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On March 26, I left my sorority event and went downtown with a friend to get a tattoo consultation. There was an opening on Tuesday, March 29, so I scheduled it. 

I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was sixteen years old. My mom’s best friend had a few, and I always thought they looked so cool. My parents joked that they wouldn’t have to worry about me getting a tattoo since I have such a low pain tolerance.

It was expected that I would be too scared to actually do it. However, it hit me that I turn 20 in October, so I felt the need to get some last-minute teenage rebellion in. 

I got checked in at Ikonik Ink’s new location in downtown State College. Then, I went to Dunkin to grab a drink and wait for my appointment to come around. I was with Sam, my emotional support friend who already has a tattoo. 

Madeline Haller tattoo
Original photo by Madeline Haller

The time finally came.

I was in the chair and Sam offered to take my jacket. I was the kid that held a stuffed animal when she was getting shots, so I was happy to hold on tightly to my jacket. I also held onto Sam’s hand because I was nervous about my low pain tolerance. 

I got a helix tattoo. It follows the same pattern a helix ring piercing would. The tattoo didn’t take longer than five minutes. 

Madeline Haller tattoo
Original photo by Sam Langer

Sam was concerned that I would be in a lot of pain for those five minutes, because an ear isn’t the easiest spot to tattoo, and was shocked when I started smiling and giggling. She took pictures of me in the chair and I just looked so at peace. Like I said, I was the child that brought a stuffed animal to get shots, but I’m also the type of person that laughs on a rollercoaster when everyone screams. 

I bought the aftercare that Ikonik Ink sells, and the anti-bacterial soap they recommend for clean up. It took about two weeks for the tattoo to fully peel and heal. 

I love my tattoo so much. I got it done on my left ear for a really special reason. When I was 10, I got my ears pierced at Claire’s and I flinched so my left ear got messed up. I still wore earrings, but got to the point where I almost ripped my ear because the piercing was so messed up.

I’m extremely self-conscious of my left ear over something I did not choose to have happen to it. I obviously didn’t want a mangled ear — I just wanted to feel cute.

This tattoo was an active choice I made, it was something I chose to have happen to me. And now when I put my hair up, if people look, I feel like they’re staring at the little tattoo that I have control of, not my messed up piercing. 

Madeline Haller tattoo
Original photo by Madeline Haller

Getting a tattoo was such a fun experience. It was exciting to do something I was told I’d be too scared to do. It was fun to do something irresponsible, but I also put it in a spot where it can be hidden in a professional setting.

This is just another fun story I can’t wait to tell my future children about college and the best years of my life. 

Madeline (she/her) is a first-year at Penn State studying Psychology and Labor and Human Resources from Bangor, Pennsylvania.
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