It’s a common topic of conversation: the tattoo we would get if only we were more decisive, less wary of the medical risks involved, or less fearful of the pain. For some, getting inked is no more than a fleeting idea, but if anxiety is preventing you from getting the tattoo of your dreams, there are ways to manage it.
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Consider the tattoo’s placement, as some areas of the body are more sensitive than others. If tolerance is a concern, ask your tattoo artist about taking regular breaks. While blood-thinning substances (alcohol and some forms of pain relief medication) are not advised, some tattoo artists prefer numbing cream, which can help take the edge off.
Most tattoo artists agree that if you’ve decided on a design to wait for at least a year before getting it done. If in doubt, you can always trial a semi-permanent option or even a custom transfer, or there’s always the option of laser removal.
3. Societal Expectations
Despite being more widely accepted than before, there are still some situations where tattooing is frowned upon. For work, consider something that you can hide during office hours. Cultural expectations are a little more complicated, but ultimately it’s up to you and how comfortable you feel with body mods.
4. Money Worries
If affordability is a concern, first set a budget, and stick to it. If you choose a reputable tattoo parlor, they’re more likely to work out the costs with you beforehand, coping with tattoo pain is enough without the unexpected sting of hidden fees at the end.
5. Medical Risks
There’s numerous medical concerns associated with tattoos, and thankfully, most of them are relatively rare. A decent tattoo artist will be fully trained and the premises regularly inspected by health and safety. If ink allergies are a concern, contact your doctor about doing a patch test first.
6. Disapproving Family
Whether it’s issues surrounding bodily autonomy, or even just a clash in personal taste, remember that you own the skin you live in. Letting them know about your plans early on can help to normalize the idea for them, but if you encounter negative comments, set clear, kind boundaries. This reinforces the message that you are an adult capable of making your own decisions.
Phrases like “what about when you get older?” have a lot to do with negative views about what older people can and can’t do. Try doing an image search for elders with tattoos; seeing older generations who decided to illustrate their life story in living ink could well change your mind.
It may be that your tattoo artist was off their game that day, or perhaps you sneezed at a crucial moment. Either way, we’re all only human, and mistakes happen. Before you get any work done, have a contingency plan ready, whether that’s an adjustment to the existing design, monetary compensation or payment towards laser removal.
Fears are often based on what we don’t know, so whether it’s a tattoo or any other long term goal, if your fears are stopping you from something you really want, the best thing is to take a step back, breathe deep, and examine exactly where that fear comes from so you know how to handle it.