1. You become a one-person advertisement for Aquaphor, get the grease absolutely everywhere, and vaguely consider purchasing stocks because you know the value is going to go up in the two weeks you become devoted to that tube.
2. You find yourself staring at it in awe, both that it is now a permanent part of your skin, and at the fact that you kind of don’t remember your skin ever looking any different.
3. It might be the endorphins talking, but you feel approximately 150% more badass — even if this is far from your first one.
4. The existential crisis known as choosing between waiting for a tattoo to heal to its full glory before you take photos, or reaping the immediate likes in one big, fresh reveal.
5. Suddenly you find yourself wearing clothes and posing in pictures to best show off your new ink (even if it’s in a place you wouldn’t typically show off). Is it a little ostentatious? A bit. Did you earn the bragging rights? Totally.
6. You find yourself randomly staring at it and studying it, and realize you should really cover it up if you want to be productive in any other area of your life.
7. The knowledge that immediately after you get one, it is the one, hallowed time in your life when people will ask you what it means and you’ll actually be eager to tell them alllll about it. (But once the novelty wears off, it is the most annoying thing a stranger can ask you.)
8. Feeling like saying, “I can’t, my tattoo is healing” is simultaneously the best and most ridiculous reason ever for why you can’t work out.
9. PTSD-style flashbacks to the most painful parts of your session? Yeah, those are real.
10. Right after a session, every conversation you have somehow veers back to your tattoo. You hear yourself saying it, and you hate yourself for being so predictable, but… your brain… and it just… OH, COME ON, YOU WOULD WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, TOO.
11. You catch yourself being worried about what some obscure and conservative member of your family is going to say, only to remind yourself that this is your body and you can (and did) do what you want with it.
12. You become so paranoid about keeping a new piece moisturized and clean, that it drives you to distraction. Wake up to yourself scratching once, and you’ll legitimately consider putting mitts on your hand to keep yourself from completely ruining the work or disturbing the flaking and peeling that is part of the healing process.
13. Sometimes you look in the mirror and genuinely surprise yourself, because you’ve forgotten you’ve gotten it (especially if it’s in a spot you don’t typically look at a lot).
14. You find yourself extra attuned to the tattoos of random strangers, and rationalize the abject staring with the fact that you’re just comparing your work to theirs.
15. That split second right before a session starts where you realize, “Wait, I can turn back now, I can back out, this doesn’t have to be permanent!” And then you realize you’re being ridiculous, but still, that hesitation is always there.
16. You find yourself bragging about how long you were able to last in a single session. “Yeah, man, it was five hours, but you know, it wasn’t so bad.” (This is a patented lie. Go ahead. Admit how much it sucked.)
17. For some reason, people always skew the focus from your current tattoo to ask you if you’re going to get another, and you’re just sort of like, Pretty sure this one is still bleeding so I can’t even think about that, but now that you mention it…
18. But then you remember how painful the healing process is and you’re like, “Yeah, you know what, no, I’m good for a while.”