Do NOT get a tattoo. Just don’t do it. Nine times out of ten it’s a regrettable act of stupidity, or vanity. Or both. Resist the urge.
You’re still reading this? Still craving some ink?
Well if you insist (and you had better want a tat’ enough to INSIST on it,) then let’s proceed.
8 things to keep in mind when choosing a tattoo
1. Tats are a big damn deal. They last longer than marriage and mortgages. Be lucid. Get meaningful. Is Mickey Mouse on your ass the best moniker of your Higher Self? That tribal arm band…what tribe you from, mister? Getting a tat to be cool, or as a right of passage is plenty understandable. Just dig deeper than the flash art available on the tattoo parlor wall. Good rule of thumb: think about a specific tattoo design for one year. If you still LOVE it, go for it.
2. It’s bad luck to tattoo your boyfriend’s name on your ass. Yes, it is from experience that I speak. I thought Seattle Boy’s signature on my bootay would rock his world (never mind that he was legally blind.) Just as the tattooist is about to put the needle down on my tush, he looks up at me and says, “You know, this is the kiss of death. Your relationship is like, so doomed.”
“Shut up and brand me,” I said with conviction. I left Seattle boy a few months later.
3. Tattooists are generally arrogant, intimidating, secretly very sensitive artists. I said generally, not universally. I have seven tattoos (most of which I regret, a few of which I adore,) all from different artists. Most of them were scarey to me. While it’s a life-changing event for you, it’s just another gig for them—they will put their 100% best into their art, but if you want a cake and candles for your big day, forget it. They’ve seen every stupid, masterpiece-worthy design that’s ever been inked. As my first tattoo artist quipped, “Quit yer grinnin’ and drop yer linen.” End of creative discussion.
4. Bearing in mind the aforementioned, stand your ground. Be particular. Risk being annoying. If you don’t feel “heard” by the artist, leave. It takes some mettle to walk out on a pierced punk with FTW on his neck, but you won’t regret it.
5. The best tattoo artists are worth the wait. Just like hairstylists and good lovers. And the best ones are good listeners. (Just like hairstylists and good lovers.)
6. Don’t get tattooed when you’re drunk. Not because it’s dumb ass, but because alcohol thins your blood and you’ll bleed more.
7. Yes, it hurts. Imagine scrapping a hot needle across your flesh, firmly and repeatedly. For pain management I use this technique: I clench wads of tissue in each hand (because my palms start to sweat), I chew a pack of Juicy Fruit gum and I say to myself: This will be over and it will be so worth it. Or not.
8. Tattoos can be life affirming, flesh-honoring symbols that celebrate your truth and remind you of who you truly are. Go sacred or go home.
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About Danielle LaPorte
Danielle LaPorte is the author of the book The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide for Creating Success on Your Own Terms (from Random House/Crown). An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and business strategist, she is the creator of the online program The Spark Kit: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs and co-author of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice on DanielleLaPorte.com, a site that has been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.”