I have a routine for how to get a tattoo. Yep, you read that correctly. :)
I'm a professional organizer, and I'm a creature of habit. Once I do something a few times, a pattern emerges, I recognize it and the system gets established. Tattoos are no exception, so here are some of my tattoo inspiration and routine tips. Enjoy and please don't hesitate to ask me any questions. Okay? Rock on!
There are many reasons why people get tattoos, and they can range from very meaningful and well thought out to completely meaningless and unplanned. The real answer to this question is that it depends on the person, so I will answer it from my perspective (and my perspective only).
My tattoos are all a form of expression...they all express something heavily meaningful to me. I view them as visual representations of things that have had emotional impacts on my life. These so called emotional impacts are things that have changed my life forever, good and bad, but the point is that they are always there (whether or not you can "see" them). Thus, getting something permanent on my skin that represents them is not such a scary thought...at least it's not to me.
In fact, it has become a form of therapy if you will. Let me explain. This is the tattoo on my left foot...
It is the coordinates of a star that is named "Tater Tot Shines!" after our puppy, Tater Tot, with a scaled down copy of her paw print by my big toe. Also in the photo is the little ham of a Pug we have now, Brisket. If you haven't met Brisket yet, read this.
Tater Tot died just before her second birthday very suddenly and very tragically, and our world was completely turned upside down. It was one of the hardest things I've ever gone through, because I had no time to prepare. One day she was gone and that was it. We were beyond shocked. It was as if our world just stopped.
We were not only stunned by the way she died and how quickly she was gone, but it was the absence of her strength that made the hole in our hearts even larger. Tater Tot had been a beacon of light in the dark times we had experienced right before this whole travesty when John's (my husband) father passed away less than a week after our wedding. Thus, we felt like our bright shining star had disappeared and we were just lost in the dark.
All of that said, clearly my heart had been ripped out and the emotional scarring would never go away...and it hasn't. I think about Tater Tot every day to this day, and over time (very, very slowly) my thoughts of her turned from grief and sadness into gratefulness of her presence in my life and an unwavering strength. So...like I said, the emotional impact hasn't waned. It has morphed but it's still there, so a good year after her passing I got the tattoo.
Every time I see this tattoo, I find comfort. I remember what a bad ass she was and how she made others laugh. I remember that she lived her life to the absolute fullest while she was here and that I should do the same.
Every time I see the tattoo, I am happy that I've honored her in such a visible, permanent way. It sparks conversations with others who are curious about it, and it gives me the opportunity to tell Tater Tot's tale. I love telling her story, and it has become this inspiring legend.
Now, after reading that, you might think, "Wow! Nothing like that has ever happened to me, so what would I get a tattoo for?" Keep reading. :)
You don't need a crazy sad story like that to justify getting a tattoo, and just because the above story is very heavy doesn't mean that all of my tattoos have backgrounds like that. They don't. What they DO all have are meaningful messages that inspire me on a regular basis. That's it.
However, it's really important not to mistake the simplicity of my statement for a quick, rash decision on something you "like." No no no. It has to be something that you wholeheartedly believe in, something that motivates you to be better, something that gives you strength, something that you'd be proud to have on your body when your old and wrinkly, something so iron clad in your existence that you simply can't be without it.
Here are some ideas of things to draw your tattoo inspiration from:
Lastly, I love exploring the tattoos of others. Some good places to get tattoo ideas are:
Now you know about the background of one of my tattoos and how I come up with tattoo ideas. I'm going to give you one more little gem of advice, and it's part of my actual routine for how to get a tattoo.
It's going to seem simple but it's not. In fact, it might be the hardest part but it's the most crucial. That is...time. You have to give it time. Once you figure out what tattoo you want, where you're going to get it on your body (which is a whole other post) and what tattoo studio you are going to use, you should wait. Wait until you are 100% sure you want this permanent mark on yourself. Wait until you can't wait any longer. Wait until you are so sure that you want it, that not having it feels like something is missing. Then you are ready.
I did this with Tater Tot's tattoo. I could have gotten a tattoo the day after she died and I wanted to, but I wasn't ready (and that's not how to get a tattoo). It would have been out of grief instead of commemoration and strength. Rather, I waited many months until the stars aligned (pun intended) and I was absolutely sure that I couldn't live without it.
That, my friends, is the key to how to get a tattoo. Time. If you give yourself enough time to think about a tattoo, you will filter out anything that you could potentially "grow" out of, anything that you don't feel as emotionally strong about anymore and anything that you'll regret in the long run.