First Tattoo – An Arrow on My Ribs

I have always found tattoos beautiful and for a very long time wanted to get one. Browsing the internet, I came upon an image of Native American styled arrows that I stopped and stared at for a while before I felt a smile growing as it clicked, that’s it. I decided to look into the symbolism behind arrows.

My findings led me to positive and powerful interpretations of this symbol and ancient weapon. In semiotics an arrow can mean setting goals and targets before moving towards achieving them. It can be linked with ambition, direction and even thought. For Tibetans, the three sections of an arrow are representing the mind (arrow head), body (shaft) and spirit (feather tip). When looking into what arrows meant to Native Americans, I discovered that when it is a lone arrow it is regarded as a symbol of protection and a ward against evil. The arrow comes into play in astrology as the representative symbol for Sagittarius (the Archer) which is my star sign.

The following quote – which some may say is a bit cheesy and well yeah, it is, but hey, I’m a sucker for that sort of stuff – is what finally confirmed that I wanted to choose this design:

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

Recommendations led me to Two Hands tattoo studio in Ponsonby and I spoke with Victor who did my tattoo for me. He redrew it from what I gave him and changed it to an outline style. I love my tattoo and feel like it was the perfect thing to get for my first one. It holds a fair amount of meaning that I can personally relate to and it is not too conspicuous. I find beauty in the simple lines and small details.

Getting the tattoo was painful. I was a nervous wreck when I showed up, adrenalin was coursing so fast through my entire body as I imagined the worst case scenarios that I could barely carry a normal conversation and as per usual, was laughing (more than a person should) to try get past my nerves. The pain though wasn’t what I expected and was tolerable, though this didn’t take very long so I’m yet to be able to judge what it must be like for those that sit through hours and hours of tattooing (maybe I’ll find out one day). Higher up on the ribs was the most excruciating part. Luckily I was lying down with my face in the warm afternoon sun and had my friend Sylvia with me for support. I used relaxation techniques and tried to imagine I was in a warm, peaceful place to distract myself. After it was done, I got up and the adrenalin rush kicked right back in as I got my first glimpse of the tattoo that would now be part of my body. It is a permanent acquisition that I simply adore.

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I’m now thinking of what I will get for my next one, which I hope to have done while I’m living in New York later this year.

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3 responses to “First Tattoo – An Arrow on My Ribs

  1. I’m heading out to get my first tattoo tomorrow, bit nervous. Concerned that this will be on my skin for the rest of my life. I will have the words, “I can & I will” followed by an arrow pointed to the right. I always loved the symbolism behind arrows and your post practically summed up everything. Your tattoo looks fantastic!

  2. hey there! i googled Annapurna and your blog appeared on google! haha, my friends and i are currently discussing a probably trip there! it seems a little scary cos of the cold and the trek as i’ve 2 knee surgeries and afraid my legs are not strong enough to handle that 😦 but your post makes it reaaaaaaally beautiful over there!

    btw, i’ve the same sentiments as you about the ribs area! haha, i had a paper plane and 2 roses done around that area, excruciating during the shading part!! it’s a really pretty one you have there. 🙂

    keep on writing!

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