Everything I learned from getting my first tattoo

How soon can I get my next one?

In today's day and age, tattoos are becoming more accepted by society – both in terms of jobs and in terms of people generally becoming more understanding of people's differences and methods of self-expression.

Naturally this means a much wider variety of people are choosing to get inked than say, ten years ago, which is one of the reasons I decided to get my first tattoo last week.

Now before I get calls of "a tattoo is permanent you know!" yes, funnily enough, I am aware and have known I've wanted one for the last three years. This is not a spur of the moment decision.

In terms of the design, I had to see if I liked it enough to get it tattoo'd permanently – thanks mum for making me wait when I wanted that arrow tattoo two years ago, my tastes have definitely changed since then.

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So to start off my tattoo *journey* I knew it was a good idea to research a lotttt, like more than I have done for my degree so far…whoops. Cue the endless scrolling on Pinterest and through various artists and studios' Instagrams to figure out what kind of styles I liked.

So amidst my scrolling, I stumbled upon a small tattoo studio called Whiteward Tattoo, just outside of Edinburgh. As soon as I saw their designs I was sold.

The style was simple, delicate and all black hand poked tattoos. I think I must have ended up scrolling through their Instagram every day for the past two months. So I was set on the place, and quickly became set on a design when I saw they had already done a Venus symbol on someone else.

It was perfectly small and simple for a first tattoo, and so I messaged them on Instagram initially to just inquire, which then turned into almost booking it there and then.

The artists were very helpful and after about a week of trying to find a date, we settled on one, and a deposit was sent.

The nerves and excitement hit. This was actually happening. I spent the weeks leading up to my appointment trying to figure out placement, talking to the artists and finding out that most of the places I wanted it were actually not suitable for a hand poked tattoo.

Surprisingly, my mum was fine with it. Dad on the other hand said I couldn't get a tattoo… unless I got "Dad" tattoo'd on me. Maybe next time.

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At the studio

I got to the studio and Daniele, my artist, came out and met me before we went into in. The room was tiny, with only a bed, cupboards with his supplies, a sink, a table and chair, all in complementary black and white.

We got chatting about how I found them, how popular this design was becoming, and Brexit, funnily enough.

Daniele made me feel very comfortable and calm as we chatted, which definitely helped calm my nerves. Soon the forms were filled in and the stencil was stuck on my arm in a place we both decided on, and I jumped on the bed.

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They had cacti in the window too

To prepare me for how it would feel, Daniele poked me with a clean needle a few times, and I was surprised about how little I felt it. And then he started the tattoo, which was not too uncomfortable at all, feeling similar to a cat scratch, crossed with someone pinging an elastic band against my arm. It only started to get more painful towards the end when he was thickening up the line and going over the already open wound.

But it was bearable. I've had worse piercings. We chatted some of the way through, but towards the end I just decided to grit my teeth and get in the zone. The whole tattoo only took about 30 minutes and soon I was being wrapped up and we were going through the aftercare.

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Honestly lying face down on the bed was the most uncomfortable part

All in all, my experience getting my first tattoo was so easy, uncomplicated, and stress free, and was made even better by the fantastic Daniele at Whiteward Tattoo. The reactions to my tattoo have been great and I love it so much because it's so simple and cute. On to the next one.

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University of Edinburgh