I’ve heard the saying “everyone remembers their first” my entire life. And it’s true, with each of my new firsts symbolising an important stage of transition in my life.
I remember the first time I rode a bike, for example. My parents took me to the local oval and promised they would hold onto me. I was so confident in their ability to look after me, that I rode as fast as I could, knowing I was protected. Turns out they had confidence in me too, and they eventually let go. Subsequently, I also remember the first time I fell off my bike.
I remember my first girlfriend. I remember the butterflies when I went to hold her hand for the first time. I remember the awkward “now what” feeling afterwards. I remember growing up.
But most importantly, I remember the first time I fell in love with tattoos. I was fourteen, and my older brother came home with his first tatt. I had actually never met anyone with a tattoo, nor paid attention to them before, so I was shocked when I was instantly drawn to it and even a bit jealous.
It goes without saying that I have been obsessed with them ever since. I think everyone can relate to that intense feeling of longing you get when someone tells you that you can’t do or can’t have what you want. My hands were legally tied. I wasn’t allowed to get a tattoo for another four years, so the only thing I could do at that time was dream, design and count the days until my eighteenth birthday. I spent years deciding which Melbourne tattoo artist I would use and which of my many designs would be my first.
I’ll never forget the experience of getting my first tattoo. It was recent, only two years ago now, but it kick-started the course of the rest of my life. I now volunteer at a tattoo studio near Brisbane, doing whatever needs to be done. I moved here when I turned nineteen for university. Volunteering has helped spark ideas for future designs, taught me industry secrets and allowed me to be around some of the best people in the business. One day I’ll be a tattoo artist, and all of this is thanks to my brother’s first tattoo six years ago.