My Tattoo Meanings

Tattoos have been something I have always loved and found myself drawn to. I got my first one on my 18th birthday, the second just after my 21st and my most recent one was in January this year. I know that I only have three and some people are covered head to toe but you guys voted to hear more about my tats and what they mean!

If you like tattoos, I did a Pinterest tattoo post a while back which is linked here, if you need some inspiration.

My Roman Numeral Tattoo

This was the first tattoo I ever got. It was done at a small place in Cambridge which, since meeting Avalon, I wouldn’t recommend. I think my naivety really showed with my first which is probably to be expected. I would totally recommend speaking to as many people as you can with tattoos that you like and find someone who suits you. Make sure you speak to the person doing your tattoo before you get it because everyone has a different style!

The Meaning 

My roman numerals stand for my mum’s birth year – MCMLVII is 1957. If you know my age, you can probably figure out that my mum was 39/40 when she had me. A controversial topic to say the least but I’m sure we can agree that she was older compared to a lot of other mothers when they have their first child. Side note: I am also her only child. For me, the tattoo means a lot more than just being my mum’s birth year. Those who are very close to me are probably aware of the deeper side of this tattoo which I’m not totally prepared to share with the world. Briefly, it is a reminder. A reminder to love, to care and when it comes to having my own children – to be the best mother I can be. I wanted this tattoo to remind me to be a good person and treat others well, as well as treat myself well too. It keeps me in check for my present and my future, essentially.

I had wanted to get this tattoo for absolutely years and the meaning behind it is so lasting and personal that I know I will never change my mind about it – making it the perfect first tattoo.

Price, Pain and Experience

When you have your first tattoo, you’ll probably do what I did and gear myself up for some indescribable, catastrophic pain. This isn’t great for your nerves beforehand but honestly helped when having it done. If you prepare yourself for the worst, it is almost guaranteed to be better than you expect. A rib tattoo is a weird pain too. It feels like a sharp(?) vibration across your bones and at points it was unbearable and others it was fine. A proper mixed bag. I paid £70 for mine and it took around 35-40 mins. Quick, easy and relatively pain-free.

The people were lovely in there but compared to my following experiences, they have nothing on Avalon and how comfortable she made me feel. I wouldn’t go back to the place where I had this tattoo done, in short.

My Geometric Cat Tattoo

Now this tattoo is the one that the majority of people like the most. I had wanted a cat tattoo for about 6/7 years but never decided on the right one. My cat, Bradley, is like my little furry best friend. He means the world to me and I am a certified crazy cat lady because of it. I wanted something that would always remind me of him but for some reason, it took me another 3 years to get a tattoo booked in! My tattoo ended up being my 21st birthday present to myself. This time I went to a place closer to home that was recommended to me and it was totally worth it. Another obvious tip, but look up their work. Avalon had an amazing Instagram page which made me significantly more confident to go and see her.

Again, I went for a ribs tattoo because I like to have tattoos in places where I can cover them if I need to as unfortunately not a lot of places are as open-minded as they should be about tattoos, ey.

The Meaning

I have briefly mentioned already but my cat, Bradley, was like having a best friend or sibling that always wanted cuddles when I was growing up. I often found myself in a lot of traumatic experiences when I was younger and having him around was like a living comfort blanket. He is my first pet and he made me the cat-obsessed woman I am. The hardest thing is knowing he is ageing while I am at university and I don’t have him around to care for. The geometric design was chosen because I loved the simplicity and I knew that I was much less likely to end up disliking it.

Price, Pain and Experience

Funnily enough, I was accidentally double booked for this tattoo so I got a £10 discount. I believe it was supposed to be £70 but I only paid £60 in the end. The pain was definitely worse this time, despite it being on my ribs again. I definitely hadn’t geared myself up like I had the first time around! However, it was a really quick tattoo (about 30 or so minutes) and it was never unbearable to the point where I had to stop.

The one thing I found harder was my lack of things to focus on. I often find that I can control how painful I find something by focusing on something else and when getting my first tattoo, I so conveniently happened to be lying where I had a lot to read. This wasn’t the case the second time and it meant I often ended up thinking about the pain. Not fun.

My Flower Tattoo

This is my most recent tattoo and the artsiest of them, for sure. It is a lot more visible than my previous two but I kind of like that as I can still keep it covered when I want to.

The Meaning

This was definitely a more spur of the moment tattoo for me. Again, I had wanted something to represent my auntie for so long but I could never decide what was fitting. One day this idea clicked and I booked in instantly. Compared to my previous three-year gap, this was just a few months which is crazy for me!

My auntie suffered from Marfan and passed away in January 2004. She was only 39 and it breaks my heart that she passed so young. She was an incredible woman and I really wanted to have something keeping us together. The story behind the flower is actually really personal too. My grandma puts down one flower, unique to all the others, whenever she visits her grave. This is something she has done for years now and it means there is always a little part of me and her, amongst all the others. I, therefore, decided to stick with having just one little flower to reflect this.

Price, Pain and Experience

I paid £50 for this tattoo which is a total bargain in my opinion. The pain was something I was really nervous about because I had only had rib tattoos before so I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how little this hurt. Like, you could barely feel it?! If you’re interested in tattoos but the pain puts you off, the inner arm was perfectly fine and I would definitely recommend it! It probably took around 30 minutes and like my others, was quite small so I didn’t have to sit through it for a long time.

Avalon is extremely talented (her Instagram page is linked here) and this kind of tattoo is much more her style than my previous one. She did a fantastic job and the detail when you see it up close is phenomenal.

I would also like to say that I have always had my tattoos heal amazingly well. I use bepanthen on them 2/3 times a day and on the first day, I wash the tattoo gently at night, just with lukewarm water and recover it with cling film. However, every tattoo artist recommends different things so I could be totally wrong!

Do you have any tattoos? Are there any you really like or would like to get?

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5 Comments

  1. February 14, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    Such amazing tattoos and such personal meanings to them too. I especially like the flower and how you came to getting that one. Your auntie would love the beautiful thought behind it. 🙂
    Caz x

    • ellamaygarrett
      February 14, 2018 / 5:37 pm

      Thank you so much Caz! Aww I am so glad you like the flower tattoo – I am totally in love with it x

  2. February 14, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    All of your tattoos are so beautiful! I personally love the floral one the most, but floral tattoos in general are always just so delicate and pretty, you can’t really go wrong 🙂 I love that each one has a special meaning, and that you spaced them all out. I also have three, but they were all in the course of one year haha! I would love a rib tattoo, but I don’t think I would do well with the pain. On my arm and leg, there wasn’t too much pain, but the closer the needle is to bone, I’ve heard the more painful it could be :/
    Thanks for sharing Ella!!

  3. February 17, 2018 / 11:13 am

    I have an arrow on my wrist which hurt a lot because it’s directly over the veins where there are a lot of nerves. I love the flower one the best I think although all of them look gorgeous. xx

  4. February 19, 2018 / 11:05 am

    I love all of your tattoos and the story behind them. I don’t think I’ll get one myself but I love to hear the story of each one xx

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