My First Tattoo

Meiko Johnson, Managing

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Getting a tattoo is a lifetime commitment some are willing to live with for the rest of their life.

Knowing this, I went in with some precautions because of mishaps that could occur. I’m 17, what many people would believe is far too young to make such a big decision for myself. But I knew the reason for my tattoo was 100 percent worth it.

I had lost one of my best friends, Christal Johnson, Dec.19, 2018.

This moment changed my life forever. Christal was the person who got me into running at high levels; she was my biggest inspiration for running and continues to be my idol to this day. 

After this experience last December, I quit running for three months and was at, what felt like, the worst chapter in my life.

After months of rehab and therapy, I realized I needed to crystallize her in my life forever. So, I reached out to my friend who was an art major at the University of Idaho and asked her to sketch some ideas out for the tattoo artist to base something off of. What she drew was the exact direction I wanted to go with the design..

    She had designed a crystal prism melting into a semicolon. A semicolon tattoo is meant to represent solidarity to yourself against self-harm and suicide. The bouquet of crystals was meant to symbolize Christal Johnson and her legacy as a whole. 

    I know a lot of parents would be against their child getting a tattoo, nonetheless a 17-year-old, but my parents were very comforting and wanted to experience the tattoo with me. 

So, my mom and I booked a flight to Boise for Dec. 7, 2019.

    My tattoo artist’s name was Ernes Omeragic and was a refugee from the Bosnian war who found home and family in the tattoo business. 

    After a lot of different sketches and looking at different types of shading we settled for one design that we both enjoyed and knew would fit my shoulder and bicep area really well. It had become this almost ombre effect of crystals with the semicolon being at the bottom in a lighter shade so it would stand out more. 

    The first initial touch of the needle wasn’t as bad as some made it out to be. Even though the bicep is a less painful place to receive a tattoo, it really only felt like some pinching. 

    My mom was taking pictures for about the first 10 minutes then became bored because “I wasn’t crying,” so she left for the next three hours to go see a family friend. 

    As the process went on, we took some breaks and even though I wanted the final reveal to be a surprise to me, I couldn’t help but look in the mirror to be amazed by his work. 

    The most painful part was when he started working more towards the inside of my arm because of how sensitive the skin is there. But even then, it was as bad as I had hoped. Just because I went in hoping for a little more pain so I could return home and brag about how brave I was.

    After about three hours on the table, Ernes lifted the needle for the last time and my new souvenir was finally finished. 

    The final product was even better than I had imagined. He did a lot of shading which made the effect of the crystals stand out even more. It almost moved me to tears because of how much it meant to me and how well he conveyed my vision. 

Even though it is on my body for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t trade or take back any moment of the process, besides maybe the flight which had a barking dog the whole way. From this experience, I’ve learned that tattoos are a big part of people’s lives, whether they are getting or giving one, each tattoo means something to someone.