This was a Life List item that I’ve been thinking about for literal years now. I always knew I wanted a tattoo, but I was never able to fully settle on something. I realized that until I knew for sure, without a doubt, what I wanted that I wouldn’t be able to commit. As is the way it should be with tattoos, I think. They aren’t like piercings, which I’ve gotten on a whim more than once in my life. This is a permanent choice, something I can’t just remove and let heal, so I had to think about it.
I finally decided, obviously, and thus the plan was set into motion.
Mandi and I knew we wanted to get Harry Potter tattoos a couple of years ago. The need had always been deep within me, but after she, myself, and Shell went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter I knew that it was undeniably the right choice. I bonded with both of them early in our friendships over Harry Potter, our love of it, and how much it impacted our lives. It gave me two of the best people in my life, and despite JK Rowling’s misgivings (the only word I can currently think of to describe her without going off on a tangent) over the past few years…my love for Harry and company is as strong as it ever was. I love those books so much, it’s such a huge part of my life as a reader and a writer, and nothing can ever change that.
After two years of not being able to see each other because of COVID, Mandi decided to come for a visit once it was deemed safe enough to travel (we’re both vaccinated, btw). While planning out our staycation here in my home state of Kentucky, we got on the subject of tattoos again. Somehow one thing led very quickly to another, and BOOM! We had appointments at a local place near my home called Back Alley Tattoos with a guy named, ironically, Potter.
The appointments were made, the deposits paid, and we had settled on a simple design. I have a print of Harry’s glasses and scar on my wall, and it’s an image I feel drawn toward. It’s simple, but it’s very obvious to other fans what it represents. It’s small and unobtrusive, and seemed very good for a first timer.
As the time drew nearer I went from being nervous to excited to wanting to back out and then back to excited again. I tried to just keep it out of my head, but before I knew it the day had come. Mandi kept reassuring me that I’d be just fine, but I was mostly scared it would hurt and I’d flinch or fidget or be unable to sit still. I made it to the tattoo parlor though, driving us straight there when I got off work for our appointments. We were a bit early and had to kill some time, which made me even MORE nervous, but finally we went inside and it was time.
I knew if I didn’t go first that I might talk myself out of it, so when they asked who wanted to go first I quickly volunteered myself. Because of COVID we had to obviously wear masks the whole time, and we couldn’t go into the room together. I was going it alone for my first time, but somehow that felt….better? I just didn’t want one of my friend to see me crying if it hurt LOL.
Potter was absolutely fantastic. We did the paperwork, he cleaned my arm, and then lined up my tattoo. It was a bit higher than I had imagined it being, but I liked the placement and decided to leave it there. I laid down on the table with my arm stretched out, and he was very reassuring. He told me he thought I’d do great, and since I have a generally high pain tolerance I prayed he was right. He even asked me if I was ready so I could choose when he’d go for it, and after a few deep breaths I told him to do it.
I felt nothing.
This isn’t bragging or being weird or trying to make light of the experience. I genuinely mean it. The first pass through I felt nothing. No scratching sensation, no pain, nada. The only thing that told me he was doing anything was the vibration up my arm. When he went back over it I felt a bit of a scratching sensation, a very faint sort of burn, but otherwise the whole thing was pain free. He was done before I knew it, telling me about after care and giving me some bandages to wear to work the next morning so I didn’t bang it around on anything.
I sat in the lobby admiring the new addition to my body while Mandi got her own ink done in back. The whole experience took around an hour, maybe a little more, and then it was just…done! I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t.
It probably sounds silly, but I can’t stop looking at it. It catches my eye a lot, because it’s right there on the side of my wrist. I had it placed there so I can see it while I’m writing it, as that’s my dominant hand. I want to be reminded of how much those books have given me in my life, in hopes that I can maybe do the same for someone else someday through my own words. It’s encouraging, and a reminder that magic is real if I want it to be.
So…that’s it! I overhyped myself over the years, that’s for sure, but I’m not sad about that. It meant I took my time, chose wisely, and will never have any regrets about this tiny mark on my body. Down the road I’d love to get a Raven Cycle tattoo, and maybe some other literary related ones, but for now it’s just me and Harry. I wouldn’t have it any other way.