First Tattoo

Back in my senior year of high school, one of my guy friends was hooking up some of my other guy friends with tattoos. I’d been wanting a tattoo more and more as time went on, so I told him, set me up. And a week before I left for college, I got my first tattoo.

So it was me, him, and my best friend at the time/his girlfriend driving out to the backwoods of the Traverse City area. If that’s not the start to a horror movie, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, we arrive at the place (I think a yellow added on trailer, if memory serves). But everything was above board and clean, even if the artist was a bit on the intimidating looking side (BIG biker dude covered in tats). Aside from that, I don’t remember being nervous.

What did I get for my very first tattoo? A grasshopper. Oookay, you say, why a grasshopper, some personal significance. Nope. I got it because I wanted something different and not girly (like a flower or a butterfly or dragonfly). Also, grasshoppers were sort of a thing for me that year. In part because it was the one thing I drew pretty damn well in Biology during the dissection module. Also, guy friend and I had some sort of running joke about grasshoppers, as in he gave me a metal plated head of one of the dissected grasshoppers for graduation. It was a thing and awesome at the time, but I can’t honestly recall why now. So I got a grasshopper for a few reasons that really didn’t add up to anything. And no, the tattoo isn’t my drawing. It was just a grasshopper in one of the books that I liked the look of.

Do I wish it had some sort of lasting significance? *shrug* I don’t regret it. My grasshopper isn’t of the norm, and I like him, even if he’s a bit fuzzy around the edges seventeen years on.


The story, however, doesn’t end there.

I knew my mother wouldn’t be super keen on the idea (she still isn’t), so I decided to hide the whole thing from her. It was only a week until I was off to college. No big deal. All my cousins knew, because I needed to tell someone in the family, so why not the equivalent to my big brothers and one of their wives who was like an older sister? They chirped me a fair bit (hockey slang, deal), but kept the secret. Except for my one cousin’s daughter, who was…nearly three at the time? (She’s in college now, at my alma mater, Go State! So I’ve mostly forgiven her.)

Anyway, a day or so before I was due to head to college, a bunch of us were out on my uncle’s pontoon boat in Central Lake, when K pipes up, “Nikki’s got a grasshopper on her back.” My older cousins and I were all “Fuuuuck.” because K said this to my mom. Somehow I came up with this crazy story that K was confused, see, because we were out in back of her house looking at the field and there was a grasshopper and she wanted to get up on my back to get a closer look. Yeah. Nearly three-year-olds don’t get confused like that. They tell shit like it is. Somehow, Mom fell for it.

Flash forward a few months to when I’m visiting for Homecoming. Getting ready in the bathroom to go out with my friends, Mom happens by just as I’m adjusting my shirt. She finally sees the grasshopper. She wasn’t mad, exactly, just concerned. She’s a nurse; she knows all the stuff that can go wrong. What surprised her the most was that I didn’t get it down at school. What? Oh yeah, I went with guy friend and best friend about a week before I left. O_O Then I told her about the cousins knowing and K nearly giving me away. Oh, she said, I thought that was really weird. Then I asked how she didn’t notice the masking tape and paper towel and neosporin going missing? Yeah, she said, I thought that was weird, but…

Yes, I used masking tape and paper towel the first few days to mainly keep the ointment from getting on my shirts. Youth.

My second one, the phoenix, is boring by comparison, story-wise. Got that on a whim after passing a tattoo parlor on my way to and from dance lessons at the time (god, that was maybe seven years ago now?). I had a vague idea that I wanted a phoenix and that I was ready for another tattoo. End of story.


My next next tattoo, however, has had a lot of THOUGHT into it. I’ve been thinking about it off and on for a few years. Then Steph found an artist up in Woodstock near where we’re staying for Rhinebeck this year. So I reached out and have set the whole thing up ahead of time. It’ll be worth it, even if it is weird to plan it out so damn much. 🙂

Scoliosis has it’s pros and cons. Got a great pic of the second tattoo, but couldn’t get a good one of the grasshopper no matter how many times I tried. Selfies of your back are hard, yo.

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