My Tattoo Story

Good morning everyone, Its a fine day today, and I’m getting myself a tattoo! To be more precise I’ve booking another session with my tattooist Phil to get more of my latest tattoo done. Those who know me, or even those who have seen pictures of me will see that I am a complete tattoo addict.
On many sites on the Interweb you can find out what particular tattoo’s are suppose to symbolise, but I have never consciously chose a tattoo because it has a specific meaning.
They are just what I liked at the time, however each one now represent a little part of my own history, so today I would like to take you on a journey of my tattoo history, so if your sat comfortably I will begin.

Tattoo’s number 1,3 and 12

I thought the best way to tell you about my tattoo history is to show a picture of them in date order and describe when/where and why I had it.
However this theory falls down before I even finish describing my first ever tattoo because that is now Incorporated into a much larger tattoo. So instead of describing them in date order today I will tell the stories of my 1st, 3rd and 12th tattoos. Collectively they make up a picture of a unicorn and dream catcher surrounded by a leafy/scroll vine which is situated on my right upper arm.

Tattoo number 1

The first part of this tattoo is the unicorn and was completed weeks after my 18th birthday. I loved tattoos even back then when it wasn’t fashionable. I’ve always considered myself to be a little different and a bit of a romantic so probably that influenced my choice of a unicorns head. The tattoo was done in the home parlour of a bloke called Mike Price. He was a lovely bloke with an awesome Wizard back piece and very professional despite working from home and I was very pleased with it.
However I had not told my mum that I was getting it done, and still lived at home at the time. Mum wasn’t ( and still isn’t ) a fan of tattoos, but no worries I thought, I can keep it covered, she will never know.

Fast forward a few months till christmas and my mum bought me a gorgeous top with chiffon sleeves!!!! I knew I was going to get bollocked, so went on the offensive. I sat her down one day and said I had some bad news. I had done something that she wasn’t going to like, something that could not be undone and something that would now be with me for the rest of my life. I asked her not to get angry or judge me too harshly. At this point I think mum was already picturing being a nanny, so when I the proceeded to show her my unicorn, she was ‘Oh for gods sake, is that all’, I had got away with it.

Tattoo number 3

Is the dream catcher. This tattoo was done around 10 years after the unicorn. I always loved American Indian imagery and the story of the dream catcher. At this point in my life I was married and thought I would never be allowed another tattoo (see my post Ghosts and Monsters for the story behind my controlling ex husband).
However we had gone on holiday and I guess the sea air had gone to his head a bit, so I was given permission. Our holiday destination was Looe, Cornwall, and on the harbour there is a fantastic little tattoo parlour East Looe Tattoo . The guys that run it look quite a little scary, heavily tattooed and pierced. However they are the sweetest guys, and I managed to get a booking.
They rely on holiday work in the summer, so the price was a bit more than I would have paid at home, but the work was good and again I was pleased. Originally the dream catcher had brightly coloured beads in red, yellow and blue.
The problem with a tattoo like this is that it’s flashwork, a pre designed pictures that they trace, so there is always the risk of another person having exactly the same tattoo. If you put dreamcatcher into google search you can quickly find pictures of almost the exact copy of the my dream catcher, on someone else.

Tattoo number 12

We can do another huge leap forward to tattoo number 12. This one was done in 2011 and is the handy work of two tattooists, though I think calling the first person to work on it would be known in tattoo circles as a scratcher, a tattoo term for an individual who has very little skill or experience in tattooing.

I decided back in the summer of 2011 that I needed a bit more consistency in my tatts as the arm ones were a bit random. I loved both the tatts I had done on my right arm, however the unicorn was almost 20 years old and badly faded. So I designed a vine pattern to act as a boarder for the two tatts. My regular tattooist was booked up and I would have had to wait two months to see him. At that time in my life things were beginning to go a bit awry and I wasn’t thinking as logically as I usually do. I wanted a tattoo and I wanted it NOW!!!.

At the time a new parlour had opened up in town, it had good reviews in the paper and a friend had been there. I just went along to have a look but found she could fit me in that day. Guys, if your ever going to get a tattoo, please never go to a place that has no waiting list. Its a sign that they’re not very good.

She traced my design and tried to fit it around my existing tattoos, but after a few tries, said it would be easier to do free hand. I didn’t worry about this as I’ve had freehand work done before.
BIG mistake. After half an hour I saw she was doing an almighty balls up, so I stopped her saying it was hurting too much. I paid my money ( as I am a true Brit and unable to complain ) and left.

I eventually got an appointment with my current tattooist Phil who owns Hannya Tattoo

He did a fab job of repairing her attempt at the vine, but it left me with a very different tattoo than I pictured.
Phil had to repair wonky shaky lines with thick base lines. He adding the scrolls to make it more delicate and it is beautiful. He also completely relined the unicorn, putting back more detail than was there to begin with,and removed the colour from the dream catcher to make it match the monochrome unicorn.
As so much in my life, its what I planned but lovely all the same.

I’m going to leave my tattoo story there for today. I never realised it would take such a long time describing each one, but there is a lot of personal history tied up in each one.
So the lessons for today are never go to a tattooist who isn’t booked weeks in advance, and if you have to tell your parents bad things, make them think your news is going to be far worse that what it actually is!
I will continue my tattoo history next week.

I would love to hear your stories about how and why you chose the designs for your tattoos.

Scientific Fact* Anxious Dragons feed on blog comments. Please help keep this dragon well fed. Thank you Xxxx

*Possibly not true

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  1. csuhpat1

    June 15, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Very nice tats and thanks for sharing the stories behind a couple of them.

  2. Sam

    June 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I like the design of your tattoo. I do love to read stories of how they came about X #abitofeverything

  3. endardoo

    June 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    A great read …. as always. ย #ALittleBitOfEverything

  4. Laurie

    June 12, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tattoo stories with us! Maybe the next one will be a dragon? or a hook?

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 12, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      I have a dragon tattoo ๐Ÿ˜ there are parts 2 3 and 4 of my tattoo story

      1. Laurie

        June 13, 2019 at 1:19 am

        I will look forward to reading them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Agent Spitback

    December 13, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing your stories behind your tattoos. So interesting and I love the Unicorn and the Dream Catcher! Getting a tattoo is on my bucket list but I am very very chicken. Is it the pain? Is it because my mum would hate it? I don’t know but I would love to get a tattoo of three birds flying, just like the Character Tris from the Divergent Novel.

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      When you come over to the uk we will have to pop in and see my tattoist and get tiny marching twinny dragon tatts ๐Ÿ˜Š

  6. Ann GrubbsnCritters

    December 10, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I thought about tats for a long long time…I’m still too uncommitted to commit to one! But I love looking at other people’s tattoos!. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 10, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Yes, you have to be committed to an image. The only one ive ever hated was the one I got done without planning it x

      1. Ann GrubbsnCritters

        December 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm

        Eeks. Well, these days, you can easily do cover ups! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. The Anxious Dragon

          December 12, 2015 at 4:39 pm

          Yes, that one is now covered up by a gorgeous lilly display x

  7. This Mum's Life

    December 9, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Ooooh, really interesting Tracey! I knew you had tattoos, but it’s been a really great insight into why you have some/the stories behind them!! I loved how you told your mum about the first one!! Genius! Looking forward to finding out more.

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 9, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Yes, that was an inspired way of breaking the news x

  8. OneDizzyBee

    December 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I love your tats. I have four myself, and contemplating where to put a fifth. I got my first one at 18 (when I was told I was too young!) and my fourth one when I turned 40 (when I was told I was too old?). Go figure.

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Too old???? whats the matter with you, your never too old xxx ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. nipperandtyke

    December 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Really interesting read – the thought of drawing on someone indelibly is just so terrifying. I can’t think how anyone would actually TATTOO a person if they weren’t up to the job! But obviously money is a huge motivator :/
    x Alice

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      I think some people have an unrealistic opinion of their own talent x

      1. nipperandtyke

        December 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

        That is a very kind way of putting it! Do you need a license to be a tattoo artist?

        1. The Anxious Dragon

          December 8, 2015 at 6:01 pm

          Oh im not being kind. They are self deluded fools, but I think thats why they dont feel guilty about doing it. You need health licences but not to the best of my knowledge any qualification

          1. nipperandtyke

            December 8, 2015 at 6:04 pm

            If there were, do you think that would help weed out the self deluded fools?

          2. The Anxious Dragon

            December 8, 2015 at 6:29 pm

            Yes, I think all tattooists should have to have served an apprentiship and have some sort of qualification. Xx

  10. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi)

    December 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I love that unicorn! The other two really fit in with that kind of mystical theme too. I’m too fickle to get a tattoo, at least not anytime soon. My mum and dad are actually much freer spirits than me though and have quite a few between them. My fave is a really crow on my dad’s arm to cover up his teenaged ‘DIY’ compass and india ink job… Oh, and I love Looe – we used to go there every year on holiday as kids! ๐Ÿ™‚ #abitofeverything

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Ohh, I would never have been brave enough to stick needles in myself for a tattoo. You dont actually see the needle in a tattoo gun. Xx

  11. Lady Nym

    December 8, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Wow, that takes you up at at least 12 tattoos? You’re braver than me! I have one and the pain of it put me off the idea of getting another for a long time. I have been toying with the idea of getting another for a few months now (almost a decade after getting my first) but I don’t drive and live out of the way and with the cubs…just the logistics if going to an appointment are hard right now.

    I will definitely keep in mind your tip about a place not having a waiting list if I do get another, though!


    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      I have err…… 11 right now. I am recycling older posts at the moment, this was the first of my tattoo story posts xx

  12. Kyles

    December 8, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Great stories. “It’s not what I planned but lovely all the same” should be on inspirational posters. #abitofeverything

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Oh noooo….. a quote…… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. crummymummy1

    December 8, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a second tattoo for a while – BB’s name is Bluebell and I’ve always liked the idea of having a little bluebell somewhere. My only hesitation is explaining it to her, which is silly really! #abitofeverything

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      That would be cool x

  14. leannelc

    December 8, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I loved your tattoo stories when I read them a while ago – I think it’s so important to share the thoughts behind tattoos because it makes them even more special!

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      December 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Yes, I love hearing other peoples stories too x

  15. My Tattoo Story – Part 4 | The Anxious Dragon

    September 11, 2015 at 12:17 am

    […] afternoon readers. This part 4 (to catch up here are Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) of my tattoo story is dedicated to the two tattoos I designed myself. I think it […]

  16. My Tattoo Story – part 3 | The Anxious Dragon

    September 4, 2015 at 8:08 am

    […] readers and welcome to the third part of my tattoo story. In Part one and Part two I covered the two large tattoos that sit on my upper arms. The third part of this […]

  17. helen gandy

    August 30, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Hehe, I love your scientific fact at the end ๐Ÿ˜€ made me smile. I like tattoos, I only have 3 and they are quite old now but they are part of me and I like that! I really like your dream catcher, I love what they mean. Thanks for sharing with the #bestandworst and hope you’ll pop along again!

  18. abeautifulabodedevon

    August 27, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I’m a big fan of tattoos and love the ones with a bit of history/story behind them. I’ve got a large one of Iris’s and butterflies across my back because the song Iris (goo goo dolls) always makes me think that’s how it feels to be a mum x

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 27, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Oh, I love that song. One of my tatts has song lyrics on it. X

  19. Claire (happyelastic)

    August 27, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Hello new Twitter follower. I’ve only got one tattoo. I had it done with my redundancy money from my nightclub job when I was 19. It is at the top of my left thigh and says ‘La Dolce Vita’ I had it because my fave band at the time, My Ruin, the singer had a similar one and as I’d had some bad teenage years it was a hopeful message for ‘the good life’ I hoped was coming. I still love it, never regretted it so that’s a good sign.

    Planning a new tattoo, a tattooist has just moved in next door and she’s lovely so I’ll have a chat with her and work something out. I’d like another music related one. I’m a huuuuuge Halestorm fan and the lyrics to I Am the Fire were just made to describe me. So something fire related or maybe just the song title in a nice font. I dunno.

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 27, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Ohh, I love Halestorm too. Check out my Prince Charming post, it has a link to the Halestorm song I walked doen the aisle to at my wedding

  20. Silly Mummy

    August 26, 2015 at 11:55 am

    So interesting to hear the stories behind the tattoos. Love the effective method for getting your mum to be okay with it! #bestandworst

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      I still hide new ones from her, and im 42 now!!

  21. Random Musings

    August 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Love your tattoo! I enjoyed reading the stories behind the different parts ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you, parts 2,3 and 4 (the current ongoing tattoo) will be posted each friday for the next few weeks x

  22. Angela Milnes

    August 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I haven’t had a tattoo and don’t plan to but some are really nice and some are really ugly. Yours is a nice one!
    Angela xx

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 24, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you. I agree some tattoos look really unsightly either due to a bad design or bad execution of the design x

      1. Angela Milnes

        August 24, 2015 at 1:51 pm

        I don’t like my hubbies tattoo it is a dagger through a cats head! lol – something he regrets from his teen years lol. The unicorn is nice!

        1. The Anxious Dragon

          August 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm

          There are some wonderful cover up jobs available now. If you check out the next part of mu tattoo series on Friday (shameless self promotion) you will see my cover up tattoo and the one it noe covers x

          1. Angela Milnes

            August 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm

            ok thanks for the heads up!

  23. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    August 24, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I love hearing the stories behind people’s tattoos – I’m so glad your mom accepted your first tattoo so easily! The three go so nicely together. #AnythingGoes x

  24. nightwisprav3n

    August 24, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I got my first tattoo when I was 21 and it is a dolphin on my lower back. I got it done in a home by my mom’s friend. I was so nervous I had made sure to get high before getting it done. Turns out he was high too and I now have a scar from where he cut me too deep. My next two tattoos are with my kids’ names in them. My oldest is in a heart with angel wings and my youngest’s is inside a skull and dagger. One is on my left shoulder blade and the other is on my right shoulder blade. I fell asleep during my second one. LOL, The last two were done at the same place called lucky’s. They are really great there and I plan to get a few more tattoos, to which I will be going back to Lucky’s. Your tattoos are awesome! I love unicorns too and I have several dream catchers in my home (some proud Native American heritage). Great post! Visiting from #anythinggoes

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 24, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Wait till you see some of the ones in the second part of this series, they are even more gorgeous ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. Luke Strickland

    August 24, 2015 at 8:27 am

    It’s always good to hear why people have certain tattoos, so thanks for sharing. Never been brave enough for one of my own though! Enjoyed connecting with your blog via #AnythingGoes

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 24, 2015 at 8:35 am

      There are three more posts for my tattoo story series, each will be posted on a Friday. Thanks for taking the time to comment xx

  26. bumbismom

    August 21, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Awesome! These look great. I always enjoy hearing the stories behind tattoos.

    1. The Anxious Dragon

      August 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      There are plenty more to come 😁

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