Instant Tattoo Regret

I've wanted to have tattoos for as long as I can remember. I can exactly picture that when I was 14, all I wanted was to eternalize a camera on the skin of my arm (and I'm so happy I didn't do that), and when I was 12 all I did was scroll through my Tumblr-feed which was filled with beautiful tattoos. When a few months ago my dear grandparents spontaneously gave me a lovely amount of money I immediately knew what to do with it. I quickly emailed a tattoo artist I'd been eyeing on for some time and on the 2nd of January my sweet mother and I traveled to Utrecht to spend a beautiful day together, and to end it with a fresh tattoo.


I sure was a bit nervous, but nothing abnormal was happening inside my head. I loved the unique design, trusted the tattoo artist, and above all - I was extremely excited.

The stencil was applied and I must be honest, I kind of jumped when I looked at my arm - because wow, the design looked húge on my medium-sized arm. I didn't think too much of it, though - the tattoo on my upper arm also startled me at first.

3 hours were spent in the chair at the tattoo parlor. The pain was absolutely bearable, only the last half hour was quite painful. I was a bit dizzy, didn't really dare to look at my arm and asked my mother to help me put on my coat. I was happy, mostly because the painful process was finally done.

Once I got home I washed the tattoo and still felt a bit tight - I wasn't used to the idea of having such a humongous thing on my arm. I however thought the strange feeling was part of the deal, didn't think too much of it again, slapped some Bepanthen onto the wound and went to bed.

The next morning was the strangest morning of my life. Once I woke up I yawningly walked into the bathroom to take a quick shower. When I unbuttoned my pyjama top and saw my arm, my eyes went black and my head suddenly felt very light. I knew I was going to faint so I lied on my parents' fluffy bath mat and waited for the rush to be over.

When I got up again a feeling I had only felt a few times before crept upon me: regret. I felt it in every molecule of my body, it buzzed through my head and arm. I'd never find a normal job again. I'd never be able to wear a dress and look pretty anymore. I'd always be a tattooed person, which felt terrible even though I'd always wanted to be just that.

I didn't mention my feelings to my parents - I didn't want to upset them. When I showed this new acquisition to my grandparents my grandmother's response made me feel even more intensely sad - she didn't respond half as positively as she had to my other tattoos. I was extremely sad and the sense of regret wouldn't fade.

I had been at my parents' house for the Christmas break for the few days before the appointment, and I traveled back to Amsterdam only 2 days after getting tattooed. When I got there I was alone and that's when the Googling started. I looked up laser treatments. Thought of ways to collect thousands of euros just to remove this silly mistake I'd made. Browsed websites to find sweaters and shirts with long sleeves so hiding the tattoo wouldn't be hard. Kept my left sleeve down, so I didn't have to see the beautiful artwork that I could only perceive as an ugly scar. 

My mother was a huge help back then. I'd decided to tell her after all, and all of her thoughtful messages summarized sounded somewhat like 'Sjoukje, it's a beautiful tattoo. You heavily adjusted quite an important body part, it's logical and it makes sense that your eyes have to get used to it, that your head has to get used to it. It will be okay, trust me.' I really appreciated her support but I didn't really think it would be alright, because why, Sjoukje, why!!! was the only thought that kept on racing through my head.


At a certain moment my endless Googling got me on a forum created by people that felt the same thing - people who also had given major thought to their decision and now regretted their new eternal design, people who could only think of and see their design even when the body part was covered. This really helped me - the feeling wasn't gone yet, but I knew it could get better. I just had to give it some time.

All the while almost 2 weeks have passed and I think my tattoo is really beautiful. It fortunately isn't the only thing I can think of anymore, I finally dare to wear shorter sleeves again and I realize that these are the things that make me mé. I've been thinking of getting a sleeve done but I've stalled this idea - my response to this new tattoo really got me thinking about my decisions and how I make them and deal with them. I wanted to share this post because apparently many recently-tattoeed people experience similar feelings: the love you had expected to feel is absent and instead of that your whole body seems to be filled with regret. Try to give it some time though, talk about it with supportive family and friends (!!) and don't make stupid decisions. Everything will be absolutely fine, and if you just relax for a few weeks and not give it too much thought, you will finally have the peace and quiet to really enjoy the beautiful acquisition once your body feels ready.

love, sjoukje

19 comments

  1. This was such a wonderful post. I've always wanted a tattoo but have never thought of what it must be like if I ever feel the instant regret right after. I think your tattoo is beautiful, Sjoukje, and it's amazing to have such supporting people around you!

    May | THE MAYDEN | bloglovin'

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  2. Ik heb je site net ontdekt en wát een leuke blog heb je! Mooie, eerlijke artikelen en prachtige foto's om bij weg te kwijlen. Ik hoop voor je dat je steeds gelukkiger gaat zijn met je tattoo, want het lijkt me echt verschrikkelijk spijt te hebben van een beslissing die waarschijnlijk voor de rest van je leven op je lichaam zal staan. Maar dat komt vast goed!

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  3. wow, thank you for being so honest! as a general overthinker and ridiculously reasonable person I can relate to what you felt.. I really love the placement of tattoos on the lower arm but can imagine it takes time to get used to because it's really right there, IN YOUR FACE all the time! the artwork is really lovely & unique. (from the title I first thought you got an infection or something, it did heal nicely from the looks of it!)
    have a lovely day!

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  4. Lovely honest post! I really like your tattoo, it's so beautiful! I can't wait to get more, I have one at the moment. I'm just saving up!
    Fix Me In Forty Five - A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog
    Blog Lovin' // Instagram
    xx

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  5. So great to read something honest. I have quite a few tattoos and when I had my first one I instantly felt regret so I know that exact feeling... I felt so stupid!! But now it's just a little mistake which I've learned to love and it's sort of cute anyway. Yours however is gorgeous and a lot more sophisticated than the one I once regretted; it is really beautiful! xx

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  6. Wat heb je dit mooi beschreven. Ik vind het een onwijs mooi kunstwerkje op je arm - en ook al ben ik niet een tattoo persoon - ik vind het prachtig staan! Ik hoop dat je er zelf ook snel van gaat houden, want zoiets moois laten weghalen zou natuurlijk ook zonde zijn (als het überhaupt mogelijk is ;)) Liefs!

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  7. I think your tattoo is so pretty wow such a lovely choice of design - I'm glad you don't feel so regretful anymore, but I understand its easy to feel regret. I hope you carry on loving it!

    Lucy | Forever September

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  8. I have one on my thigh that I absolutely hate and it's so big. I think that might be why, it's not like my others that I barely think about! Your tattoo is honestly so so beautiful. I completely understand your feelings though, I wish I had really given some more thought to some of mine other than simply idolising a picture of a design I liked and deciding I was grown up enough to go and get it done!
    Becky; http://www.rebeccamarie.co.uk
    xxx

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  9. Oh wow, can't believe the process you've gone through. I never thought about that side to getting tattoos. I personally don't think I would ever have one but I absolutely love yours! x

    owlsinthesummer.blogspot.co.uk

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  10. I always admire people who get tattoos because being a really indecisive person, I know that even if I wanted a tattoo it probably wouldn't be a good idea for me to get one.

    So glad things worked out for you in the end though, feelings of regret are awful!

    www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

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  11. I love how honest this post is. We all make mistakes and have regrets even when we think before we leap. I do think your tattoo is beautiful though, very tasteful and brilliantly done.

    I hope you can learn to love it and start to see it as a part of you :) xx

    www.kirstytalks.co.uk

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  12. Wat een mooi artikel om te lezen, Sjoukje! Ik kan me wel inbeelden dat je moet wennen. Ik vind het wel een heel mooi plaatje, hoor! :) Liefs x

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  13. Wauw, wat een eerlijk verhaal heb je geschreven meid! Gelukkig voel je er nu al wat beter bij. Ik vind de tattoo zelf heel mooi en hij is groot, maar tof subtiel! <3

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  14. Thanks for sharing this. Your new tattoo looks beautiful!
    Blog: Sundaysaresunny.com

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  15. I think your tattoo is gorgeous but I totally understand what you mean. I got most of my tattoos pretty much at 18, as soon as I could legally get them. I have a big quote on my inner arm and I loved it when I got it done but about two years ago I really started regretting it. I kept thinking, I look so ugly now and people must think I am so weird. Luckily I got over that, and I am back to loving my tattoos. At this point, they all feel like parts of me, like I was born with them. I hardly give them much thought, really. But I know the feelings that went into me getting them and whenever I feel weird about them, I just think of them as a beautiful scar from my intense passion for whatever they represent.

    Thank you for sharing, and again, your tattoo is gorgeous!

    xx
    Scarlett and Giselle

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  16. it is a bit expensive, however it is as close as you can get to tattooing on human skin without actually tattooing somebody. Discover More

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  19. Thank you so much for this. I just got my 6th tattoo a few hours ago. I haven't had this feeling since my 1st tattoo 6 years ago. It's the first one on my arm. I'm having the panic, it's not exactly what I envisioned, the font is bigger than I should have made it, the background doesn't look how it did in my head. It will be on my body forever. It's a new feeling, I hope that I will end up loving mine as you do yours. My hope was to also get sleeves some day. Brains are funny things and I guess i just need to get use to it. Thank you for sharing your story. Namaste

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