I got my first tattoo at the age of 19.

Get ready to roll your eyes now.
Are you ready?

My first tattoo was a butterfly on the small of my back. Yup, I have a tramp stamp. Not only a tramp stamp, but the most typically placed tramp stamp in all the land.

I don’t care though. When I choose my tattoo and designed it with the artist, a butterfly tramp stamp wasn’t a THING yet. I picked the design because the very first story I ever wrote was about a prankster Adonis butterfly. To me, my tattoo symbolized the happiness that writing gave me. I chose my lower back because I figured that when I was older, I probably wouldn’t be wearing bikinis anymore. I would know it was there, but it wasn’t necessarily out there for others to see.

Even after 18 years, I still love it.

I got my second tattoo about 6 years ago. It’s a tiny black star (about the size of your thumbnail) on my foot. I’m not even kidding when I say that it probably took longer to prepare the equipment than it did to actually tattoo the star. I love this one too and it symbolizes my family and how important they are to me.

When Travis and I got married, he put in a request that I would not get any more tattoos. He’s not really a fan of ink and doesn’t have any himself. While he didn’t dislike my tattoos, he said that he’d prefer me not add to the collection.

This was kind of difficult for me because for a long time I flirted with the idea of getting a partial sleeve of tattoos on my arm. For those not familiar with the terminology – it would be large tattoo (or group of tattoos) that would go from my shoulder cap to halfway down my upper arm, similar to wearing a short-sleeved shirt out of a tattoo.

A partial sleeve is a HUGE commitment of money, time and skin space. I don’t know when I first had the idea that I’d want one… but it’s been living in the back of my head for probably 10 years now.  When imagining my design, I purposefully had it stopping at an exact point that could be covered by a short-sleeved sweater for work. For the art, I love old botanical illustrations and would want to include a flower symbolizing each member of my family. Narcissus (mom’s birthday in December), Lily of the Valley (dad’s birthday in May), Peony (I have three April birthdays – my 2 sisters and my husband), Chrysanthemum (brother’s birthday in November), and Primrose (son’s birthday in February).

For the design, I imagine something similar in feeling to this or this. Beautiful, colorful and very feminine.

After years of talking about it, my husband made me an offer. If I supported him in buying the diesel truck that he had been wanting, he would support me in getting my tattoo. Yup, he’s such a dude. However, when I showed him images of what I would like, he actually said that it was pretty.

So there you go, I have “permission.”

Actually, I’ve had permission for about a year now. I keep holding off though because I want to make sure that I’m making the right decision. This is something that will be with me for the rest of my life. Part of what is making me want to move forward is the thought that we don’t know how much life we have.

I’ve found a local artist that I admire and want to meet with him to work on a design.  Before I pull the trigger, I really want/need to get my weight down to where it should be since that will affect the size of my arm when it’s tattooed. Lastly, I’d want to start the process in the fall to minimize the amount of sun my arm will get until it is fully healed.

Part of me thinks that I should have outgrown the urge to be tattooed though. The perception is that tattoos are for rebellious teenagers, right? It’s never really been that way for me though. Ever since I was little and would wear my stick-on tattoos with pride, I’ve thought that they were beautiful. I do understand that many people hate them though – including my parents.

How about you, as a blog reader, would you have assumed that I had any tattoos? Do you have any tattoos? If yes, what do they symbolize to you? Do you still love them or wish you could get them removed?

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19 thoughts on “Tattoo”

  1. I am inkless! Actually, my little penguin blog logo? He started life as a tattoo line drawing I had my friend do for me, but I chickened out. When I asked her to help me make a blog header, he reappeared, swapped his daisy for a book, and voila.

  2. NO, I would not have expected you to have any tattoos. But, glad that you do 🙂 I have about 8 now I think. I want more. I am such an addict and I subscribe to a variety of tattoo FB pages and want another more and more everyday. I’m always designing another piece of artwork in my head. I love the artwork that I see and the different placements. There is only one random tattoo that I wouldn’t mind having covered and that is of an ice cream cone I got when I was around 20. Not sure what I was thinking when I got it, since it has absolutely no symbolism. Most of mine are of butterflies….I find them to be freeing. They symbolize life for me and I love them.

    1. I find them to be painful, but worth it. My first one took 1 1/2 hours and I remember saying that I would NEVER go through that again. Of course, a partial sleeve will take much longer than that…

    1. Yup, my parents HATE my tattoos. To be fair, I probably would be annoyed if Jack got one. But he’s 2. And that would be weird and illegal.

    2. Don’t feel bad, my mom LOATHES my tattoos and I keep them out of sight around my parents as much as possible. But it’s my skin and honestly it doesn’t impact my mother’s life in any way so she doesn’t really get a say in the matter.

  3. I have three…soon to be four, but I’m picky. My first was a spur of the moment with a guy I was with at the time, a matching sun/spiral thing on my right shoulder blade – but I did design it! The second is a Pink Floyd ‘Mind over Matter’ symbol which I spent months deciding on – even had it drawn on me several times before I went through with it – lower back, left side. The third which is lower back right side is a Guinness harp, which my husband, best friend and I all got done on a drunken weekend in Dublin. The fourth is to be a Celtic style raven on my left shoulder, as my son’s name means ‘bright raven’, and I want to reflect our heritage as well. Still looking for exactly what I want though!

    I love all of my tattoos, and I actually quite like getting them done, but work and a (very) conservative father means I keep them on my back.

    My wee three year old tries to rub them off me – does your lad do that?

    1. Actually, I don’t think Jack has even noticed them yet. I’m the same way on finding EXACTLY what I want and then sitting on it for a while. =)

  4. Oh tattoos! I got my first when I was 17. 17 I tell you! I beautiful butterfly on my shoulder. I absolutely adore my tattoo and its totally me(almost 15 years later!) Since then I’ve wanted more but never found anything I’ve loved. My husband is very anti-tattoo also. For a while I’ve had the idea to get my kids names on my feet. Across the side of one foot I would like my daughters name with a rose on top of my foot by my toes (her middle name is rose) and on the other foot I’d like my sons name with an anchor on the top of my foot by my toes. Hubby seems ok with the idea. Now its just a matter of time and money! I love tattoos on the arm inside the wrist area also. I’d love to get a small double heart (theme of our wedding) to represent me and my hubby!
    I don’t think tattoos are rebellious. I think they are beautiful art. I have many friends who have several tattoos and I’ve always thought they are a beautiful and wonderful expression of ones self!

    1. I like tattoos that represent your children. I can say that the feet are a pretty painful area to tattoo since there isn’t any fat. But I’m kind of a wimp.

  5. I think I’ve seen your foot tattoo before, but I didn’t know about the butterfly. I got one tattoo 4-5 years ago and I don’t regret it at all. It’s in an area that very few people will see (purposeful decision on my part), and it means so much to me. While my husband doesn’t dislike it, he would rather me not get anymore either, which is fine with me because I never planned to. The tattoo is a dove done in an open-outline style and it symbolizes a time in my life where I really discovered myself and my inner strength. It’s a great reminder to me that, even when things seem very difficult, I can – and will – get through it.

    I think that tattoos are a very personal thing. I don’t think they’re only for rebellious teenagers, and I think that, if chosen thoughtfully and carefully, can be great.

    PS. That IS a nice diesel he chose 😉

    1. LOL Jessy. Yes, Travis loves his diesel.

      I also purposefully choose areas that can be easily kept under wraps. Even if I go for a partial sleeve, it will be easily covered when I am at work. I thought I was okay without getting any more, but once Travis put it back on the table it lit a fire under me…

  6. I’m kinda shocked in an awesome way. I have 6 tattoos and I know I’m going to add to my collection. I already have the next 2 planned. Btw….first tattoo at 15, Butterfly. On my back but to the side. Although I’ve now got lilies that go across my whole lower back I don’t consider it a tramp stamp because ya know, I’m not a tram and it doesn’t hang out of my pants.

    A sleeve is a huge commitment and although I’m not ashamed of any of my tattoos I’m always hesitant to do very obvious ones. I work in a corporate environment and that’s a reality I have to accept. I do want to add to my back though.

  7. Yippee! So happy you are finally getting that partial sleeve! Sounds like a good deal with Travis. I’m scheduled for my new ink in just a few weeks. Aaaack! 🙂

  8. If I have tattoos mentally, does that count? I don’t have any…. yet, but I want them. I’ve always been super picky and terrified of regretting it and super grateful I haven’t been in situations because I would not want what 19 year old Sara wanted. I would love to have something super meaningful but have yet to figure it out fully. It also doesn’t help that I have a husband who just doesn’t like them and I work in a job where appearance is judged first. However, if I was setting sail across the Pacific tomorrow, I would get a compass rose on my right shoulder blade with a “71” on it for my dad who passed (his racecar #); a number of small sparrows flying across my back for family members I intend to return to, and the Golden Gate Bridge on my foot (home). On my very first snorkeling trip in Maui this February, I saw a purple octopus so I am toying with getting him tattooed on my left ankle with tentacles crossing my foot and wrapping around. I even have a picture of him! I have a kinship for octopuses and starfish since they can regenerate and I did grow my right thumb tip back after a kitchen accident. And I have my artists picked out. So in short, no I don’t have tattoos. I think they’re really cool – for people who know what they want. And I obsess by looking at pictures of them on Pinterest. Someday…. (PS – you’re a badass, thanks for sharing and please post pics of the sleeve!)

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