My First Tattoo (Experience & Meaning)

1501763518648Today I have had my first tattoo. Its a small glyph which codes for the action “to create”, on the inside of my left wrist. For years I didn’t think I would ever find something important enough to me to be marked on my body forever (which considering I’m a fairly commitment-phobic person, could happen), but I’m incredibly happy with my choice and can’t see that happening right now. So I know what you’re wondering: why “create”… and how much did it hurt?


Why? (I think No. 1, 4, 7 and 8 are my favourites)

For numerous reasons, some coming down to design, some coming down to meaning:

  1. The design was simple, clean, and minimal (three things I love), and not something so complex that a) I would go off it, or b) have much trouble lazering it off (because I did have to consider this could one day have to happen if the lines faded or I changed my mind)
  2. Creating is something I have lived my life doing ever since I remember: writing stories, creating fantasy worlds and characters. When I say creating through writing has been in my life since I can remember, I really mean it. I kept a book I was writing something in at all times throughout my childhood.
  3. I spent the best three years of my life creating collection after collection of poems at uni. It reminds me of my journey through this, making improvements to (and constantly improving) my creative work
  4. It reminds me of my ultimate goal in life: to be a published poet. To do this I need to keep creating poetry and seeking inspiration, even when I may not feel like it.
  5. It reminds me of my smaller goal: to return to Newcastle and complete an MA in Creative Writing, at some point. I’m taking a break to work and get a bit of life experience first…
  6. Before the above I’ll be working on creating social media content for food and drink brands. It reminds me (not that I need it) to be grateful that every day I will be doing something creative.
  7. It’s like me giving myself a little pep-talk every time I look at my writing hand (I’m left-handed), and its keeping me accountable for achieving my goals. Even if I’m feeling unmotivated I can always try to write something in my creative journal, to reach for these goals.
  8. It reminds me that I create the reality I want to live. Whatever happens I am in charge of how I respond, and the future those responses then create for me. As someone who has struggled with their mental health I felt like this was another important memo I had to have tattoo-ed onto my wrist.


Process & Pain Rating?

This hurt no-where near as much as I had been told it would. It was like someone was scratching your wrist with a drawing pin. That was it.

The process was fairly simple on the day. The tattoo artist (if you come from Bradford, I really recommend Studio 38 and Danny Scott) had several different sizes of the glyph printed out. I chose one, he applied this to my wrist using some kind of transferable ink to use as a stencil. He prepared the inking gun, I had a cup of tea, and he then carefully traced the lines using the tattoo gun. There was a lot of anti-bacterial lotions etc used along the way. When it was all done, he cleaned it up, and wrapped it in cling-film. After 1 hour I was to take this off, and follow my after-care instructions. This meant cleaning it with warm water and a bit of antibacterial soap (if I wanted to use that), rinsing in cold water, patting dry, then rubbing a small amount of cocoa butter body lotion onto it to prevent it drying out and scabbing too much. As it’s a small design it shouldn’t scab over badly at all.

I had it done at 10am, and the swelling and redness is all but gone. The lines look very sharp, and it isn’t painful at all. I have to wrap it back up before bed, and repeat those steps for about two weeks. I should be able to go to the gym and stuff tomorrow. Showers are okay, but no long soaks in the tub.


There you have it. I am over the moon with my tattoo and had a really good experience! Right now I don’t have any immediate plans for more tattoos, but if I do get more then they will be more glyphs, possibly on my ankle or ribcage. I’m already eye-ing up the ones that mean “learn”, “challenge”, and “explore”…