“I’d love to get a tattoo, BUT…”
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard those words.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some legitimate reasons for not getting a tattoo: health issues, religion, lack of interest, or your father’s shotgun, for instance.
But that doesn’t describe you, does it?
You’re curious. You see tattoos on friends and strangers and think, “I should get a tattoo; I need to finally do it.” Unfortunately, something is standing in your way, and this time it isn’t your mom:
I want to explore 6 of the most common fears I’ve heard that prevent people from getting inked, and why they should no longer hold you back.
Fear #1 – I might regret it
Yes, you might.
But life is full of decisions you might regret: turning down a job offer, going on a blind date, or eating that last piece of two-week old leftover lasagna. The secret is to make your decision and move on.
If you think you might regret a tattoo, try this:
Hang the design of your future tattoo on your wall. Look at it every day. If you still love it after one or two months, I say go for it.
Don’t be afraid to make a decision because you think someday you’ll regret your choice. Life is too short. Your tattoo will become a part of who you are and it will always be a chapter in your story.
Fear #2 – It will hurt
Yes, it hurts. When the needle first hits your skin it’s a sensation that you’ve never felt before and it doesn’t feel good.
But then the pain starts to dull. Your body releases endorphins and it actually feels good.
Certain areas of the body hurt less than others. For me, the back, upper arm, and forearms were easy.
Bony areas like the tip of your shoulder, wrist, and elbow are more sensitive.
And if you’re really worried about the pain, you can buy numbing spray. Ask your artist about it.
Fear #3 – It might lose its meaning
My first tattoo is a maple leaf with a quote from the Canadian national anthem on my back. I got it when I was 22 years old and I thought it would never lose meaning because I’ll always be Canadian, right?
Sure, I’m still Canadian, but the patriotism is a little much. I probably could have done without the quote. My girlfriend still teases me about it.
But the only way a tattoo won’t lose meaning is if you never change. But that’s not realistic, is it? We’re always changing. That’s what humans do.
Don’t avoid a tattoo because you think it will lose its meaning. I love all my tattoos—even my maple leaf—because they tell a story. My tattoos are like a scrap book of my life; they remind me of who I was, and how far I’ve journeyed.
Fear #4 – It might hinder job opportunities
Are you planning on getting a Mike Tyson facial tattoo? If the answer is yes, then your fear might be real.
Realistically, you probably want to put your tattoo somewhere you can easily hide it at certain times and show it off others.
I cover my tattoos when I go to job interviews. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of them; quite the opposite. But I know the way the world is. People can be judgemental. When I first meet potential employers, I want them to focus on my resume of skills instead of my tattooed arms.
Once I have a job and I’ve proven myself to be competent and difficult to replace, my tattoos start to make an appearance. To date, I’ve never had an employer tell me to hide them.
Fear #5 – It won’t be unique
Yes, tattoos are popular. Many people have them these days and they’re not as unique as they once were. But is that a reason to not get one?
Everyone wears clothes, watches, and jewellery, too. Does that mean you should walk around naked because you hate being a conformist?
Get over it. You’re not the unique little flower your mommy said you were.
Who cares if people think tattoos are old news. You don’t get a tattoo for other people; you get it for you.
Fear #6 – It will look terrible when I’m old
This one always blows me away. If I make it to 70+ years of age, I intend on just being happy with the fact my journey lasted that long. I know my arms will wrinkle and my tattoos might start looking terrible, but that’s a problem for future Eric to deal with.
And at that point, who are you trying to look good for? I’m sorry to break this to you, but if you’re planning on having a thriving super-modelling career after you retire, you might have bigger issues to deal with than the fear of getting a tattoo.
Are you still afraid?
Tattoos aren’t for everyone and I give a ton of respect to people who say, “Tattoos just aren’t for me.”
But if you’re curious about getting a tattoo and you’ve been saying you’re going to do it for a long time, I hope this post gives you the push to go for it.
Heed this warning, however…
Once you get one, you’re gonna want more.