I remember where I was when I decided I wanted a tattoo. It was in the bathroom of my childhood home, 20 years ago. I was watching my older cousin do her makeup and I saw her Pegasus tattoo peeking up from the top of her skirt (it was on her very lower back for those that need the visual). Needless to say, she covered it up pretty quickly when I asked her about it. I thought it was the coolest thing ever!*
I never wanted a get a Pegasus, I wanted a tattoo that was unique and meant something to me. I’ve considered various designs over the years including dragons, flowers and astrology symbols. Every time I thought I settled, I’d change my mind and back again. I’ve admired the tattoos of friends and strangers, turning a shade of green when I saw a design I particularly liked. I loved the idea that these people chose to be so bold though this incredible art form.
Others may describe me as bold, but I wasn’t ready to be bold in this way. I’m relieved I didn’t commit to a tattoo in my early-mid 20s, the formative time for any adult. During this time I was trying to figure shit out: what my real passions were, who my friends were, where my career choices were going to take me. These choices, though they’ve evolved, have shaped who I am now.
Lots of people get tattoos on a whim, choose designs at the last minute just because they look great. It’s a ballsy approach, but not the one I wanted to take. I’m a chronic over-thinker. A tattoo is something I’ve wanted for the majority of my life – like any major decision, a long-held dream, I wanted to do this right. And by right, I mean the way I wanted to do it.
About a year ago, a changed my mind again about what I wanted. It was an idea I hadn’t considered as an option before, but I loved it. I’m not sure where I got the inspiration from at the time, but I know what the inspiration is now. Of course, the minute I decided what I wanted, it felt like every second girl I saw had the same type of tattoo. So I decided to sit on my idea for a little while longer. Months later I hadn’t changed my mind, in fact I loved my idea even more so I knew I had to arrange something special. On the suggestion of my sister, I asked one of our dear friends Dan to sketch some options. I gave him full creative license and he came back with some beautiful sketches.
My choice of artist was almost as important as the art itself. I knew I wanted a woman around my age to do it. Some freinds recommended I look at the artists available at a parlour in Brunswick. When I saw Nicole’s art, I knew she was the woman for me. I followed her for months on Instagram to be sure. I was sure.
On 16 May 2015, I got my first tattoo. Admittedly, I got a pang of nerves on the tram on the way to my appointment, but as soon as I arrived I knew I was ready. I was totally calm. I loved the whole experience from start to end (and for those who are curious, it didn’t even hurt, just the occasional sting. I even started falling asleep toward the end!)
I absolutely love my new artwork. I love what it represents and means to me, and I love that an amazing man I’m lucky enough to call a friend drew the original design. I’ll be happy to show people or send photos when it’s fully healed and the ink has settled, but I got this tattoo for me. The meaning behind it will remain my secret, and no one else will unlock it.
* Mum, this isn’t Katherine’s fault! (Love you!)
Follow Nicole on Instagram @nicole_draeger