Positive First Experience - Australia

I have had my tattoo for about 4 years now and...

I have had my tattoo for about 4 years now and have been regretting it for about 3. I have tried to talk myself into it, have tried to convince myself that I like it but ultimately I knew that no matter what anyone else thought, I wasn't okay with it. It is a cute design on my forearm but it was impulsive and it draws a lot of attention- I am not someone who always likes having lots of attention. Plus I work in a conservative job and I live in Australia- 40 degree summers and long sleeves at work look ridiculous! But for years I have kept quiet about my regret because I was dreading that someone would give me the "I told you so" response- for some reason that is the worst thing ever for me. This resulted in me feeling really really anxious as I tried to hide it but also had to hide the fact that I was hiding it! Recently I have realised that I do a lot of things to cover it up without even realising it- things like holding my arms close to me, and always wearing my handbag on the tattoo side to cover it, and wearing long hair to cover it. Then about 2 months ago after anxiety building up and up I snapped and thought- this isn't a way to live a life. It doesn't HAVE to be like this. And I started looking into getting it removed, which was something I had never considered before. I did a bit of research and had some consults and I was kind of torn because I didn't know what information to believe. When I was at the consultations, the laser therapists would seem to minimise the experiences and almost seemed a little impatient with me but when I would look online I would hear horror stories. Despite this, I decided that it was worthwhile giving it a go and kept trying to tell myself that 3 mins of pain at a time is worth it for a lifetime of feeling comfortable in my skin. I had my first treatment today and I was terrified in the lead up to it but have been completely pleasantly surprised. I think that maybe the forearm area isn't so painful because I found it bearable. Not pleasant of course but I could deal with it and the lady I ended up going to was so nice! It honestly did feel like elastic bands flicking (a million painful elastic bands)! I put ipod on blast and tried to focus on different sounds in the music to get my attention away from the pain. Anyway of course it is too soon to notice any difference but I am so relieved, and I hope that i get to see some results soon. I know I am lucky that it didn't hurt as much as I was expecting and I have a lot of empathy for those who have big tattoos but I wanted to post my positive first experience to let others know that it is not always a horrific experience.
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