My First Tattoo: 16 Women Share Their Stories

Michele Zipp | Jun 15, 2016 Beauty & Style
My First Tattoo: 16 Women Share Their Stories

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Deciding what to get for your first tattoo isn't always an easy decision. And hearing the stories behind first tattoos show the thought that goes into getting one (or even the lack thereof). These women's first tattoo stories are inspiring and intriguing.

While some are faded and others are considered lovely mistakes, all carry incredible stories of life ... and that's nothing to regret. Check out these first tattoos and the meanings behind them.


Image via

  • Strength Tarot.


    Image via Jen Fume-Chaud

    Jen shared: "It's a little faded. I got this when I was 33 about 10 years ago. It's the Rider-Waite Strength Card. At the time, it kept coming up in readings I had and its meaning was 100 percent all about what I was going through at the time."

  • Dolphin in honor of Mom.


    Image via Jenna Oberg

    Jenna shared: "My mom died on September 17, 2004, four days before my birthday. I flew out to Pennsylvania for her funeral, and me and my little sister decided to get matching tattoos. Our mom had a dolphin tattoo on her shoulder, so it was the obvious and most meaningful choice. It might not be that well executed, but that's one of the things I have always liked about it. It's funky and a little off kilter and very colorful, just like my mom was."

  • Protection symbol.


    Image via Michele Zipp

    Michele shared: "When I was in my early 20s, I was studying Paganism and was also really drawn to Egyptian and Wiccan art. I knew getting the eye of Horus as a first tattoo was perfect for me. It's small and just above my ankle. Twenty years (and many more tattoos) later, I still love my first one."

  • Peony.


    Image via Jenny G. Perry

    Jenny shared: "Peony tattoos symbolize wealth, good fortune, and prosperity. I added the bee for my honey, Brian, and because he pollinates my flower."

    More from CafeMom: Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Trudie Kaiser

  • Inspired by film.


    Image via Staci Narducci

    Staci shared: "My first tattoo is a character from a book/movie that I love, Howl's Moving Castle. The main character in that movie feels a lot like me and I identified strongly with her. The character in my tattoo is a fire demon that [the main character] helps and he helps her. I plan on getting another soon."

  • Spirals.


    Image via Joye Prue

    Joye shared: "My first tattoos were spirals I drew myself, alongside both of my legs. They were done by one of my dearest friends in 1999, when I lived in Seattle, at her home, because she was a talented amateur tattoo artist. She drew it from nothing more than a photograph. These tattoos are all deeply tied to my memories of Seattle and my beautiful friend Daisy. The flowers were recently added."

  • Ode to family memory.


    Image via Anna Budinger

    Anna shared: "I chose my first tattoo to be a mint sprig as an ode to my country house and the many summers of my father harvesting wild mint, which he would then steep to make iced mint tea for the family. I love the fluidity of a mint spring. The way the leaves are reaching away from the stem allows the tattoo to bend and stretch gracefully as my own body moves, making it feel much more like a part of me."

  • Scissors and flowers.


    Image via

    Belle's first tattoo is of scissors and flowers. She is a cosmetologist in training.

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  • A name.

    Image via Jacqueline Burt

    Jacqueline shared: "I was 20 years old and dating my 45-year-old college professor. On a youthful and extremely stupid whim, I decided to get his signature tattooed on my ankle to show him how devoted I was (he was an artist and signed his paintings 'Von'). When we, of course, broke up about a month later, [and] I was stuck with a completely meaningless tattoo, which I then decided to turn into a German phrase -- not because I'm German (I'm not), but just because I googled 'von' and found it was used in many German phrases. After narrowing my options down to 'von oben,' which means 'from above,' and 'von sinnen sein,' which means 'to be out of one's wits,' I went with 'von oben' because it was shorter. I tell people it's the German linguistic equivalent of an angel but really it's just a mistake (and one which hasn't aged particularly well!)."

  • Semicolon butterfly.

    Image via Jennifer Strom Dugan

    Jennifer shared: "I got my first tattoo on my 42nd birthday. It's on my left forearm. The semicolon became a symbol for mental health awareness with the message that an author uses a semicolon to continue a thought rather then end it; the tattoo is a reminder that you are the author and your story is your life. My father had been homebound with mental illness for almost 18 years, and I have battled anxiety and OCD for years. So I knew I wanted something with the semicolon to honor my dad and to give me something to focus on when things get tough. I went with this as it has the semicolon, the infinity symbol, hearts for love and it all makes a butterfly for hope."

  • Wedding band.

    Image via Rebecca Wong

    Rebecca shared, "This is my only and his third tattoo. We got wedding band tattoos on our then seventh anniversary. We're going on 10 this fall."

  • Turning regret into somthing lovely.

    Image via Jennifer Symon

    Jennifer shared: "My first one was done when I was 20 with a homemade tattoo gun -- a Walkman and a guitar string and India ink. Twenty years later, I finally had a cover-up done."

    More from CafeMom: 11 Ways to Test Out a Tattoo Before Going Permanent

  • Defining.

    Image via Keri Fisher

    Keri shared: "My first tattoo defines me as a woman and of course my love of country music."

  • Beautiful quote.

    Image via Kate Parker

    Kate shared: "My first tattoo is a quote from Hans Christian Andersen. At age 18, I was dying to get a tattoo, but I wanted something that would be just as true as the day I got it. I wanted it to have meaning and application in my life. The famous quote by Andersen speaks volumes for itself. I am an avid lover of music and I have been raised in a musical family. From the time I could talk, I was singing. That love of music grew into a very beloved talent. I sing daily and music speaks to my soul. Music is a powerful entity, being, or energy. It can make you remember and forget. It can take you to places in your soul that can't be touched through words alone. Many people understand this to be true, especially when they listen to music and, as they envelop themselves in the sound, goosebumps raise on your arms. The music becomes a part of you, speaking to you, taking you beyond the words. This tattoo reminds me daily of that. Reminds me that music is a part of me and my soul and will take me beyond words ... especially where they fail to convey the meaning."

  • For the kids.

    Image via Laura Flint

    Laura shared: "I love elephants. When my great-grandmother died, I inherited about 50 elephant statues. While I was pregnant with my almost 10-year-old, my husband drew me a picture of elephants. I had always wanted three children, so after I had Ava, I said I'll get [tattoos of] the elephants and then my children's names. Well, we had Kamlyn and decided two was enough. So the names never got added. Then, SURPRISE! Eight years later, I have Maelie! I can't wait to add their names! This is my only tattoo, so far."

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  • Thumbprint heart.

    Image via Cody Bauchman

    Cody Bauchman shared: "It's my son's thumbprint, cut out into a heart shape. I wanted and decided on this about a year and a half ago, and sat on the idea for a while to make sure it's what I wanted to put on my body. I wanted my first tattoo to be something powerful and special to me, and this is just perfect. It's funny, his name is Gauge and there's actually a G in the center of his thumbprint when you zoom in super close!"


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