My Tattoo Stories (New Chapter Posted)

Some people have show interest in the stories or influence behind my tattoos, so I plan to compile those here. Each chapter will be a different tattoo story.

Chapter 2

My First Tattoo – Sailor Style Swallows

My First Tattoo – Sailor Style SwallowsMay 2010

Shop: Congress St. Tattoo, Portsmouth, NH
Artist: Beth Potter

People who knew me growing up probably couldn’t believe I didn’t run out and get a tattoo the minute I turned 18. I was always drawing all over myself and thinking about all the tattoos I was going to get when I legally could. In October 2009 (I was 18 at the time) I even went to a Halloween tattoo event with my college roommate and we both chickened out. I didn’t wait too long though, - I was 19 going on 20 when I decided on what I wanted to get as my first tattoo.

I drew my first tattoo myself. It’s a pair of colorful swallows over two banners that have the words “Stay” and “Free” written inside of them. I decided to them centered around the top of my spine. Something about the traditional style of tattooing always appealed to me and you can't get much more traditional than Sailor Jerry style swallows.

Not only did I decide on the birds for the style, but I also chose them to immortalize both one of my favorite bands, their lyrics, and a general sentiment I try to carry throughout life. I chose the words "Stay Free" because it is a title of a Clash song I have quoted practically my entire life. At the end of the song they remind us to "Go easy...step lightly...stay free". I wrote this allover everything I owned from books, to furniture, to my boots and my bags all throughout high school and college because I wanted to remind myself to always live that way even in the toughest of times. This also paired very well with birds as animals as they have the freedom other earth-bound creatures do not have.

I was living in a college dorm at the time at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. I decided to go to Congress St. Tattoo in Portsmouth after researching the artists that worked there...and because they had walk in hours. I drew the design on a Friday and I went there by myself after work on the following Wednesday. I didn't want to chicken out or depend on anyone else, so I hopped the bus and headed in. I didn't tell anyone where I was going or what I was doing - I wasn't going to be talked out of it. Beth - the artist who was available to take my walk-in - and I swapped stories about music we loved and bands we wanted to see live or had already seen live. I watched the guy across from me get his daughter's name tattooed down the side of his forearm. I was never more relaxed in my life.

And so an addiction was born!

But honestly - it was a good experience to have getting my first tattoo and I was lucky to have found such nice and talented people first time around. I have never been back to Congress St. for a tattoo of my own or know where Beth is now...but that's nothing against them since they are all talented individuals and the shop was great. I just ended up finding different homes for pieces.

So on to the next...

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