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Originally Published: Mar.7.2021

In honor of it being the one-year anniversary of getting my very first tattoo, I thought I would write a piece to take everyone through my experience with getting a tattoo. Hopefully, this will be beneficial to anyone thinking about getting their first tattoo ever. 

I always knew I wanted a tattoo, growing up my Dad had a few different tattoos so I never had to convince my parents to let me get one either. It did not matter at the time of my first tattoo I was eighteen so legally they could not stop me, but they would not have either. 

So last year on February 27th I walked into the local tattoo shop to make an appointment and by February 29th I had ink on my arm. January through March is what I like to call tattoo season. I had never gotten a tattoo before that even though I wanted to because I had no idea what I wanted to get. 

My first tattoo was a gift to my mother, her father, my grandfather had passed away a month before and I wanted to get the signature of his last name tattooed on my wrist. My mom, younger sister (she was sixteen but we signed for her- so technically you can get a tattoo before eighteen with a signature) and I ended up getting variations of that tattoo. I love my first tattoo and I think that is a huge part of picking out what you want to get. Find something that you love, as long as you love it, either sentimental or not, you can put it on your body, and it does not matter what anyone else thinks. 

I walked into my local tattoo shop, M&M Tattooing, https://www.instagram.com/mandmtattooing/?hl=en,  and I was so nervous. I had been in there before and gotten my cartilage pierced with no problem at all, but for some reason, I was scared this would hurt more. Do not get me wrong it hurt like a bitch, but my cartilage piercing hurt more. My sister went first and then it was my turn. We had a great artist and he made us feel completely comfortable. When it was my turn I chose not to watch the needle go into my skin, I think that helped. If you think the sound would bother you bring headphones, the loud buzzing sound hurt more as it got closer to my joint. In a matter of a short fifteen minutes, I had a tattoo. Obviously, it depends on the tattoo on how long it takes. My mother’s tattoo was a little bit bigger and took about twenty minutes. I would suggest with your first tattoo if you are scared to go small and avoid shading. 

It was overall a great experience and at times I will look down at my wrist and feel pride, other times I completely forget that I have a tattoo and I shock myself when I remember. My final note is to take good care of your tattoo. The healing process is very important and you should follow your artists’ instructions carefully. I have a friend and he has about seventeen tattoos, you can tell which ones he took care of and which ones he did not. So be mindful of the healing process. I would 10/10 recommend getting a tattoo. 

Julia Harpel

West Chester '23

Julia Harpel is a third-year student at West Chester Univerisity. She is working towards her BSED English Writings Track with a Creative Writing Minor. She hopes to one day earn a Master's Degree. Julia is a mental health advocate, environmentalist, and feminist. When she is not at school, at work, writing, or reading, she loves to spend time with friends, go on adventures such as kayaking, and listen to country music.
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