I got my first tattoo yesterday.
A big moment, especially considering that a tattoo is something I’ve wanted for several years. If only vaguely to begin.
Still, much as I’ve wanted one and for as long as I’ve wanted one, I was surprised that on the morning of this significant and irreversible event – expensive removal surgery aside – I didn’t feel all that anxious. On waking, it felt like a rather average day. At least, as average as any day that requires me to venture into London.
Getting ready and “adequately fed”, as advised, was a consciously quick, though not panicked endeavour. It saw me and my sister arrive at the train station on time, with the help of a lift from my mother. Throughout our journey that ensued from there, I continued to feel little anxiety related to the ever-approaching appointment. Though there was one memorable moment when my heart lurched in nervous anticipation, shortly after we arrived in London.
The anxiety I experienced was related to travel, due to cancellations and delays at our first station, and later trouble with certain stations on the London Overground. All of which led to a fortuitous opportunity for my sister to briefly chat to and shake hands with Asa Butterfield. (Otis from Sex Education for those of you that can’t match actor to real-life name.) More importantly for the purpose of the day, the issues didn’t stop us from arriving at the tattoo parlour on time, thanks to my good planning.
After that, there was the admin of a medical form, and waiting for the design to be drawn and finalised. Even sitting in the very room I would permanently get my skin inked, I only felt preoccupied with the notion as my sister and I talked and waited.
Then I saw the design. It was created based on inspiration images I chose myself, by an artist whose work I had followed on Instagram and admired for more than a year, Jezz-Lee. Seeing it in front of me, in black-and-white, I mostly just felt reassured about my choices, in artist and image. There were only minor changes in orientation and size before the tattooing got started. And 30 painful but bearable minutes later, spend with my chin somewhat uncomfortably tucked into my chest, I had a tattoo that I was more than a little pleased to finally see in place. A finely drawn triskelion – in more ways than one – pretty and in stark black, on the back of my neck.
The symbol is one that I quickly became enamoured with after first seeing it on and coming to associate it with Lost Girl, despite its extremely brief appearance on the TV show. The fantasy drama is one I watched and loved in my teens, a time which I’m sure for many of us feels so significant at the time. Even now, I clearly recognise aspects of that time as being key to me becoming, understanding, and accepting myself as I am now, including my budding notions of creating a blog. The triskelion feels somewhat inexplicably but irrevocably tied to that. The pain of its application, and the soreness I experienced in the area for the remainder of the day, were a small price to pay for a solid representation of that significance so beautifully drawn on my body.
Another benefit of the day is that it allowed me some one-on-one time with my favourite sister, who will in a few short months be off to study abroad. Throughout the day, we chatted away to pass the time and enjoyed each other’s silent company when we preferred to be on our phones or in our own heads. After my appointment, we even got the chance to play virtual reality games together at Otherworld.
So, the day may have started out feeling innocuous enough, but it left me with good memories and a permanent souvenir. One that ties me more significantly to 4 July than just being a somewhat Americanised, still-relatively-young adult that never forgets to note that it’s Independence Day.
Yesterday marked a first, if not only, that I will carry with me for all my years to come. One that I will hopefully always think of fondly.