with some wonderful numbing stuff, which she said I could have as often as I needed.

Also helping me through the tattoo was my mother. She held my hand the whole time and kept the conversation going to keep my mind off of the pain as much as possible. I was very happy to have her with me. I honestly don’t think I would have made it otherwise.

Finally, though, it was over. I had survived my first tattoo.

Looking back, I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to have my first tattoo with three of the most important people in my life. To me, this tattoo is a symbol of the love my mum, my sisters and I have for one another. It is a reminder that even when we are not together, that we are never truly apart. No matter where we are or what we are doing we will always have each other and that is truly a wonderful feeling.