19 People Share The Story Behind Their First Tattoo

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
You always remember your first tattoo — whether it's something you planned for months, years, or even just a few minutes. Making the decision to get inked can be emotional, thrilling, and might even signify an important event, relationship, or life stage. Or it can be purely aesthetic with no sentimental value — it's up to you.
We talked to 19 people who made the jump from bare skin to getting inked for the very first time. There are stories of love, hardship, faith, rebellion — and even a few inside jokes. Read their personal stories, ahead, and then share your own experience in the comments below.
*Entries have been edited for clarity