Mindful Musings || A Catch-up, Christmas Is Coming

Hey there, Wilde souls. It's been a little while since I've written on here - how have we all been?

For me, the last few months have been a rather chaotic mix of amazing, terrifying and completely inspiring, all at once. I've been through a lot of rather personal life moments - from a change in friendships, to a roller-coaster in terms of my own body and mind (more to come on that later this month). I've almost finished my first semester at university and I'm so proud of the projects I'm working on for that and elsewhere, too.

But in amongst all of the madness, Halloween came in and slipped away from me - something I was insanely upset about (I was only briefly able to celebrate Samhain, I intended to write a blog post but it was all too late by the time I had a moment to sit and gather my thoughts) - and now Christmas is coming, too. 

Oh where the Craft would take me (UK)

Finding myself more immersed in my Wiccan studies as of late, I've been fascinated in learning about influential places, sites and grounds that hold a connection for Witches alike. Keeping it to the UK, this list is just a couple of the places I've noticed and become somewhat drawn to - A bucket list for my spiritual travels.

Photo of the Stonehenge circle, found from this lovely Pinterest post

1. Stonehenge.

Getting the really obvious one out of the way first: Stonehenge is a famous heritage site and with wiccans, druids, travellers and the like gathering at almost every Sabbat, it's fairly common knowledge as one of the most iconic spiritual grounds in the UK. Built up of towering stones, origins entirely unknown (though many have speculated), the monument is one of the most visit places in the UK for witches to enjoy the solstice celebrations and moon phases. 

A Summer-time Witch: Bleach London - Awkward Peach

If you read the post My Colour Is My Confidence or you've been around my social media a while, you'll know that I've always been fond of vibrant hair. From ombré, streaks, dip-dye or a full head of colour - I've had almost all of them.

Over the last few months (maybe 6-9 months or so), I've been leaving my roots to grow out and only dying the bottom section of my hair with colour. This was due to the awful build up of dead, frizzy hair and the absolute state I'd let it get in to from the years of damage and constant dying. It really, really needed some time to recoup and regrow from fresh.

My colour is my confidence

I think everyone will agree, confidence is kind of a big deal and frankly it's something that we all need to find for ourselves at some point (or various points) in our lives. For me, confidence is that feeling where you're incredibly happy within yourself, where positivity simply radiates and you're knowingly strong and reassured in yourself.

But it's more than just the good-vibe. It's that feeling deep inside you. I've been trying to think of a perfect way to describe it and I've been asking people what do you feel when you feel confident, but it's almost indescribable.

What even is confidence?
Where does it come from?
What does it feel like?

Twenty-five before 25

It has been just over a week since my birthday which, this year, I turned 23.

This year, I spent it away from home, with Levi - in Newquay! The whole thing was a surprise trip and having dreamt of visiting the south coast for years, was a perfect way to spend my birthday. A lot of beach walks, beautiful sunsets and quirky little towns to explore. We spent a good majority of the time with our feet in the sand and heads in the rock-pools or caves, it was stunning.

The first tattoo

Let's talk tattoos - whether it's about mine, or just in general. As a genuine passion of mine, it's something I love having a chat about and I'd love to have some open discussions with all of you!
This new little series will cover various topics around tattoos; aftercare, inspiration, artists and more.

My first tattoo: Then Vs Now

Some of the questions I find myself struggling to answer are the ones about "first tattoos". I never really planned for my first tattoo, not the way people expect you to, anyway. Whenever people ask me about getting theirs, I always say "just go for it", "don't worry, it'll be fine" because realistically, that's what I do for all of my tattoos, I just go for it. But maybe that isn't the right way to encourage people into getting something so permanent, so I'll tell you a little bit about my experience first.

My first tattoo experience
I got my first tattoo as soon as I was old enough to do so. I'd been thinking about it for a long time beforehand, so me and my Mum had gone to the studio a couple of days (weeks? I can't remember) before I was to turn 18 and booked in for just after my birthday.

The design itself was something I had sketched up, a sort of brief indication of what I wanted for the artist to take into consideration. Realistically the design had no meaning, I just liked dream-catchers and wolves. The artist ended up copying the image I'd drawn almost exactly, which was a little bit of a shock as I had only half drawn it! At the time though, I loved it. I thought it looked kind of artsy and cool with only one side of the wolves face in detail.

Yes, that really is how 18 year old me thought.

Yes, I really do use the word artsy in my everyday vocabulary.

Getting the actual tattoo, from what I remember, was a breeze. With it being at the top of my back, I was sat backwards on a chair, with my chest against it and my back facing my artist (does that make sense?). As weird as that sounds, it was actually really comfortable. The artist tattooing me was more than lovely and accommodating, making sure I was always okay and whether I needed breaks for air/food and things. The other artist in the studio even bought me a can of coke from the shop to keep my sugar levels up while being tattooed (perks).

It took around 3 hours and I mostly didn't feel any pain from it. From what I remember of the healing process, it was quite simple and easy. Keep it clean, keep it covered and moisturise when it needs it (that bit was hard, what a weird position to try and put cream on!).

How I feel now

People that have spoken to me for any amount of time about modifications, or have asked about my back tattoo, will know that I'm not so keen on it anymore. Almost five years down the line, my perception of tattoos and the style that I like has changed a lot.

Once upon a time I loved this tattoo and I'd take any opportunity to show it off. Now, it's just kind of part of me and it's just there. Because it's on my back, I often forget about it because obviously, I don't see it.

That isn't to say that I necessarily regret it, I don't at all. It's still a nice piece, and I treasure the fact that it was my first, but it just isn't what I want as the end goal for my back anymore.

I don't currently and don't think I ever will regret getting any of the artwork that I have on my body - for one reason or another I have at some point wanted and loved them all, individually and collectively. I think that's why I haven't ever been too worried over the tattoos I get. Obviously that isn't how a lot of people think and that's totally okay - often tattoos have very different meanings and everyone has their reasons for getting them. For me though, it's artwork, it's appreciation and it's memories.

Although I'm not in any big rush, I do think that somewhere in the future I'll be getting my dream-catcher covered/reworked and I've even recently spoken to the artist that did it and we both agreed that his work has come a long way since then. Ideally I'd like to stick to the same sort of theme of a wolf/dream-catcher/something spiritual for my back. So who knows, maybe keep an eye out for some development in that! Maybe before then, I'll change my mind again.

Tips for preparing for your first tattoo

Seeing as I grew up around people who didn't really have many tattoos, I didn't particularly have anyone I could ask questions to before getting mine. Here's a couple of tips that I think are handy to consider before getting a first (or just any) tattoo. 

1. Have some ideas ready, or at least know what you like the look of
I'm not saying that you have to 100% have an idea planned or sketched, but before you think about contacting artists for work, you need to have a vague idea of what type of tattoos you like. If the artist has a base idea to go on, they'll find it a lot easier when drawing/designing your perfect tattoo. 

2. Think carefully about where you want to put it
This is easy for me to say, because I do eventually plan to cover the majority of my body. For the moment, 
the bulk of my tattoos are currently on my legs meaning they don't effect my lifestyle at all and if I had a job that was restricting around tattoos, I could hide them. As unfortunate as it is that tattoos still affect things like this, some career paths are stricter than others, so if you have your heart set on one of those jobs, please do consider it carefully.

3. Finding the right artist for you

There are a lot of ways you can find tattoo artists now, including via social media, word of mouth or even simply just going and looking around some studios and chatting to them. I think one of the most important things is to make sure the artist you're going to is right for you. So I would absolutely recommend chatting with them, asking questions and emailing them with your ideas if you want to (obviously don't bombard them though, they're likely to be busy!) - it'll help let you know if you're on the same page with your ideas and also be a little way to break the ice if you're nervous about it.

4. Don't be afraid to suggest changes!

Even if the artist has a clear picture in their mind of how they think the tattoo should look, ultimately it's up to you to make the decisions as it's going to be on your skin. If, once you see the drawn up design, there's something you don't like about it - tell them. It's better for them to change a little detail than for you to have it on your skin and regret not saying anything. Similarly with colours and placement, while I'd expect any respectable artist to give their best opinions, it's your body they're permanently marking. Make sure you're happy with everything before just agreeing. The artist will be more than happy to help.

5. Don't avoid getting it where you want it just because of the pain

Over the years, I've heard a lot of people saying "I'm not getting it in x place because it'll hurt". It will hurt, they're right. Honestly, that's kind of inevitable. You're going to have tiny needles poking into your skin, so yes it will hurt. But that doesn't depend entirely on the place, it depends on the person. Some people are more prone to feeling pain in certain places than others. Some people may think that tattoos on their feet is the most excruciating pain, where others might think that over the ribs stings more. Each individual person will feel it differently depending on their threshold. If you want the tattoo on your stomach, get it on your stomach. Don't put it somewhere else because it could still end up hurting just as bad, you never know.

6. Tattoo artists aren't scary and they won't laugh at you

This one is kind of self explanatory. Whether you want to sit there in silence or chat away to your artist, they more than likely won't mind. Like I mentioned above, tattoo's are going to hurt, so don't worry about your reactions or having to take a break - it's natural and your artist will know/understand that. They see all kinds of people every day, trust me they're used to it! All you have to do is stay calm, relax and try to enjoy the experience of getting your first tattoo.

7. Honestly, just do it. Try not to overthink it and just do what you want to! If you want a couple of really cute, dainty tattoos that you can hide, you do that. If you want to have a full sleeve and a chest piece and you've thoroughly thought about the consequences (eg, with your job/career) that's cool too. 

At the end of the day, it's your body. Don't worry about what other people think of you. If you're confident and happy in the end - that's what matters!

Have you got any tattoos yet, or planning any? Leave me your tips and tricks for others in the comments, maybe you'll think of some I left out.


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