We now live in a world where TV shows such as Tattoo Fixers exist and whilst I enjoy the entertainment factor of seeing someone regretting getting a badly illustrated willy on their butt whilst on holiday. I don’t think the TV show and those alike have done much to help dismiss the stigmas surrounding cover up tattoos.
It’s embarrassing enough to admit that a permanent decision you made to put on your body for life was in fact wrong but to then have it covered is just as embarrassing. But I don’t know why it should be? We all do things we regret and nine times out of ten we learn from them and move on, so why can’t the same attitude be attached to tattoos?
I have a very laid back approach to tattoos, I don’t know if this is down to the fact that I’ve got so many now or that I just don’t see them as a big enough deal to give a lot of thought into. Don’t get me wrong though, I do think about what I’m putting on my body but not to the point that I’d end up talking myself out of getting one done. For example; yes I may not like a band I’m getting a tattoo about in ten years but at the point of my life when I was getting it, I felt like it was important enough to get. It’s almost like you’re creating a memory book on your body about certain points in your life and I really like looking at my tattoos in that way.
I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve had three tattoos covered up and each of the tattoos underneath the cover up still have their meaning. The cover up tattoos do however look even better and serve their purpose of a cover up.
For each tattoo I’ve had covered up I’ve been met with judgement from people around me and shame from myself of having to have something covered up. I think this shame comes from the stigma and pressure we put on people having tattoos though. It’s never nice hearing from people “Oh no, you’ll regret that when you’re older”, “Oh you’d look so much better without tattoos” and “Ahh you’re getting something covered up…see I told you so”. But none of my cover up tattoos have come from regret of actually getting them done.
I wanted to go through each of my cover up tattoos to hopefully help aid the dismissal of the stigma of cover up tattoos and show that there’s so shame in getting something covered up or removed. I bet you every tattooed person has one tattoo they wish they could get rid of or cover up but they say it embarrassingly or with a bit of shame. We’re all human after all, I don’t think any of us have the ability to make a decision now and make sure it will be the same ten years on.
My first cover up tattoo was in fact my first proper legal tattoo I got and the cover up I got for it ended up being my biggest tattoo to date. Just like fashion, tattoos tend to follow trends every so often and you’ll soon start to notice that certain styles and types of tattoos become popular at one time. I being a naive 18 year old excited about her first proper tattoo decided to get a dandelion being blown into birds across the top of my back. I of course attached a meaning to this that was personal to me knowing for well that a handful of the population would have the same tattoo somewhere on their body too. As I got a bit older I started to develop a tattoo style that I wanted to carry on through my whole body, my dandelion tattoo didn’t really fit this at all and it hadn’t aged very well. The bird were extremely blurry and it was just badly done basically. When I got the tattoo I feel like I was trying to be this girly girl that I obviously wasn’t and I just grew to dislike it to the point that I wouldn’t like getting my back out in the summer at all.
My first cover up idea stemmed from research of different styles of tattoos I like that I think suited me and I could see growing with me in time. I looked at local artists and their styles and chatted with a few about what I wanted doing before I finally decided on committing to get my whole back tattooed by an artist I’d had some work done by before. Getting your whole back tattooed is something that you should definitely not take lightly as it’s a lot of money and time to invest in something. I knew this was something I wanted to regardless of having a previous tattoo covered up or not, it just so happened to fit in with the design we went for. In the end I went with a mandala style back piece that was girly enough to look feminine on my back but dark enough to fit in with the rest of my tattoos on my arm. I look at my tattoo on my back and now see something that fully represents me and that I love. For me that’s what I think a good cover up tattoo is all about. Replacing something old and disused with something new that has a new meaning and purpose.
My second cover up tattoo was actually in fact my first ever tattoo which I got when I was a few days shy of 16… Yes I know I got done illegally but that’s probably my one and only rebellious moment to date so let me have it alright?! It may come as a surprise to you but I actually really liked the design and meaning behind this tattoo. It was just badly done and probably serves me right for having it done under age…karma hey?! I’m talking about my star made up of five music notes on my wrist. I’m thankful that it was small and had faded quite a lot because it was a lot easier to cover up.
I would have covered this tattoo up a lot sooner but part of me didn’t want to see it go but I felt like the time had come to say goodbye and have it hidden away for the rest of my life. Having loved the mandala design similar to my back tattoo I decided to go with the same artist but have the design for my wrist a little less harsh in terms of darkness but still have it fit with my style. For all three of my cover up tattoos I’ve kind of given creative freedom to the artist to create something that would look right on but also serve as the purpose of a cover up, I think this has always worked out the best way. Funnily enough this cover up tattoo is the one I get the most compliments about and probably wouldn’t of had it done if I hadn’t of got my first tattoo in the first place. I also love how the tattoo has aged and faded over time, I feel like it looks even better than when I got it done. And even better you can’t even tell that there’s a tattoo underneath it. That’s something I also find funny when people say that the tattoo artist has done a good job because they can’t see the old tattoo…kind of the whole point of it.
My latest cover up was one that I put of having done so much and to be honest with you I don’t know exactly why. It’s the only band related tattoo I’ve had covered up but not through the reasoning of not liking the band anymore but it actually just being a really shittly done tattoo that never healed properly. It looked a state and was the only tattoo I’ve ever been embarrassed about. It was meant to be a tattoo that represented my love for the band Enter Shikari and was their logo which was a triangle and circle. A lot of people ended up thinking it was Harry Potter related… I felt so proud when I got it but over a year or so it just didn’t look good at all and I felt so ashamed of it. This is also the only tattoo I’ve tried having laser removal on but that ain’t cheap easily on such a small tattoo.
So I decided to get it covered up with something that I deemed more beautiful and worthy of it’s place. This is probably the one and only girly tattoo I’ve got but still ties in nicely with the rest of my sleeve. It’s also the perfect start to getting my full sleeve completed…as if I ever needed another reason to persuade me to that decision. I ended up going for a very delicate yet darker tattoo of some peonies which happen to be my favourite flower. I love how the tattoo now compliments my wrist and looks like it should be there. The manky Enter Shikari tattoo is finally no where to be seen either which is the desired end result.
If you are to take anything from this blog post I hope its this…a cover up tattoo shouldn’t always come from regret or you shouldn’t be met with shame. Yes I can laugh about having to get three tattoos covered up and be told “I told you so” but I still wouldn’t change getting the tattoos I got covered up. They’re a part of me even more so now as I’m the only ones that really know they’re there day to day. The meanings of them are still there. I just have ones that look much better now.
Thank you very much for reading this post. I hope to see you back for my next post whatever that shall be…I do like to keep you in suspense!
Until next time,
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