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My new tattoo looks nothing like what I wanted, and was definitely NOT worth the pain (in my experience).


New Girl Nick Miller Frustrated GIF
Giphy / Fox

I would like to think I am the type of person who does spontaneous, on-the-whim sort of things and deals with the consequences in a relaxed and casual manner. However, the truth is, I am normally a ball of nerves and anxiety trying to play it cool. 

Sure, the idea of a tattoo was always alluring to me. I liked how it looked on other people, the edgy yet dainty style of thin black lines creating a beautiful masterpiece capturing whatever they had wanted. I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to different tattoo designs. I had always planned to get a tattoo eventually, far, far down the road when my mom’s disapproval did not scare me as much and I didn’t live under her roof. I often talked about the idea with friends and excitedly discussed what we would get, where we would get it, and think “OMG wouldn’t it look so cute in a picture?” I never had any concrete plans to follow through with the idea, as in no set appointment, time-frame, or place I would go to get it done. It was all a hypothetical dream that my former self longed for. 

Well, not to be pessimistic, but I wish I could go back to that version of myself. And by version of myself, I mean one without a wonky looking bird on my rib cage. 

If you’re wondering how I go to this point, I still am too. It was only last week, on a boring, insignificant Tuesday that my friend proposed the idea of going and getting tattoos together. I called early in the day and asked about walk-ins and found that we could come in whenever and ask for Trent. At the time, it sounded like a brilliant idea. What better way to avoid studying than getting a tattoo inked on my skin permanently, am I right? But, as the clock ticked closer and closer to when I was supposed to go, the fear and uneasiness kicked in. I honestly believe it was my instincts telling me that this was an awful idea, but my stubbornness won over and I drove to my friends house. From there, I got in her car and she drove us to the tattoo parlor that was a couple towns over. The whole ride, my stomach was in knots and I kept telling her that there was no way I was doing this. She, of course, took this as fear of the upcoming pain and insisted I would be fine and that yes – I was doing it. This was not the case, however, because it finally donned on me that this WASN’T what I wanted. I was not the type of person to have something permanently on my body. I changed my mind constantly about what my favorite color was, so how could I pick a tattoo that I would like forever? The answer to that was: I couldn’t. I wish I had realized this sooner and didn’t pass off the intense hesitation as just nerves. 

I should also mention that on the drive over, my friend told me her cousin had told her that we did not want to get one of the tattoo artists there, because he was not very good. I asked the name of the artist, and she replied “Trent”. Yup, the guy who we were about to go see. In hindsight, this should have been the biggest red flag of all and I should have started running in the other direction. I would like to blame it on my state of mind at the time, but I really don’t have any good excuse for why I still let him tattoo me. 


it's always sunny frustrated dennis
FXX / Giphy

Anyways, we finally arrived at the place, and at that point, I think I totally zoned out. I filled out the consent forms, waited as my friend went first, and then went under the needle myself. I’m not going to lie, it felt like a hundred paper cuts at once which certainly did not help my already growing anxiety. I, being the very smart person I am, also got it in one of the worst spots pain wise – on my ribs. I had picked out a fairly cute image of two tiny birds flying side by side in an ode to my late grandparents, who I like to imagine are the cardinals that visit my bird feeder every morning. I’ll admit that at first, I really liked it and was excited that I had actually done it. The ride to my friend’s house, I was on an adrenaline rush at what I had just done and was feeling pretty epic. That ended fairly quickly after my friend took a picture of my new tattoo and showed it to me. I realized that one of the birds looked like a bat and that the line work was spotty. I felt my heart drop at the sight of what I had done to myself and the utter horror that I would have to live with this on my body forever. I hated everything about the tattoo, where it was, what it looked like and what it was making me feel like. Not only this, but the sheer terror of what I was going to say to my mom. The whole ride to my house I felt nauseous and like I wanted to cry. I know, I know, pretty dramatic, but that’s just how I roll. After saying a quick hello and goodbye to my parents, I once again left to go cry to my best friend and sister about the mistake I had just made. They both calmed me down and tried to convince me that it was not as bad as I thought it was. But, nothing could convince me otherwise. 

The next morning, I showed my parents the tattoo, expecting the worst. I certainly got the worst too, as my mom didn’t talk to me for a couple days. She eventually got over it and told me this was a learning experience. After a week of thinking about it, I would have to agree with her. This was an important learning experience for me, in the sense that I am not a spontaneous, get-a-tattoo type of person and I should, probably, listen to my mom more. 

I still love tattoos, but more so on other people. I think mine looks awkward on me, and it does not help that it’s pretty ugly too. I would also say I’m getting used to the little cardinals on my ribcage, but only because I have to. If you didn’t already know, you have to wait 6-12 weeks after getting a tattoo before getting it removed. The longer you wait, the better, because the ink will be less fresh and not as dark. The price of laser removal varies depending on the size of the tattoo, how much work it requires, and how many sessions it takes to fully get it off. The typical range, though, is around $200 to $500 which is a hefty price to pay especially when it was only $80 to get the thing on. However, I am willing to pay whatever price to get this removed and off of me for good, because I am sick of cringing in the mirror whenever I see it.

 I just thank God that it’s not bikini season so no one else has to see it in all its glory.

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Bryanna Harnedy

U Mass Amherst '24

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