I had always dreamed about getting a tattoo when I turn twenty.
It wasn’t because I wanted to look cool or make a statement that, “I got a tattoo…look at me!” or I wanted to show I was a bad ass but I got it because it meant something really important to me and I wanted to mark that permanently into my life.
Many people suggested me not to do it, justifying themselves that getting something permanent that would stay with you for rest of my life would be a huge commitment to make and the thing is I didn’t mind. Then they were those people that criticized about the fact that I can’t donate blood or will permanently injure myself if the tattoo gets infected. Some even judged me for it saying i was trying too hard.
But I still went on with my gut, I was ready to make that commitment.
Just two days before I turned twenty I went to one of best, oldest and an expensive Tattoo Studio in Chennai. I had called them beforehand, getting all the information I needed and saved up money here and there to get one because to be honest, tattoo isn’t cheap.
I even volunteered to do engineering drawing charts for my classmates and charged them two hundred bucks per chart.
So just like that, I prepared myself mentally to get one.
I had already surfed the net on what I wanted to get, kept imagining where I would want it to be and always had that affirmation in my head that it was going to be perfect.
But life doesn’t always turn out exactly the way you wanted it to be.
To be quite honest, though I was ready to get the tattoo but I wasn’t ready to tell my parents about it, fearing that they would discourage me somehow and manage to convince me that I should wait for a few more years to get one.
So, I decided to keep a secret from them which I regret till today. I decided to get the tattoo on my back, right in between where they won’t able to see.
Only my best friend knew about my plans and she always respected my ideals and saw things from my perspective so she never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do.
But when I went to the tattoo parlor that morning, with the design that I wanted and the place where I wanted it to be, it turned out to be a little disappointing.
The tattoo artist was very professional and he actually sat with me for like ten minutes talking to me about why I wanted the tattoo, if I am ready to get one or if I am legally able to get one.
He said the design that I wanted would not be ideal for a first tattoo and the place where I chose for the tattoo to be will hurt so much that I might be not be able to take the pain.
I started second guessing myself, wondering if this is the right thing to do especially when I was hiding it from my parents. So, the pressure was more on me.
He understood my liking for minimalistic design and simplicity. He understood my reason for why I was planning to get it and suggested a way around that wouldn’t downgrade my reasons to get one but also on the other hand make my first tattoo experience memorable.
He gave me a different design and suggested me a place where it won’t hurt that much and I would be able to take it. But the problem is I was getting the tattoo on the upper part of my back, which would be visible and my plan of hiding it from my parents may not actually work out.
He asked me to take a day or two, think about it carefully and come back but I didn’t want to waste any time. I wanted to do it that day only because if I walk out of that place, I might not come back.
I had two of my friends who accompanied me that day but they had this doubt on the back of their heads that I might chicken out last minute and wouldn’t go through it and that added more to my insecurities.
So, I called my best friend, who lived in another city and was interning in an office. She was really busy so she got frustrated that I was second guessing myself and she just gave me an ultimatum “do it or don’t do it!” and she cut the phone on me.
So, I took a deep breath, walked back in and I told the tattoo artist that I was ready.
So, I did it.
I got this beautiful butterfly.
My initial design was also a butterfly but I just got a different design. I decided on the butterfly after thinking about it for so many years. I was very sure of that becoming my first tattoo
Why a butterfly? Because for me it signified me blossoming into an adult where I was ready to fly and face life and whatever it throws at me. I had been through a lot in life (which I don’t want to go deep into) but I still came out strong in the end of the day.
I was ready to experience the world in own way, fly away.
I received a lot of criticism that “it was too girly” or “it was too mainstream; every girl gets it now and then” but I shut it all that out.
It was all mine, a decision I made and others opinion didn’t matter at all.
It didn’t hurt me at all, in fact it felt like a prick.
It was small, simple and minimalistic, just the way I liked it.
But after getting it, I felt this immediate guilt that I didn’t tell my parents about it. And now that I was sure I couldn’t hide it from them, I wanted to tell them as soon as possible before anyone else comes to know about it.
I have a younger sister too, who knew about this but she promised not to tell my parents. So, she was the first person I called after getting one and she absolutely loved it. My best friend was unreachable but I managed to send her picture through WhatsApp.
So that night, I sat down and tried calling my father first, building up enough courage to tell him about it and when I did call him, he didn’t pick up the phone. I called up my mother but I couldn’t tell her, because I knew she would flip out more than my father so I made the conversation short and wished her a good night.
As I was lying on my bed, trying to sleep but the guilt still ate me up. Yes, it was a decision I made for me but I didn’t want to hide it from anyone. I wanted to show it off, proudly. In a way, I wanted my parents to know that I am ready and prepared for commitments that will be in much bigger scale in future and also that I am ready to face consequences of every action or risque that I take.
So, I wrote a mail to my father, stating all my reasons of why I got one, where I got it etc. I thought at that time it was best thing to do. And I finally could go to sleep as it kind of gave me relief that I was done with the part of telling them though sending a mail was cowardly thing to do.
Then I waited for his reply in the morning.
And when he did I was shocked and stunned. I expected a lecture or some statement where he would be stating that was disappointed in me but instead my father acknowledged my decision, said he loved the design and the reason why I got it and he totally approved of it. The only thing that made him sad was he wished I could have shared this whole experience with him, from the start to the end instead of me telling him after the deed was done.
That’s what made me feel bad. I was so hard bent on making this about me that I totally forgot that there are some people in this world who really wish to see you make your decisions in life and want to see you succeed and just be there for moral support.
But other than that, I have no regrets, not even one bit and though some people have made fun of it, I still love my first tattoo because it was perfect in its own way.