Growing up, my parents had a few pretty particular rules. I was born and raised in a conservative Christian household, but like many kids in my boat, I ended up wanting to rebel just a *little* bit.
I wasn’t too rebellious. I never skipped class, didn’t go on any dates, never received a detention in my entire 13 years in Christian education, didn’t drink or smoke (or vape, which wasn’t even a thing when I was in school), chose a good Christian college and basically didn’t do anything too bad.
Once I got to that good Christian college though, despite the majority of the students still being conservative Dutch people, I felt a little more free to express my artistic side. I dyed my hair a few different colors, starting with some purple, then dying all my hair blue, then green, then bright red (still my favorite hair ever) and later a soft rose gold that made me feel like a fairy. I wore a fake septum ring, mostly just to scare my parents. But since I was technically still living with my parents when I wasn’t away from college, I couldn’t do anything too wild, like, say, getting a tattoo.
Then I got married! And all of a sudden, I was living with my husband, so I was free to do whatever I wanted! Less than a week after I got back from our honeymoon, I started researching the many tattoo parlors in Grand Rapids. Wealthy Street Tattoo was the one I ended up choosing. I visited them and one of the artists spent some time talking to me about the ins and outs of getting my first tattoo, even though I was only getting a little one. Since it was small, I was able to walk in that night and get it done less than an hour before they closed.
When my husband and I were dating back in college, we would draw hearts with Ms in the middle in the dust on each others’ cars. It was just a little romantic gesture to say, “hey, I just walked past your car and I’m thinking of you.” I took a picture of one of the hearts, and decided it would be the perfect first tattoo. My husband went with me, and the artist cautioned me against getting a tattoo for a significant other, but I know 100% that Matt is the love of my life, so I didn’t really listen. Plus our names start with the same letter, so I’ll just claim self-love in the tiny chance something drastic changes.
The tattoo itself really didn’t hurt, and definitely didn’t feel like I thought it would. It was just like a scratch on the surface of my skin, like brushing up against a pointy piece of glass for a moment. I was incredibly nervous, but after the first couple lines, I felt comfortable and relaxed. And it turned out beautifully!
P.S. It’s actually on my left arm, but Snapchat did its flippy thing and I was too lazy to manually flip it.
Since it was such an easy experience, I started planning out all the other tattoos I wanted to get. I decided I’m going to draw all my other tattoos (even if I base the drawings on other pictures, I’ll try to make them my own), and I decided I would probably end up getting a few of them.
Then on a whim, an opportunity presented itself to get a tattoo with one of my friends from college while I was in Des Moines, Iowa.
I had a cold and had just been in the car for 9 hours (and had driven through a tornado warning and huge storm), so I should have known I was in for a rocky start. But we went out for dinner and got plenty of food and water in our stomachs, then headed over to get our tattoos.
This one did not go quite as well as my first one.
It was all going okay until it wasn’t. And suddenly I felt a rush of pain and realized I needed a break. I felt lightheaded and was sweating like crazy. I sat up, my vision went cloudy and almost passed out, then felt really sick. I threw up into the trash can – SO embarrassing. The artist re-sanitized everything, they got me some water and candy and I felt way better. The friend I went with was a nurse, which was convenient, and she helped me relax and convinced me to finish off the tattoo. I did feel fine again, and there were only about three little lines left, so I did it, and was okay. The tattoo looks super cute, but man was it a ride to get there.
I tried to smile through the pain and made it out alive! And now I have a cute tribute to my wonderful fat cat on my arm.
I still plan on getting more tattoos, but I’ll work hard to make sure I’m ready next time. Obviously, I immediately looked up things like “why did I throw up during my tattoo” on Google, and found lots of advice to prevent it from happening again. Next time, I’ll bring a cold cloth or ice pack to put on my neck. I thought I was breathing well, but I’ll focus even more on it. I’ll bring a sugary drink or candy to suck on so my blood sugar doesn’t drop, and I’ll keep a cool bottle of water nearby. I’m not going to let one bad experience ruin my ability to cover myself in art.
Any stories or advice? Let me know in the comments!