LadySchism

SOS - Post tattoo anxiety through the roof!

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Strangers of the web, lend me your eyes and ears! Haha.

Hi everyone,

So I’m losing way too much sleep over this, and am in need of some opinions/thoughts from a more unbiased source. I know this isn’t anywhere near as bad as a lot of tattoos out there, but I still feel my concerns and frustrations are valid even though this piece isn’t a total bust. I was going to give you all this massive backstory, but realize that our human attention spans just don’t allow room for novel explanations anymore..perhaps I’ll post or add to this later if anyone cares to hear more. Apologies if this gets too long winded anyway..I’ve just been holding so much in.

I just got the outline done for only my second tattoo ever, and after over a decade from my first. It is of A Perfect Circle runes spelling “spiral out” and “keep going” on the back of my legs with the APC symbol separating one set of words, and Tool‘s open heptagram symbol separating the other two (I modified the ends to point for continuity ☺️).

Going into this appointment I had an insane amount of anxiety leading up to it. The artist made me feel a hell of a lot more anxious than I already was, as well as guilty on top of it when she stated almost right away that it was “supposed to be her day off,“ and that she “never tattoos the same client two days in a row” (no one told me this and booked me two days in a row with her). She went on to pressure me to make up my mind about size, but then was visibly upset when I let her know the spacing wasn’t right and it was much too large. Mind you, I drove 12 hours round trip to another state and booked three nights at an Airbnb to allot for the two sessions booked in advance. 

Long story short, I ended up feeling very rushed, judged, and pressured through the entire placement process and received very little to no feedback from her when asking if things looked centered/aligned properly as I asked for different adjustments here and there. The more time that passed, the more guilt, pressure, and anxiety I felt as she got shorter and shorter with me. So, I finally settled and just got on with it. After dealing with trying not to shiver for 3 hours in a F***ing freezing shop with a few small breaks to stand in front of the little space heater they had, the deed was done. I tipped her handsomely regardless of her attitude towards me.

I got back to my Airbnb, did my first wash, took a pic and came to find how off my tattoo was. I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t sleep that night. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. I felt sick to my stomach and could barely eat. I felt instead regret and so much anger toward myself that I didn’t just walk out the moment she literally told me that it was “never going to be perfect,” and that “it will change as you age anyway” mid placement process. I was mad at myself for not bringing anyone I trusted with me, and so pissed that when I finally decided to go do something for myself on my own that I got fucked.

I know, first world problems. Yes there are worse things that have happened. But still, this is my body, and there was one chance to get this right, and I now have to live with this. Moving on.

The one thing I can be and am certainly thankful for is her very clean line work.. but I’m really fretting going back. She told me filling would take 3 hours per leg, at least 6 in total. She also allowed me to book on February 14th and 15th without hesitation (two days in a row after all..hm..ok, hypocrite 😑🔫) when I know she’s married, and I had only realized that duh 14th’s Vday after I’d left the shop..F***’n A.

This tattoo was supposed to be a very symbolic milestone for me moving forward in my life, but she made it feel like anything but. I cried as she was finishing up, because of all my emotions peaking as I was finishing listening to Lateralus through my earbud. I explained to her how much it truly meant to me after getting up and through my curtain of tears, and she just kind of blankly looked at me, so I apologized..wtf. I felt so weird and awkward feeling so insignificant, but yet so high and proud of myself at the same time for finally going through with it. What a fucked up salad toss of emotions. 

There is so, so much more to this story unfortunately 😔, but what I’m hoping for now is some constructive criticism and advice going forward. Here are my questions for you:

1. Do I suck it up, and continue to spend more travel costs and time to finish this piece with her?

2. Or, do I find another quality artist who actually appreciates Tool/APC, or is at least a real and more communicative human being to finish my piece with them?

3. If I go with #2, should I attempt to get the $100 back that hasn’t gone to the work yet to be completed, since it apparently was to be applied to the very last tattoo session?

4. Does this look as off to you as it does to me?

My background is in photography and design, I’ve always had a very detailed eye, so it’s been insanely hard to just look past the flaws I’m seeing in the lack of all-around symmetry, and crookedness in a couple specific areas, and appreciate it for what it is. I feel she didn’t properly center the design with The very back of my legs, so now the back of my knees look even knobbier and unflattering. I feel like they all needed shifting inwards to center and flow with my legs more properly so they’d be viewed straight dead on together instead of slightly off to either side (this refers even more so to my left leg as the bottom half is definitely not centered down the calf). I also feel like the runes were not printed out all at the same font size, as the duplicate runes look different in size..and I definitely would have been able to notice this in any other instance, had I not been made to just focus on placement and get going. I had such high expectations and hopes, took so much time and money to get there, and now feel embarrassed and stupid for not sticking up for myself more, or just straight up leaving and going elsewhere when I was initially labeled as a major inconvenience before even getting started at all after coming all that way.

In the three weeks I’ve been healing I’ve lost countless nights of sleep due to a lot of other stressful events going on, and I’m just tired of this one jumping back into my headspace as if I haven’t already mulled over it enough. I would really like to gain some other perspectives than to allow my own self destructive mind to torturously ruminate, as well as mostly doubt the few biased opinions I’ve received thus far. 

Any thoughts or advice means a hell of a lot right now, thanks in advance for any input you have to offer. Whether it’s harsh or not, just F***ing hit me with some truth. No hard feelings.

Adding the image of my initial design, and a couple photos of the outcome.
 

Peace

🌀🖤

 

 

 

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My honest advice for you going forward is to bring this entire process to a screeching halt. Cancel your upcoming appointments and just let the money for the deposit go. Reading through that book that you posted, it is clear that it’s more than just an issue with this particular artist/tattoo. See a therapist. Do not continue getting tattooed until you can truly accept that nothing in this world is perfect. Tattoos are not for highly anxious and perfectionist people. Tattoos have become too mainstream where anybody thinks they can go get one and if it’s not “Instagram perfect” then it keeps them up at night. It used to be that people with tattoos generally didn’t care so much what everyone else thought. Now there is an influx of people that seem to be doing it only for the likes or the praise of others. Get good tattoos that you want and you like and forget about the rest.


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9 hours ago, Tattooju said:

My honest advice for you going forward is to bring this entire process to a screeching halt. Cancel your upcoming appointments and just let the money for the deposit go. Reading through that book that you posted, it is clear that it’s more than just an issue with this particular artist/tattoo. See a therapist. Do not continue getting tattooed until you can truly accept that nothing in this world is perfect. Tattoos are not for highly anxious and perfectionist people. Tattoos have become too mainstream where anybody thinks they can go get one and if it’s not “Instagram perfect” then it keeps them up at night. It used to be that people with tattoos generally didn’t care so much what everyone else thought. Now there is an influx of people that seem to be doing it only for the likes or the praise of others. Get good tattoos that you want and you like and forget about the rest.


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Thank you for reading my book and for your advice. 

I would, however, like to beg to differ on the fact that this definitely was an issue with this tattoo artist regardless of whether o had high anxiety or not. The experience during the last tattoo I received vs this one was vastly different. The other artist took his time, made thoughtful suggestions, worked with me on sizing, placement etc, as well as actually consulted with me prior to arriving at my session. This artist did not contact me, I was only in contact with receptionists, and when I walked in ready for my appointment, I was told my artist was just drawing up my design. She took about an hour just to do that, and when she came out to initially talk/meet me, I could tell this was the very first time she even looked at anything I had sent weeks prior.

And please let me stress again, that one of the first things she said to me was “this is supposed to be my day off” in a very cold tone, looking at me as if I should’ve known this, and that I shouldn’t be there. No “Hi, nice to meet you, my name is __,” Or any other response that would allow a client to become more at ease with who they’re about to allow to permanently alter their appearance..

So, sure, I could definitely see a therapist for my anxiety, but I also feel in this instance the artist should be somewhat held accountable for her actions and lack of other actions as well. Obviously that probably won’t happen, but like I said, I was just looking for some unbiased opinions on this matter. It’s not that I care what everyone else thinks, I definitely don’t. This was just a way I thought I could seek out constructive criticism or ideas on how to approach finishing this piece moving forward. 

I also find it important to note that just a few days ago I came across a new review about this artist from another person who basically had the exact same experience I had with her. She’s been tattooing for about 20 years now, and I have a feeling that it’s very possible she’s burning out. 

Edited by LadySchism

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I’m going to 100% stick to my earlier comments. I’ll also add that you had multiple opportunities based on what you are saying to back out before the needle touched your skin. If you were that anxious before the tattoo why would you go through with it? Nobody forced you to go through with it. A lost deposit is an easier pill to swallow than a tattoo you don’t like. Feel free to reach out to other shops and see if they will finish it for you. Be prepared for some no’s, a lot of artist don’t want to touch another’s work. Maybe you should have a formal sit down interview with the next artist to see if they are good enough to tattoo you.


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Of course, don’t you think I realize that? Does it not seem obvious enough that I’ve beaten myself to a pulp over the fact that I ultimately decided to go with it even though I didn’t feel 100% and could have backed out with every red flag thrown in my face? This is why I’m here talking about it now. I’m sick of losing sleep over it, and just wanted to hear people’s advice moving forward.

It is definitely not unheard of to have an initial consultation with the artist prior, which is something I’ll make sure I don’t ever miss out on again. 

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You said you wanted “thoughts and advice harsh or not just hit you with some f***ing truth”. Don’t ask for it if you can’t handle it. You’ve got my thoughts and advice now so do with it what you want. Just keep in mind we are not therapists. If you are truly having “SOS” anxiety, seek help from someone/someplace more equipped to help with that. Best of luck!


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My totally unqualified opinion:  I think it looks cool so far.  

We tend to really overly criticize these things when its our own body, but seriously I can't imagine a single person who'd come up and try to find some "flaw" in what's been competed so far.  

As far as the artist:  Nah, life's too short to put up with bullshit, especially when I'm sure there's plenty of talented artists near you who'd be happy to give you a much more positive experience in exchange for your money.

I wouldn't bother looking for someone who cares about the subject matter exactly, but more someone that has a portfolio that you like (if you don't rate 75%+ of the examples as 9/10 or 10/10 then they're probably not "your" artist).  Once that's done see if you can schedule a consultation and see if you "click" with them.  In my experience it took a couple tries before I found someone I really felt like I had good communication with about my ideas and implementation.  I personally don't want someone who can barely listen and obviously doesn't care to be "stuck" tattooing my ideas for hours on end.  Sounds miserable for both of us.

$100 is a drop in the bucket when it comes to getting what you want, and having a good experience.  I'd say let it go & never go back.

Good luck, let us see the progress if/when you find someone better to work with for you!

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The tattoo looks about as good as it can get. Symmetrical, clean lines. I’m sure the artist was on edge if you were micromanaging her, anyone in their job would feel the same. If your personalities didn’t mesh well then perhaps shop around a little and see if anyone is willing to finish it up. The work looks nice and matches your mock up as close as any human could make it. I think maybe you’re more anxious about having another interaction with the artist than the tattoo itself.


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As far as the artist:  Nah, life's too short to put up with bullshit, especially when I'm sure there's plenty of talented artists near you who'd be happy to give you a much more positive experience in exchange for your money.


This goes both ways. If you’re a pain in the ass client, micromanaging a professional with 20 years of experience, don’t expect a ton of pleasantries. You have to give the artist some degree of freedom to do their thing if you want the best result. Especially on something like placement where the artist more than likely knows best. The placement and lines look about as good as possible so the fact that she’s finding “flaws” tells me she’s not going to be happy with any result from any artist. No tattoo is perfect. No person is perfect. No skin is perfect. If you go expecting perfection you will be let down every time. At this point, it’s a favor to the artist to not go back.


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29 minutes ago, Tattooju said:

This goes both ways. If you’re a pain in the ass client, micromanaging a professional with 20 years of experience, don’t expect a ton of pleasantries. You have to give the artist some degree of freedom to do their thing if you want the best result. Especially on something like placement where the artist more than likely knows best.

I agree with you here 100%.  

Then again maybe the client trying to take the reins is a side-effect of not feeling comfortable with the artist, which then gets worse/amplified as things go along.  

Hard to say which is which, but I'm sure there's a good match for almost anyone out there.  It sounds like her initial experience wasn't a good match, but there'll be someone who hopefully is.

Edited by SJP0tato

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Thanks for the responses so far.

I definitely was not micromanaging her. I gave my initial response as to how big I wanted each rune when asked, and personally pulled the example image up for her prior to any stencil placement and while she was still in the drawing process. To that, she still ended up printing out runes that were easily almost twice as big as what I ended up with. 

I did initially give her the degree of freedom you’re talking about, and the entire thing looked more like awkward graffiti because of how huge and smashed together each rune was initially. The top ones were also angled much further out and away from each other, and rotated more toward the ground at that point which looked quite awkward, like an odd zipper effect. When I let her know they were unfortunately too big/close together, she was visibly upset and proceeded to reprint them.

Had she allowed me to check out the first rune or two before placing all of them, it could’ve saved us both time as I would’ve  told her right away that it was much too big. Also, had she actually kept in mind the visual I gave her, up on placing the first stencil, anyone would have stopped there and realized they were way too big before proceeding with the rest. After the first round, I suggested if she wanted to print a regular sheet of paper out first I could just double check the size before reprinting the stencils, to which she did, and that helped both of us out as she did reduce the size a second time prior to having a go at the next round of stencils. 

To be clear once again, she made it crystal to me as to how annoyed she was that she had to work on “her day off” even though this was booked months in advance, and I had called the shop the day prior to reconfirm she was ready after or if she had any questions/concerns to which the receptionist told me if she hasn’t contacted me, that meant everything was good to go. The artist said this looking at me dead in the eyes as if this was all my fault and not miscommunication at the shop. I said “I’m sorry to hear that,” and tried to be as courteous as I could in such an awkward introduction. She gave no shits so to how far I traveled, how much work I took off, and what other costs I incurred to make this journey a reality. I wasn’t able to cancel the rest of my Airbnb stay after finding out she wouldn’t work on me the next day, incurring more unnecessary costs. Had there been any amount of direct communication with her beforehand, I definitely know this would have been avoided. It is quite obvious she did not prepare, care to look or inform herself of what tattoo was in store for that appointment until the day of. 

I think it’s fair to state that it’s highly unprofessional to talk to a client like that first thing, and to not be at least a little prepared before the client walks through the door. Someone who’s worked in the field for about 20 years should know this. Setting that initial tone did not help a single bit. 

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4 hours ago, Bashley said:

The tattoo looks about as good as it can get. Symmetrical, clean lines. I’m sure the artist was on edge if you were micromanaging her, anyone in their job would feel the same. If your personalities didn’t mesh well then perhaps shop around a little and see if anyone is willing to finish it up. The work looks nice and matches your mock up as close as any human could make it. I think maybe you’re more anxious about having another interaction with the artist than the tattoo itself.

Thank you, I appreciate your sentiments,  and do feel you are correct in that my level of anxiousness on going back is fueling a lot of what I’m feeling right now. At this point I do think I will bite the bullet and try to finish up elsewhere, to at least give the last half a chance to be a better all around experience.

I just approached an artist in town who said she’s had her fair share of run-ins with artists who don’t have the best attitudes going in, treating her like just another paycheck. But, the minute they find out she’s a tattoo artist, they change their tone. She said personally she isn’t comfortable touching another artist’s work, but gave me a referral to a shop that might. I totally understand this stance, and had a feeling it might get sticky looking for another artist after initially considering doing so. She suggested that I may want to just power through for continuity sake, but that it shouldn’t be difficult for another quality artist to finish it up nicely.

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You are insane. Don’t continue getting tattoos. Just. STOP. You are CLEARLY micromanaging. If artist like her are “burning out” it’s because of clients like you. YOU are the problem not her. I’m done. Have fun never being happy.


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5 hours ago, SJP0tato said:

My totally unqualified opinion:  I think it looks cool so far.  

We tend to really overly criticize these things when its our own body, but seriously I can't imagine a single person who'd come up and try to find some "flaw" in what's been competed so far.  

As far as the artist:  Nah, life's too short to put up with bullshit, especially when I'm sure there's plenty of talented artists near you who'd be happy to give you a much more positive experience in exchange for your money.

I wouldn't bother looking for someone who cares about the subject matter exactly, but more someone that has a portfolio that you like (if you don't rate 75%+ of the examples as 9/10 or 10/10 then they're probably not "your" artist).  Once that's done see if you can schedule a consultation and see if you "click" with them.  In my experience it took a couple tries before I found someone I really felt like I had good communication with about my ideas and implementation.  I personally don't want someone who can barely listen and obviously doesn't care to be "stuck" tattooing my ideas for hours on end.  Sounds miserable for both of us.

$100 is a drop in the bucket when it comes to getting what you want, and having a good experience.  I'd say let it go & never go back.

Good luck, let us see the progress if/when you find someone better to work with for you!

Thanks so much for all the suggestions and positive feedback. You’re definitely right that $100 is a drop in the bucket for peace of mind and a better experience for the last half. I really like that rating system, had definitely rated this artist’s at pretty much 100% with all her work.

I think my downfall is that even though I loved her work, I should have realized that each piece was typically medium in size even though she had a few photos of sleeves. I probably should have sought out someone who had more large pieces of work on average. Had it just been one rune on its own, I’m sure I would have had a completely different experience, as she may just be used to placing one and being done.

Once I figure everything out and finish this beast, I’ll definitely post an update 🤘

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8 minutes ago, Tattooju said:

You are insane. Don’t continue getting tattoos. Just. STOP. You are CLEARLY micromanaging. If artist like her are “burning out” it’s because of clients like you. YOU are the problem not her. I’m done. Have fun never being happy.


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How is it that I’m solely the problem here? You clearly chose to dismiss the fact that this artist was rude and unprepared right off the bat. How do you think that would set a tone for anyone else In that situation? I’ve looked at this from many different angles. Sure I could’ve been more compliant and just gone with what she initially suggested and placed on my body, but then I would truly be world of hurt and more unrest knowing didn’t speak up at all when I felt the need to. 

I will continue to finish this piece and will not just “STOP” because you have this idea that I am the one at fault for making a jaded artist the way she is. Thanks for picking and choosing what to focus on and not considering the entire picture for what it was. I’ve only responded back to you by further laying out my experience, and have only been met with hateful condescension from you. So, thank you for being done ✌️  

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Any thoughts or advice means a hell of a lot right now, thanks in advance for any input you have to offer. Whether it’s harsh or not, just F***ing hit me with some truth. No hard feelings.
 
Peace

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Best of luck to you. You are the problem and I hope you take my advice. I can’t stress that enough. Get the mental help you need. (A lot of it). You really are insane. You’ll never be happy with the way you’re going.

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Best of luck to you. You are the problem and I hope you take my advice. I can’t stress that enough. Get the mental help you need. (A lot of it). You really are insane. You’ll never be happy with the way you’re going.

I mean he’s right if you think your ink looks different than what you wanted. With the next artist just let them do their thing with their experience and advice and you’ll be much happier.


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19 minutes ago, Tattooju said:

 


Best of luck to you. You are the problem and I hope you take my advice. I can’t stress that enough. Get the mental help you need. (A lot of it). You really are insane. You’ll never be happy with the way you’re going.

That's fine. I accept you think I'm insane, and that I'm the sole problem here. I do know I'm not insane, and I also know I have a lot of anxiety that could be addressed as you stated prior. Perhaps the term "harsh" opened up the door to widely for you to become evermore condescending, my bad. Best of luck to your apathetic self as well.

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ap·a·thet·ic
/ˌapəˈTHedik/

adjective
showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern

I think they care... about quality tattoos more than your fragile psyche.


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22 minutes ago, Bashley said:


I mean he’s right if you think your ink looks different than what you wanted. With the next artist just let them do their thing with their experience and advice and you’ll be much happier.


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I already explained above (the comment that started with "Thanks for the responses so far") as to what would have happened had I let this specific artist do her thing. I just definitely know for next time that prior direct communication with the artist is crucial and key for a better all around experience and more successful outcome. 

 

 

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ap·a·thet·ic
/ˌapəˈTHedik/

adjective
showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern

I think they care... about quality tattoos more than your fragile psyche.


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Exactly. Thank you.


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That's fine. I accept you think I'm insane, and that I'm the sole problem here. I do know I'm not insane, and I also know I have a lot of anxiety that could be addressed as you stated prior. Perhaps the term "harsh" opened up the door to widely for you to become evermore condescending, my bad. Best of luck to your apathetic self as well.


Go. Away. You Insane person.


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5 minutes ago, Tattooju said:

 


Go. Away. You Insane person.


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Holy shit, really? You’re the one that chose to come here and go out of your way to comment on my post..then down the line stated you were done, but then carried on, and have resorted to insults. You gave initial feedback, I responded to said feedback, then you chose to continually degrade from there. I hope you treat others with more respect than this. Now. Go. Away. 

 

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27 minutes ago, Bashley said:


ap·a·thet·ic
/ˌapəˈTHedik/

adjective
showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern

I think they care... about quality tattoos more than your fragile psyche.


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Very sweet of you to point out. Thanks for wasting your time googling a definition to add to the insults. Much appreciated.

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