Tattoos can be a marvelous work of body art or they can end up being one of the worst mistakes you’ve ever made possibly resulting in many hours of pain and much more money then you’d imagined to have removed.
FACT: Most people who have never had a tattoo before simply walk into any tattoo parlor, rush to choose a tattoo design from the flash on the wall, and don’t give much thought at all the the fact that they are permanently altering their bodies.
Personally, I love tattoos, but this is the absolute worst way to choose a tattoo design that you will be living with for the rest of your life. Whether this is the first time you are getting a tattoo, or you’ve sat in the chair a time or two, there is a much better way to choose your tattoo design. Don’t make the same costly mistake that countless others have made before you! If you take a few moments and follow this simple plan, you will know that you are making the right choice for yourself.
Consider why it is that you are looking to get tattooed. There are many different reasons, but most fall into the top 13:
1. Self Expression – a picture is worth a thousand words. Everything from the whimsical to the horrifying
2. Tribal Identity – one of the original sources of tattooing. In modern times it can have a positive connotation such as the emblem of a Navy SEAL, or a negative connotation such as a “prison tat.”
3. To Mark a Spiritual Passage – for example to mark a special initiation or the passage of a “Dark Night of the Soul” such as surviving breast cancer.
4. For Spiritual Protection – St, Anthony, St. Christopher, and Our Lady of Guadalupe are common Catholic themes as well as many other different spiritual walks.
5. To Commemorate Special Events – the practice of tattooing wedding rings and vows is becoming much more common.
6. Paying Homage to a Personal Hero – these tattoes tends to be very elaborate, life-like portraits.
7. To Enhance Luck – Many common themes inclue horseshoes, dice, and shamrocks.
8. To Express Commitment – whether you choose to have your partners name engraved on your skin in English, Sanskrit, Egyptian or any other language, this is a very powerful symbol indeed.
9. To Express Totem Symbols, Animals, and Spirit Guides – some people consider their tattoos to be an expression of their Higher Self or Spirit.
10. As a Memorial – often after the passing of a beloved.
11. To Enhance Sexuality – some believe that base chakra tattoos releases the kundalini 1
12. To Differentiate Siblings of a Multiple Birth – modern fertility treatments often result in multiple births making this a practical choice for some parents. Tiny tattoos are made on the infant’s feet.
13. To Make People Laugh – because joy is its own reward!
Consider Who You Are and Who you want to Be: What inspires you? What do you dream about? What gives you strength to continue when things become difficult? What is most meaningful in your life? Spend some time journaling, blogging, twittering, doodling, (whatever mode fits your personality) BEFORE you get to the tattoo parlor about what it is that you want to add permanently to your body. Get copies of tattoo designs that you can browse and add to your journaling so that you will feel confident you have made the best decision for yourself when you do go to have that beautiful first ink done. Take it from an tattoo veteran, this will calm the jitters you have when you are sitting in that chair for the first time.
Now that you are ready to take the plunge, make sure to grab your journal and pick up some quality tattoo designs that you can browse at your leisure again and again until you have exactly what you want.