First Tattoo

You'll notice that the title of this post is "first" tattoo and not just tattoo. Everything anyone with a tattoo has ever told you is true: you're hooked after the first ink and immediately want another and another. And maybe another just for fun? 

I've thought about getting a tattoo for years, but just never followed through with it and blamed my lack of action for being indecisive on a design. But then life happens and makes you [again] realize how short it is and so why not actually get a tattoo?! Why not add it to my list of adventures? If I ended up hating it then I've got another story to tell and lesson learned. 

The thing about me is that I'm the most planned out spontaneous person you'll meet. I get a random idea and run with it, but I also don't settle for half-assed logistics. So of course getting a tattoo would be no different of a situation for me. 

DESIGN | I knew that I wanted a single needle, fine line, black and grey tattoo. They're intricate, delicate and have more of a graphic design feel to them, which I'm all about. 

ARTIST + LOCATION | Once I realized the style that I wanted inked permanently, I searched online and via Instagram to find the best person for this adventure. I kept coming across tags from Bang Bang Tattoos, and then narrowed it down to Mr. K. He's originally from Korea, so the fact that there was a global aspect of this process sold me even more. 

MEANING | This isn’t your typical basic B “oooh, wanderlust” tattoo. This is me we’re talking about; there’s always a deeper level. 

The paper aspect: A little more than a year ago I decided to blow my life up to curate a new one. I wrote about it here; it’s worth the quick read. It was a many moons decision process, but it was a decision that needed to be made. Choosing to walk away from a nearly decade-long relationship meant so much more than just breaking up with a boyfriend. It meant learning to let go of timelines and life plans that I set for myself. It meant not being a young mum, not being married before 30, risking it all to start back again. It was my Zero Dark Thirty, walking into the unknown. The paper of the paper airplane represents all of my life plans written on it, letting them go and accepting that things weren’t going to turn out the way I thought they were. Now, they could turn out even better. 

The airplane aspect: When I was a child, my idea of success was a passport full of stamps and the memories that came with them. It didn’t matter how I got them; I just wanted to see the world. Something happened at the beginning of the year that is still preventing me from the full capacity of my adventures, and it is eating me away not being able to randomly book tickets like I do and just go. Everyone has a passion in life; visiting new countries and experiencing new cultures is what sets my soul on fire and energizes me. I couldn’t possibly imagine a future without it. Also, side note, one of my favorite scents in the world is the whiff of jet fuel you get right before leaving the jetway and stepping on board a plane. Right away I know that many adventures await me on the other side and it’s a rush of excitement. 

The paper airplane together: They remind me of my childhood, plain and simple. My dad would always make them with my brother and I and we’d compete to see whose could fly the furthest. However, it is also a symbol of myself: I often feel that I’m just coasting through life not really sure where I’ll land or end up, but it’s been one helluva journey so far. 

And, lastly, the circles/dashes/dots: I don’t usually share this, as his memories are something I treasure and keep for myself, but I lost my brother a dozen years ago. Within the outer circles are his initials in an abstract Morse code, as my way of knowing that where ever I’m headed he’s always around me. 

PAIN | When I told people that I wanted to get a tattoo on my side ribs, every single person made such a fuss about how it would hurt and that that’s one of the worst locations to get. All I have to say is you’re all a bunch of babies! It seriously didn’t hurt at all, at no point did I experience any pain or discomfort. The whole needle-to-skin process took about 35+ minutes, and at one point I started to fall asleep just waiting for him to do his thing. 


tl;dr | I got my first tattoo. It’s a paper airplane. I loved it, and I’m already looking forward to getting another. 



Jessica M. Brightman

St. Petersburg, FL

I’ve found that life is always better when looking at the bright side. I’m a creative and inspired communicator with experience in marketing, public relations, new media + graphic design.