My First Tattoo
Recently I traveled to Houston and got my first tattoo done. I have been thinking about getting a tattoo for years although it has been long regarded as a sign of rebellion in most eastern cultures. Honestly this aspect did not bother me. What I worried about most is what tattoo I want to get - text, abstract shapes, or figures? Given its perpetuality, I wanted to be as cautious as possible. Finally I decided to get an abstract version of this photo to honor my late grandma. She was 65 then, and I was one month old. As far as I recall, we have only taken two photos together, the other one being when I was in middle school. The original copy of this photo has been lost for years, but I am glad that my father and I made digital copies of several old photos back in summer 2004. All my cousins on my father’s side are a few years older than me, and after I was born, I was the one that enjoyed almost 100% of my grandma’s unconditional love. My grandma passed away at 81, and I was in my first year in high school. I have been regretting for not being by her side at her last moments for every day after.
The tattoo experience was just about expected (yes, as a PhD I did pre-work by watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading relevant articles). There was some pain, especially near the ankle where the fat and muscle layers are really thin, but overall tolerable. Upon finishing, vaseline (I think, or maybe some other ointment) was applied on the skin and the tattoo was wrapped for 3 hours. There was leak of tissue fluid, the dye, and blood when I unwrapped it for a cleaning. After that, following the suggestion from someone who had a lot of tattoos I used a piece of tegaderm to protect the tattoo for a couple of days. Now it has started healing, and the skin becomes ridiculously itchy. I am following the guidelines to carefully maintain it, and hopefully it will heal well. Here is what it looks like now. I will continue to update this post along while the healing continues.
One thing that becomes pretty amazing to me is how much physical pain human can endure to express themselves, or obtain some sort of relief for themselves. For me, the sense of regret becomes somewhat alleviated every time I see the tattoo. Dear grandma, you will not miss any single second of my life from now on, and we will see each other again!
It has been three weeks since I got the tattoo, and the skin has pretty much healed. The lines feel protruding when I touch the skin, but it should become flat as time goes by. I had some itchy feelings two weeks ago, but now they have gone. I have tried to keep ‘moisture’ in my mind, and applied body lotion to the tattoo several times a day. So far so good! Hoping to see the tattoo stabilize.