My New Tattoos - Being Young & Tattooed, What I've Learnt

Since the tender age of about 10 when I first stumbled on LA Ink I was hooked. Now I know that these reality TV shows depicting the tattoo industry can be a bit controversial but as a young girl, the image of Kat Von D unapologetically rocking a near full body of tattoos was mesmerizing. While I don't know if I'll ever have quite that many myself, I knew that I would eventually have tattoos on my body. I am only 18 and I have 4 tattoos in total, 2 underage and 2 very visible and I think I have learnt a lot from these experiences that I want to share in this post as well as diving into the tattoos themselves.

My first legal tattoo is the bee you see above that sits on my right forearm. It is a dot work bee tattoo that was done by @whisperztattoo (on Instagram) in the Manchester studio Holier Than Thou. At first, there was little meaning apart from being drawn to the image but after having it on my skin it brings so many meanings to me. For example, the bee is the symbol of Manchester, an ode to my home, my family and in many ways my life. It reminds me of hazy summer days where bees fly around and you feel like everything will be okay as long as the sun keeps on shining. It encourages me to be a hard worker, to work for the good of the 'hive'. To notice and love the nature around me.

The second is a cheeky Friday the 13th flash tattoo of two teeth. I got this done in Cardiff in November at a flash day which is where 13 themed tattoos are £13. I first learned about this tradition when I started really getting in tattoos as they were frequently mentioned in many tattoo books I collected. This one has little meaning but I love the placement and how cute and playful they are. They're like a cheeky nod to my extreme sweet tooth. I love that when I go out people approach me as they recognise that its a Friday the 13th tattoo and sometimes proceed to show me their own.

Now I want to write about some things I've learnt from having visible tattoos:

1) The world will not end. So many people tried to discourage me from getting tattoos on my arms out of fear of me limiting myself in career and life. The job market I'm going to be jumping into one day is the creative industry so take what I'm saying here with a pinch of salt, unfortunately if you're looking to be a medical professional or a primary school teacher your experience may be different. However, I've found that they're so easily coverable that many friends I have didn't even realise I had tattoos until months later! Visible tattoos will not make you be cast out as a leper, you will not be unhirable and the majority of people won't treat you any different.

2) People will approach you a lot more. This is both positive and negative. Positive in that many friendships I have began with people asking about tattoos. Strangers, uni seminar leaders, postmen etc have all complimented me on my tattoos and I love that. However, the dark side is that in clubs men are more likely to grab me with the excuse of looking at my tattoos. Also, strangers are not afraid to express dislike of tattoos as rude as this is, on a night out a man once asked me why the f*** have I got such terrible tattoos. It doesn't bother me much but it is something to be aware of!

3) Your body will literally feel like art. I have never loved my body as much as I do now I have tattoos. If this sounds strange to you then you probably never had that experience. I have had body confidence issues as long as I can remember but the opportunity to make myself feel like a walking canvas is liberating. I'm also quite shy and I feel like tattoos help me to express myself to the outside world even when I feel like I can't do it for myself.

4) Not everyone's going to agree with that decision and that's okay! My parents don't like tattoos, my boyfriend doesn't, his family doesn't but THAT'S OKAY. Because I love them! They've taught me to be myself and accept that you have to please yourself at the end of the day. Plus, if those around you really love you they shouldn't care that you have some ink in your skin.

Love always,