From Regret to Redemption My Journey with my First Tattoo

Regretting My First Tattoo A Lesson Learned from a Father's Good Intentions

a tattoo artist with the needle in his hand

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a young lad named me, ventured into the wild world of tattoos. Now, this wasn’t just any old tattoo adventure – no, no. It was an epic journey led by my tattoo-obsessed dad, a man whose skin was a canvas for inked masterpieces.

My dad, you see, had spent countless hours in tattoo parlors, covering every bit of exposed skin with vibrant artwork. By the time I was in high school, his arms were a tapestry of ink, and his legs were his next playground. In fact, during my senior year, he and his tattoo artist began immortalizing a scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean” on his calf and shin. Talk about dedication!

Inspired by my dad’s love for tattoos, I eagerly awaited my 18th birthday – the day I could finally join him in inked glory. Little did I know, this decision would lead to a tale filled with regret, humor, and a unique bond between a father and son.

As a teenager, I was determined to find the perfect tattoo that would please my macho father, who had always yearned for a son with a love for sports. Despite our differences, I believed that getting a tattoo, just like him, would bridge the gap between us and make him proud. So, armed with ambition and armed with literature, I embarked on a quest to find the most meaningful symbol to etch onto my skin.

I delved into poems, movies, and symbolism, seeking enlightenment. And then, like a bolt of rainbow-colored lightning, I discovered E. E. Cummings’ poem, “Dive for Dreams.” It was a poetic ode to trusting one’s heart in pursuing dreams, a sentiment that resonated deeply with my teenage self, particularly as a gay kid dreaming of a more accepting world. Within those words, I found my mantra: “Live by love.”

Now, in hindsight, I must admit that my decision-making skills may have been clouded by youthful exuberance. Why on earth did I think that getting a chest tattoo was a great idea? Was it a dare to outshine my dad’s inked tapestry, or perhaps an attempt to be trendy? Regardless, I was laser-focused on having “Live by love” grace my youthful chest. And so, off we went to the tattoo parlor, a den of inked wonders on Staten Island.

The tattoo artist was a hulking, biker-ish figure straight out of a Hollywood movie. With trembling anticipation, I watched as he sketched the grandiose design across my chest. In that moment, a tinge of doubt sneaked in; maybe this tattoo was a tad too flashy. But like a courageous warrior (or an anxious teenager desperately seeking approval), I nodded and praised the artist’s work, oblivious to the fact that this artwork would grace my body for eternity.

Years have passed, and fashion trends have evolved. Chest tattoos are no longer the epitome of cool, and the cursive style that once captivated me now feels a bit ostentatious. Nowadays, I keep my chest tattoo hidden from prying eyes, donning shirts that cover it up like a secret treasure. Though, on the rare occasion when it does make an appearance, the reactions are always the same. “Live, laugh, love?” they ask, with the familiar words that adorn suburban home décor. And I chuckle, amused by the confusion.

But beneath the laughter lies a bittersweet truth. My relationship with my father still teeters between rocky and even rockier. The tattoo didn’t magically heal our wounds or bring us closer together. Yet, despite it all, I can never bring myself to remove the tattoo. Why, you ask? Because beyond the Cummings poem, it serves as a permanent reminder of the connection I share with my dad. It encapsulates that one moment when we both found solace in the art of tattoos. And that, my dear readers, is a bond worth preserving.

So, fellow fashion lovers, let this be a cautionary tale of youthful endeavors and the power of ink to tell a story. When you venture into the world of tattoos, tread carefully, for each mark carries a unique tale. And even if regrets may rear their colorful heads, remember that sometimes, it’s the unexpected connections that make a lasting impression.

Now, tell me, dear readers, have you ever contemplated getting a tattoo? Did you successfully impress someone with your ink, or did it leave you with a humorous story to share? Let’s dive into the inked abyss together and share our tales of tattoo triumph or tribulation!