Maybe the most infuriating thing you’ll hear as a young person is “Just wait till you’re older, you’ll change your mind” or even worse, “Its just a phase”. And the more youthful we are, the more desperate we are to show the world who we are. We CRAVE the ability to be ourselves in a sea of followers. But maybe the most disappointing thing that I’ll tell you right now is that you will change your mind, and it really might be a phase. I’ll expose my own inner nerd from my past to put things into perspective for you.
From as long as I can remember, I wanted tattoos. Like, a ton of them. So if I could have gotten my first tattoo when I wanted it at the ripe age of 13, I would have ended up with nautical stars ALL OVER MY ARM. Literally I wanted a seascape of nautical stars of all different colors all over my arm. Like a whole fucking sleeve of them. Thankfully, my mom told me to kick rocks, and since I didn’t have the wherewithal to find someone who tattooed out of their garage (I was a sheltered child) I didn’t end up with that shitty ass nautical star sleeve. And throughout my teenage years, I would hear songs with lyrics that REALLY impacted me at that moment and I just KNEW I needed to have that tattooed on me. But again, had I been able to do that, I would be a walking CD sleeve. Trust me, I would not have liked that, and I would have had to cover up SO many tattoos. But here is why you should wait on that tattoo you just HAVE to have when you’re 16- and its not because your idea is stupid. Its because as teenagers, we feel things so intensely that there is no way you can be convinced that its a bad idea, even if it is. I’m not knocking the ability to feel things so deeply- I actually think thats the thing about my younger years I truly miss the most. But as a 30 something, I can at least acknowledge that some of my intense feelings did fade, and I don’t feel so passionately about THAT band or THAT movie or THAT guy anymore. Really, waiting for things is the most courteous thing you can do for your older self.
So not only is feeling for things deeper than the ocean a good reason to wait on a tattoo to see if the feeling passes, but another thing that young people fall prey to is passing fads. This isn’t to say that older people don’t fall victim to the same thing, But tattoo fads are TOTALLY a thing, and then you end up with a tribal tattoo around your arm that allows your friends years from now joke the shit out of you about it. And again, if you like that tribal tattoo and you really fuck with it and still do, get it! Who the hell cares about what Jerry from accounting thinks? Like honestly, fuck you Jerry. But, if you don’t find yourself loving the micro tattoos you got all over your face because you wanted to look like Post Malone because the girl you were digging at the time was SO into him, you may wind up regretting it. Which means you’ll have to get a BIGGER tattoo on your face to cover it, or you’ll have to get laser removal, which hurts. WAYYYY more than the tattoo. And parents, you aren’t off the hook either. How many times have I gotten a call at the shop with a mom asking “If my daughter wants to get a small tattoo and I come with her, is it okay that she’s only 15?” Like, honestly, you know your kid. If your kid has gone through more than 5 phases in that many years, get real with them and tell them to cool their jets. They’ll have plenty of years in their late teens and 20’s to mess up, don’t help them run there.
So, in short, calm down. You’re only 16. You have the rest of your life to get tattooed, and don’t you deserve to give yourself time to think about what you would really, REALLY want? Save your money, think about it, and when the time is really right, go get that badass tattoo. Wear it for the world to see. And as a final message that I’ll impart, I did get a nautical star tattoo on my back. It was hot pink. And you guessed it, I hated it within two years. Its currently being covered up by a true work of art.