My full tattoo journey (ends with acceptance, not removal).
- 10 months ago
I am posting my longer and updated story here as a comment because it seems like all the posts under "reviews" are for those who actually got removal and are posting pictures. I am writing this to share my tattoo journey with all of you. I think it might be very helpful to some of you on the fence about removal. A year ago I got my second tattoo, and I put it on my forearm. My first was somewhere hidden (way upper shoulder) and I had it for 8 years. It was pretty useless though, because unless I was shirtless (essentially the beach) no one ever saw it. I think tattoos are for personal reasons but are not meant to be somewhere personal: if I wanted to look at some image every day I could print it and put it on my wall. I think tattoos are for others to see something you truly cherish, to tell a story about yourself to others. Why do you need to tell your story to yourself? I don't understand tattoos that are in private places no one ever sees, just print the picture an look at it! So after 8 years of having a tattoo I wanted people to see but no one ever saw, I got one in a more visible location about 3 inches beneath my elbow. It can be covered with a 3/4 sleeve but not a T shirt. After I got it I hated the location, because it looked odd 3/4ths down my lanky white arm (I'm skinny and not muscular). So 6 months later, I decided to add to it on top so that it went up to my elbow. Now it extends from elbow area to about halfway down my forearm (so maybe 5" tall). That addition was 6 months ago. Up until last month, I had deep tattoo regret and depression. Not only did I still not like the location, but the original design wasn't really meant to be added to so the addition looked strange. It's essentially trees floating above a sun lol (a little better than that but you get the idea). So I hated it. I regretted it. I'm a mathematician (just finishing my PHD) so jobs aren't really an issue because interviews in my field certainly require a suit. I will wear long sleeves until my coworkers get to know me, then reveal it slowly. But in public (strange, not work regret but public regret) I feel like I'm being judged. Some people look Like I must be some stupid unemployed kid with a multi colored tattoo on my forearm. I'm a doctor who went through 9 years at a top school!! I don't need to go into the severe depression that crippled me for 11 months. You are all familiar with it if you are reading this site or have opted for a painful and long removal process.During those 11 months this site helped me research options for removal and helped me understand the removal process. There is a picosure clinic very close to me so that was reassuring. But about a month ago things changed pretty abruptly. It began to feel like a piece of my arm rather than a foreign invader. After a year it was no longer a tattoo but the color of my skin. It's what I look like. I told myself that if a tattoo on my arm which some aHoles judge me for is the worst part of my life, then I'm doing pretty well! I have a very high paying carreer and an awesome loving and supporting family. I wasn't going to let this tattoo ruin my mood any further. I have everything going for me yet I was absolutely crippled by depression over ink for almost a year?? It sounds CrAZY in hindsight. Even though the depression was very very real for so long, when I committed and reminded myself this is now a permanent part of me, I started feeling better. After a a year, I no longer have a tattoo; I have areas of my skin that are colored. In the past month, I have felt much better. After a year, I not only have finally committed to a decision to keep it, but I might get more around it. I won't say that I never feel down about it, because there are certainly days where I think "man, that was a dumb idea!!. So on occasion I still feel like I made a mistake, but its a mistake that I have decided I am going to cherish, learn from, and live with. And there are other times when I am really proud I have it. I would certainly rather have this colored skin than some gnarled up strange looking forearm. If some magical new laser came out that could instantly remove a tattoo and make my skin look like it was before, I might consider it. The main reason I am posting this is as follows. As I read more on here, I realized that out of the 300 or so reviews, most were people panicking, like I was, just weeks or even days after they got their tattoo. People are opting for removal before their tattoo is even healed!! Unless it was one of the following three:A) A tattoo of a past lover's nameB) On your hands, face, or neck C) Offensive/vulgar/profane Which are in my opinion are REALLY bad tattoo ideas (w.r.t. functioning in a society) that I believe should be removed, then my advice is to give yourself a little while before opting for removal. It takes some time to let a permanent change to your body set in. Especially if it's in a visible location that you see constantly. I had depression and panicked for almost a year! So my set in time was about 11 months. I am not saying that you shouldn't have your tattoo removed, but my advice is to wait a little while to see how you feel, because dramatic changes to your body take some time to get used to. I hope this story helps someone on this site. Feel free to ask me any questions!