It’s only natural to want a tattoo, surrounded by such beautiful ones on other people, daily seeing the excitement of others as they get theirs, first or not.
Not only this, I had wanted one so badly for so long, and it made me sad seeing people scan my arms when they come in to book an appointment, and if they were feeling daring, they’d ask where my tattoos are, and laugh at my blank skin and area of work.
It was about time, and after booking the appointment, I could hardly breathe for excitement!
I was scheduled to get a tattoo on my 18th birthday but I’m glad now that I didn’t. I’ve grown so much as a person since then, and I’m much more the person I want to be, and think I will be for many years to come. I’ve very much grown into myself so anything I’d have had then wouldn’t be ”me” now.
But now- I feel entirely prepared to make permanent decisions, hence my recent engagement to my perfect man! ❤
I wanted my first tattoo to be something entirely ME. It seemed important to get something symbolic at the start of this very important journey, something that I feel defines me and I am known for. The answer is simple as far as I’m concerned- cats and tea.
I have a whole leg’s worth of cats planned, and I didn’t want to start with something so big or serious. Tea it is!
There was no choice as to who was to design and tattoo this piece for me- Tomas (my boss) has been tattooing for 25 years or so, and makes some of the most beautiful designs and tattoos I’ve ever seen. I met him when I was only 13 years old, and have admired his artwork and toiled towards working for him since.
It was a symbolic decision to ask that he do my first one, and I knew that if he designed and drew it, it would always be dear to me as opposed to me drawing one. Nobody particularly loves their own work.. Do they?
I collected some of the images that inspired me the most- are you surprised that I chose the darkest ones, with thunder and rolling clouds, stormy seas and shading in abundance?
I chose a storm in a teacup based on many things- It had been a saying that I’ve always loved, it being particularly, quintessentially English. They have the same saying here in Norway only it’s directly translated to ”don’t make a storm in a water glass”.
”Don’t make a storm in a teacup.”
noun: storm in a teacup
great outrage or excitement about a trivial matter.
It’s a saying that alludes to those with a propensity to overthink, much like myself. Depression and anxiety can be extremely hard things to carry, even if you’re not under one of its darker clouds. What is so cruel about it is that it stays with you always, haunting each thought and situation, making you feel unworthy of love, praise, friendship and joy- you constantly doubt yourself and second guess every choice you make, and once you do make one it eats away inside as to whether it was the right choice, and whether people will dislike you for it.
It’s a battle that rages on the inside, ridiculous but one that you simply cannot help or switch off, and it can make social things very hard. I know many many people with anxiety, depression, bipolar.. etc, all of whom have told me of their similar daily struggles- so here’s to our small wars everyone! ❤
Overthinking things is natural now, and is a hard habit to break, so the essence of my first tattoo would be to remember that this doesn’t have to happen. I can fight NOT to think on things too hard, not to take things personally or to worry, and to have a more relaxed life where I don’t always doubt or second guess myself..
The meaning in the tattoo had been able to develop while I had been looking for elements to add to it. I love the rain and thunder, it’s my favourite weather- my entire social life in England, and even Norway so far, is built around the making and drinking of tea- people will invite themselves over with the message ”cup of tea?”, and who can refuse?
My fascination with teacups came from an early age- My grandfather on my mother’s side had a deep love of antiques and he shared this with me in our weekly appointments with the British TV programme ”The Antiques Roadshow”. This love was enhanced by my Nanny, my grandmother on my stepfather’s side.
I was the only grandchild careful enough to play with the teacups that she had inherited from her mother, so I’d often have tea parties on the living room floor with 20 teddy bears, each with a teacup and saucer of their own. It was wonderful, and i adored the beautiful flowers and birds that decorated the outside of the dainty china cups. It wasn’t wasted on me, the level of trust that was involved in me handling them, and I always felt so privileged to be able to play with the beautiful things..
All in all, a design that pulls from every corner of my life and reminds me of those that I hold dear!
On the day of the Tattoo, I have to admit, I was a little terrified. Not because i didn’t want the tattoo, I was so excited!
A colleague of mine described it as ”The day of reckoning”, and it sure felt like it.
I had a kind of nervousness that you get (That I get!!) before going to the dentist or somewhere equally unpleasant! I knew it was going to hurt, and as I hadn’t had a tattoo, I had no idea what I was in for, how it would feel, or how I would cope- what if I was a wimp?!
Luckily, my lovely friend Sigrid came to the rescue with cookies, iced tea and a hand to hold- just in case! I was so happy to see her, and it helped a lot to know that if it was going to hurt I’d have somebody there to talk to me and distract me from the situation.
It was a little more than just fun that I wanted to get a tattoo- I had been impatient for one for many years but it was also nice to know what other people were feeling when they got theirs. I had already seen countless clients in the tattoo chair and watched the tattooing process, everyone reacting differently to the pain- as the saying goes ”never trust a skinny chef!”. Would you have a tattoo from someone without any tattoos? It was to be a huge learning curve in my tattoo education, so was entirely necessary.
Tomas was wonderful with me, understanding with the design and would change it according to what I wanted, he was gentle with the stencil and made sure I was ready before the tattoo began- even testing to see how I felt about the line work when we started the tattoo. He was lovely! I couldn’t have been more supported- not to mention all of my colleagues coming in to check on me too!
Some places hurt more than others, the under arm section closest to my elbow being an absolute sod! It even hurt more than the areas closest to my wrist, which was unexpected.
I’m happy to say that I surprised myself, and everyone else apparently, when it came to my pain threshold. I’ve been through some rough scrapes in my time, so I should have had more faith in my ability to weather a storm (In a teacup! Tee hee!).
Here it is!
It turned out beautifully, didn’t it?
Tomas said that when he drew that tattoo, he imagined it with brighter colours, something that I had initially been a little against. He kept the colour palette dark, but added some beautiful colours to the decorations on the teacup, also keeping the tea ‘tea coloured’ with the argument that the reference would be wasted if the liquid in the cup was blue. He was as usual, absolutely right and I was left with a complete beauty!
I’m overjoyed with the way my tattoo looks and couldn’t be happier if I tried. It’s more and more beautiful the more often I look at it, and there’s so much personal meaning tucked into that ink!
It means the world to me, and I’ve learned a lot from it, not only about the process of doing a tattoo, but also about myself.
It’s healed quite well now, so maybe I’ll start planning my next one..?