“Are you scared yet?”

Standing outside the tattoo studio Mr X and I were waiting for its doors to open. I’m notoriously early for appointments and I was booked in first thing that morning so as per usual I had made us leave home early and now we had a good 10 minutes before the studio would open.

“Yeah a little. More nervous about the design looking retarded on me than the pain.”

“It will be okay, Kelly’s a good artist. Did you tell anyone from work what you were doing today?”

“Nah. They can figure it out when they see it.”

I’m not sure why but in the past few months I’ve stopped sharing a lot of my personal life with people at work unless of course they ask. Not that anyone would notice really. I’m not exactly what you would call “close” with any of my work colleagues and I tend to just keep to myself more often than not.

“Really?! Can you imagine the Engineers face when he sees it?”

I laughed aloud.

“Yeah he will probably ask me kindly not to show his daughter less she get any ideas.”

His daughter is a bit of a horse nut and my upcoming ink is horse related.

So after what seemed like a lifetime the studio finally opened its doors and welcomed us in. Mr X was very relaxed and took a seat on the couch whilst I wandered around the reception area, checking out the pictures of other people’s tattoos hanging on the wall. So much colour, so many ink hours and I’d soon be one of them.

“Ok, let’s get this show on the road.” Kel said, printing out my drawing and then testing the size out on my inner arm.

“I think I want to go bigger.”

Kel obliged by blowing my drawing up on the printer and then once more placing it on my arm, trying it in different positions so I could establish where I wanted it. When I still couldn’t work it out Mr X took a picture with his phone and showed me.

“Yeah I think I want the wings more on my inner arm and the head wrapping around.”

So with that thought in mind Kel made a few changes to the position of one of the hooves,  the tips of a wing and then went away to make the stencil.

“Ok, come take a seat and place your arm right here. ” Pushing a stool on wheels toward me. The arm rest was covered in plastic.

“Just let me setup and we can begin.”

Setup involved the Kel cleaning her hands, putting on gloves (important!), making note of the disposalable needles that would be used on me to her assistant (also important!), setting up her “guns” and finally her inks (fun!). Then she moved onto shaving my arm and afterward, placing the stencil on the area we talked about.

“Just take a look in the mirror to make sure your happy with the position.”

Which I was.

“All good? ” Kel asked as I sat back down.

“Yeah, I believe so.”

“Great, let’s get started shall we.”
I wouldn’t describe the sensation of getting a tattoo as painful, at least not in the area I chose but more along the lines of an annoying, scratching sensation that immediately disappears when the needle is lifted from the skin. At first I kinda didn’t want to watch the process because I’m not real good with needles of the taking blood variety but after awhile I couldn’t resist a glance and it wasn’t too bad too look at.

“You okay?” Mr X asked.

“Yeah, it’s not at all what I was expecting. It’s not painful, just annoying.”

Once the outline was done Kel started on the shading. We had discussed using more colour in the wings and less shades of black so the detail wouldn’t become lost over time and I was cool with that, right up till the moment almost everything started being shaded in blue.

On my fucking gosh. What was I thinking!!??!!

I thought,  as I panicked in the chair wondering if I should tell her to stop. But something stopped me, something told me to just trust her judgement and skills and that’s exactly what I did and I wasn’t disappointed because once she applied more shading, but in purple this time and then added teal highlights, the picture came to life on my arm.


“So do you like it?” I asked Mr X who at the beginning of the morning had been a little hesitant about my choice of design not to mention placement but was openly smiling once he saw the finished product.

“I do actually. It’s very you. More importantly though, do you like it?”

“Oh I love it.

Even more so now it’s fully healed.

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