Sunday, October 08, 2017

I Got Inked

Getting a tattoo was on my wishlist for a long time. Yes, from my childhood. I was unable to get it done due to many reasons. In a way, I am happy that I did not get a tattoo those days as I was not aware of the body arts, tattoo tradition and cultural roots of this process. I would have got a snake, flame or a barbwire. With this blog post, I would like to document my experience and the meaning of my tattoo. This post if for me to remind myself about getting my first tattoo and read about it when I am old (provided that I am alive). Also, I hope there will be some useful information for those who wish to get their first tattoo. 
  • Learn about tattoos 
Before I start searching for a tattoo artist, I studied about the process, history of it, various cultures those who practice this as a tradition and as an art. From the various types or tattoos, my favorite was Maori and Polynesian Tribal designs. They looked powerful and were suitable to put my story in to a design. The next thing I considered was not to offend any culture, religion or country. The last thing I want is to get deported from a country because I have a symbol in my tattoo that offend them. 
  • Think. No, don't just think, think hard 
I thought all the aspects of myself living with a body art for the rest of my life. Family, profession, etc. This helped me to determine the place and the size of the tattoo. It also helped me to formulate the story I want to embed in to my tattoo which I am going to carry for years to come. 
  • Story / Meaning / Purpose

This is a unique element in any tattoo that express something more than a beautiful art. Meaning of this tattoo is for me to give a spark of motivation and remind myself of my roots, uniqueness, energy and never ending warrior spirit to fight the challenges on my face. The two half Tiki faces represent that I have both soft and tough characteristics, which also denote my roots. Protect my love ones until my last breath. Learn to let go when the time is set. Start the life with level zero on an utter lost and still rise to my expected level of success. Not to live a life for other's expectations. Lastly, the lotus is to denote nirvana. I don't know about my previous life nor my next life. The only life I know is this. I want to live it to my fullest and do not expect a next life. 
  • The tattooing process

We started the first session on 31st August 2017. I did not want to rush. It was a 5 hour session. Aligned the design and draw the first bits. Second session was in a week after the first one and completed all the lining. Third session was after two weeks of lining where I kept the lines to heal and start to do the filling. I am not a fan of lots of fills as I want to keep the lines visible with details. And another idea is, I can improve the tattoo at a later time. Both second and third session were lasting for about eight hours (with breaks of course). 

  • The healing process
Most of the people (Specially in Sri Lanka) do not pay attention to the healing process. They leave the tattoo studio and do not follow the after care instructions. Well, I thought, this is going to be on my body and become a part of my skin. So, I have to take care of this well. I washed the tattoo three times per day in the first few days and applied an after care product called Recovery's Tattoo Salve. I used Vaseline in the first two sessions and my experience is not good. It gave me a burning feeling and the tattoo also looked popped out. So I bought the Tattoo Salve and found it was really smooth and helped the recovery process smooth. Peeling and flaking took about 3 weeks to finish. My skin was bit tough and the needles did not went through at the first time, so my tattoo artist had put some pressure on at certain places. And some areas actually have to re-touch as the ink has not got in to the skin. It's a result of having a tough skin (Which is a good thing). I also experience it difficult to push injection needles too. Healing stage is very important and if you let the tattoo heal properly, it will come out bright and avoid any infections too. Check out some pics from the healing days 4 and 5. 

People Asked Me these Common Questions:

Does it hurt? 
"Of course it does"

    How much did it cost? 
    "I can't tell you that in public. What I can tell you is, good tattoos aren't cheap and cheap tattoos aren't good".

    Did you family members liked it?
    "Yes, in fact, my wife and sister-in-law also got tattoos in the same month. Well... Parents were not happy".

    Was the equipment sanitized?
    "Yes. The tattoo artist (Mudhitha) were highly considered about the health factor of the client and himself. People get more diseases by going to dentist than getting a tattoo. I need to say, as the client, you have to be clean and fresh before you sit for the session. Otherwise, you are giving a hard time to the tattoo artist with your body order. And no alcohol or smoking please".

    Will you loose the status quo? 
    "Well, status is subjected to change like everything else in this world. Who cares?"

    Now that you have a tattoo, does that mean you are a hotshot than before?
    "Absolutely, certainly you got that point right. I am very proud of my tattoo".

    Finally, all I have to say is, getting myself inked was not just to have some tribal design on my sleeve. It has a purpose. And my advise for all who wish to get a fresh tattoo is;
     "Think before you ink". 

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