• Melissa Kartini

#MyFirstTime: Getting a Tattoo

Updated: Aug 6, 2018

You know that feeling when you feel like you are old enough to do anything? Including things that you are 100 percent sure are forbidden by your parents? Yep, that was how I felt when I went and got myself my first tattoo. I had been dreaming to get permanent ink on my skin as long as I can remember. However, my conservative parents told me if I ever got one, I may be kicked out from home. Scary parents, I know, but I also understand that they are worried especially when we are talking about PERMANENT things on our bodies. Which also makes my first tattoo experience kind of brave (and darn painful – I’ll talk about it shortly).

I was in my mid 20s when I got myself a tattoo. I was with my best friend at the time and we went around a few tattoo parlors asking for price quotations. *Imagine Khalid’s “Young, Dumb and Broke” song playing* I wanted the whole bible verse as a tattoo but was unwilling to pay more than RM200. Again, young, dumb and broke. Luckily, one of the tattoo artist’s apprentice was willing to do my tattoo for RM180. I was beyond excited but also terrified. Terrified, but why? Well, since I didn’t get my parents’ approval and went behind their back – I have to hide my tattoo. The only well-hidden areas are those hidden by my clothes that I wear on a daily basis. I don’t count the shoulder area because I always wear tank tops at home!

My first tattoo was inked on my ribcages! The area itself scored 4.5 out of 5 in terms of the level of pain; according to most tattoo artists and those who got their ribcages tattooed. However, I was so determined to get it done and I had not care whatsoever until… the blade cut through my skin. It was like OMG WHAT THE (I don’t think I’m allowed to curse in this article)? And inhale and exhale and inhale and exhale – all the way through the pain. I’m not married yet and have never given birth, but I imagined the process of giving birth because it was similar to the way I inhaled and exhaled. That, and the image of a whale trying to get some air on the surface.

It took about 15-20 minutes and it was the longest 15-20 minutes in my life; apart from waiting for my food to arrive. I was super relieved when it was done and I vowed not to do anymore ribcage tattoos anytime soon. He helped to cover the tattoo and mentioned the things I should and shouldn’t do. Basically, the aftercare routine and whatnot. I went back home feeling like a champion (because I had gotten my dream tattoo) and woke up the next morning to my best friend telling me that my tattoo artist forgot to do the “—” on my “t”. Imagine a “t” without “—” it can be an “I” or worst small letter of L “l”. And yes, I have to bring my traumatized self back to the same tattoo parlor just to get the “—” done. So, my second tattoo is “—”, right?

Such a weird experience but I laugh whenever I remember the time I got my first tattoo (and second LOL). And here I am, years later contemplating on my third(?) tattoo placement because my secret is still well-hidden from my parents. Wish me luck, guys. HAHA. 😉

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