Because: Why not?!
(Well, I was massively hungover from my birthday celebrations, so that would've been reason enough to avoid it but...sensible is my middle name).
And hungover or not, it was happening.
I decided at the beginning of the year that I'd do a lot of things in 2015 and getting a tattoo was one of them.
I'd never wanted one before - I'd always said I'd have to be so sure on what I wanted, and there was just nothing I felt strongly enough about to go ahead with.
And then, 2014 was one of the crappiest years I've been through, but there was one particular quote, that kept me going:
And when I read that, I knew I needed it to stay with me, in a permanent way. As cheesy as it sounds, I wanted it as a constant reminder.
As a tattoo.
Having the entire quote would've taken up too much space on my body, I wanted something simple, delicate - so I decided on an arrow. The message would be clear to me, and that's all that would matter.
The second, is a jigsaw piece and it comes from my friendship group at home. All of the girls have a jigsaw piece somewhere on their body - to show how we'll always slot together in some lovely (but absolutely mental) way. They were a huge part of bringing me back up from a very low point in my life and I wanted to join the tribe to show how grateful I am for their presence in my life.
I asked Charly, my best friend and Jamie, my boyfriend (oh, well that feels weird to write on here!) to come with me. It certainly wasn't something I would be able to do on my own - I am the definition of wimp. Deciding on a tattoo artist was a pretty big part of the process, too. I didn't want just anyone doing it - it needed to be someone I knew I could trust to do a good job.
Alex Candela is a tattoo artist at Black Market Tattoos in Leicester City Centre. He's also Jamie's friend and designed the most badass piece on his arm - once Jamie suggested me going to Alex, it just made sense. I already knew that his work was amazing and bringing Jamie along with me meant I'd feel far more comfortable with the whole process, too.
Hours before, waves of hard hitting anxiety washed over me and I was sure at any moment I would throw up, physically crap myself, or something equally dramatic. When I arrived at the shop it was no different and I think Alex could see the panic written across my face. But he was certainly the right pick!
I couldn't have asked for a calmer, more understanding person. Alex is covered head to toe in tattoos, yet hates getting them done himself, so he totally appreciated my 'first time' fears!
He very kindly offered to have a go with the tattoo gun on my back without any ink in it - so that I could feel the sensation of how the process would feel, without committing to actually having it done.
I was so grateful, because even though I was so certain about what I wanted, I wasn't sure I would be able to cope with the pain. So getting to feel it before there was anything permanent on my skin, really helped.
We started with my back and funnily enough, it didn't hurt. Being right on my spine I was convinced that I would be crying like a baby with the pain - but it just felt, well, a bit irritating and uncomfortable to be honest, and my face was constantly scrunched up to match the tension in my body. People are right when they say you can't quite explain the sensation and that everyone experiences it differently. What's painful for me, might not be for you and vice versa.
My wrist however, hurt like a bitch. I didn't look at it once and my hand was so sweaty that I had to put a piece of tissue in-between mine and Charly's hand to soak up the sweat...attractive, I know. I can't really explain the pain, it just didn't feel good.
Here are a few snaps of the process...
I went for simplicity with the design on my wrist and just had the outline of the jigsaw piece - but I wanted a little more detail on my arrow, so I asked Alex to put some light purple shading through the feathers. What do you think?
I've popped a few snaps below of the tattoos a few weeks after I got them done too, so you can see them more clearly now they're on the mend:
I'm head over heels in love with both of them. From the positioning, to the style, to the size and the colours - they are both just very, me.
I'm so thankful to Alex for being such a champ and to Jamie and Charly for coming with me as support.
I couldn't recommend Alex enough and hope if you're local to the area you'll pop in to see how truly incredible he is first hand.
I'm actually thinking of filming a video on the process from deciding what you want to actually getting it done and the aftercare - would that be something you'd like to see?
In summary, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. It's one of the weirdest sensations I've felt, but even the 'pain' on my wrist was bearable. The adrenalin 100% enables you to push through any feelings of discomfort, and it's totally worth it for the end result.
I think I might've even caught the tattoo bug too..what shall I get next guys? I was thinking maybe a fox... ;-)
Make sure you check out Alex's work, too. All his links are below:
*This isn't a sponsored post, I'm just dead excited to share the experience with you lovely lot :-)