The Girl with the Lightning Tattoo

I’ve been silent here lately so I thought I’d blog about my big life decision! Brace yourselves…

Instead of playing Horizon Zero Dawn or Breath of the Wild, I’ve spent a shameful amount of time today proudly gawking at my arm in the bathroom mirror. You see something that kind of hurt a bit, but was so totally worth it, happened to my once boring upper left arm yesterday. After years of wanting, months of planning, and 6 hours in a tattoo chair, the awesome start to Ellen’s very first tattoo happened. I’ll let the picture say how the first session turned out:

Now the IRL world will also know I’m a loser who loves the Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy 🙂

Oh. My. God. I was originally planning on keeping this a secret from most people, but I can’t help but share it everywhere since I’m so damn excited! Words cannot describe how pleased I am with how this part turned out. I have to give credit where credit is due – The artist is named Amber Thorpe, and she owns Adept Tattoos here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I can’t recommend her enough if you’re ever in the area! She actually took the time to research Final Fantasy XIII in order to come up with an amazing design idea. During the session she went to town on this highly detailed piece, nonstop like a true champion. The badass Lightning part is done but there is about 3 hours of work left to do. This is going to be a half sleeve complete with background lightning bolts, a L’Cie brand, and my favourite inspiring Lightning quote. The hard part will be waiting the several weeks for the next appointment. Oh and the whole healing process thing… ouch.

This decision to get my arm perma-inked did not come lightly. Though my mask of indifference was effortlessly maintained, I’ve been an internal nervous wreck these past few weeks thinking about yesterday’s big life decision. I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was a teenager, but the consequences of getting one have always weighed heavy on my mind. It took me a while to sort through my logical apprehensions before my heart allowed me to take the plunge.

What if it hurts too much?

This was probably the scariest part for me. Needles breaking apart the first layer of my skin to insert ink dots sounded like it could potentially be painful. There was no way to know how this would feel until it actually happened. As soon as that needle hit my skin for the first time, a wave of relief washed over me. It’s not comfortable at all, but the pain was very minor compared to what I was fearing. If the sun’s burning UV rays beating down on you had tiny cat claws, this is what a tattoo feels like. Some spots hurt much more than others, but it was relatively easy to sit through. The whole tattooed area was starting to sting like a bitch in the final minutes, but I got through it.


It’s the day after and my arm is kind of sore, but it mostly feels like I have a big sunburn. I’ve read that the upcoming “itchy phase” is the worst part. Something to look forward to I guess.

What if I hate it?

Tattoos are forever so you better make damn sure you get something you can live with. I think that picking the right artist is a very critical part of the process. I researched local tattoo shops relentlessly before I went with my choice. You truly do get what you pay for. It is more than worth the investment to make sure you have a talented pair of hands operating a properly sterilized needle gun.


The actual tattoo design is pretty freaking important too. I’ve wanted the cranky L’Cie on my arm ever since I beat the original FFXIII. I’ve mulled over the idea for several years and I still wanted a FFXIII related tattoo as badly as I did then. Unless Square Enix ruins her character with a FFXIII-4, it’s a safe bet Lightning will always be very special to me so she seemed like the perfect subject. Long story short, she’s my symbol of hope and strength against the undertow of the world’s depressing chaos.

Will other humans judge me?

Tattoos are pretty mainstream these days, but this part still worries me a bit. Ultimately, it’s my arm and I can have whatever I want permanently marked on it. However, people will judge you for almost everything. I don’t care if the odd stranger at the grocery store thinks I’m “trouble” because I’m sporting a badass lady tat. I am a bit concerned how it will impact me at work. I work in a corporate office setting with no corporate policy on tattoos. I have noticed some of my coworkers have cool ink on their arms, but it’s a safe bet a few “water cooler” conversations behind my back will occur once they notice my new ink. I will sense this happening and feel embarrassed, but I can live with that.


I also had the fun “So I decided to get a tattoo” conversation with my 71 year-old mom over the phone (ugh) this afternoon. She seemed okay with it, but I could tell from her tone a part of her was deeply concerned for my well being. Her and my dad are likely fretting over what biker gang I decided to join right now. They should be completely cool with it eventually though. I’ll be seeing them for the May long weekend so I’m hoping they will appreciate my awesome life choice more in person.

The First Public Outing

As a fun little social experiment, I decided to venture out into the cruel world with my tattoo exposed this morning to see people’s reactions. My first stop was the Tim Hortons drive thru, because I’m Canadian and desperately needed precious coffee. As soon as I paid the friendly lady in the window, her jaw dropped in amazement when she saw my arm. The conversation that followed was very entertaining for me:

Drive Thru Lady – “Hey! That’s the girl from Final Fantasy or something, isn’t it? That looks so good!! It’s 15 right?” *hands me desperately needed caffeinated beverage*

Me – *internal facepalm* “It’s 13 actually, but thank you! I just got my tattoo yesterday. Have a nice day!” *slowly drives away as lady keeps staring at my arm*


My next stop was EB Games because I decided to cave in and buy a damn Pro Controller for my Switch (well played Nintendo). As I waited in line, a dude nonchalantly approached the merchandise rack next to me and pretended to be interested in Legend of Zelda themed socks. I could tell he was eyeing my arm. The employee behind the counter showed no reaction at all. He’s probably accustomed to seeing badass video game themed tattoos on his customers. That was more than enough social interaction for one day, so back to my gamer cave’s bathroom mirror I went. Actually, I kind of wish I would have picked up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe while I was there. Oh well!

So what do you think internet? Have I ruined my poor arm or made it much more awesome? I’d definitely love to read any tattoo related opinions out there.

51 thoughts on “The Girl with the Lightning Tattoo

  1. Glad you got something you enjoyed. I don’t think most people care about tattoos anymore since the days of the “Only pretend hardcore bikers you see getting beat up in B-movies get tattoos!” stereotype are over. That said, there are certain professions where they look down on them. I had a retail sales job where they wouldn’t refuse to give people with ink a job. They always looked at the qualifications. But they also insisted Tattoos didn’t fit the dress code, so people with tattoos were told to cover them up . If you had a tattoo on your back, your polo shirt was covering it anyway. But if you had a sleeve, Summertime was going to be a bitch, because you had to wear a long sleeve shirt on the sales floor. We had an AC, but there were a few times it broke, and my coworkers with tattoos sweat their arms off in 80 degree weather. So I would only say take that into consideration if looking at corporate owned jobs be they retail, or professional office jobs. On the other hand, if you have to wear a suit all day anyway in 80 degree weather/sweaty cubicle/office it’s going to suck anyway.

    I have a really good friend who knows a ton about tattoos. She worked in a parlor for a while, and she would back up your point about “You get what you pay for” 1,000 %. It appears you found a really good artist, who understands foreshortening, and perspective. As well as inking, shading, lighting, all of the hallmarks of a good artist. I’m too squeamish to go get a tattoo myself. But I’m always fascinated by the talent that goes into it. So I’m equally fascinated by people who would spend $50 on something they’re going to spend $1500 to remove when they finally stop lying to themselves. “DUDE! This Orko tattoo is sweet!…” “But his coat’s position doesn’t match the shad-” “SHUT UP! IT’S GOOD!” “But the lines on his ears, and fingers aren’t even, and it’s the wrong shade of blue….” “SHUT UP! IT’S GOOD!” *Guy walks by with a BAD ASS Orko on his bicep he obviously spent $400 or more on* “Man… this Orko sucks.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Tattoos seem to be much more acceptable these days, which helped me finally decide to go for it. I can see how front line sales jobs would be more restrictive since you are the company’s public face. I don’t think my work will care too much (the dress code is business casual but I couldn’t find any info on tattoos). I always find the AC is up too high in my office so I have no issues wearing a sweater all day if it is a problem. I’ll find out what my verdict is tomorrow I guess, haha.

      I found the hardest decision was choosing the right person for the job and I’m glad I looked into it a lot. I was truly astonished at how professional my artist was! She had 6 different needles, a wide array of paints she was mixing on the fly, and she followed proper hygiene standards to the letter. I can barely draw a stick figure on paper. I can’t imagine how hard it is to create a masterpiece on someone’s skin. It definitely takes a gifted person to be a great tattoo artist!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That tattoo is sick. As long as you love it, then don’t listen to the critics. They probably don’t know the joy you had in the game. It really looks good.
    What I fear is not the pain or people’s judgement, but the fear of hating it. But that doesn’t matter any more, if you ever gonna hate it, it will probably be after ages, and by then removing tattoos will be way easier than it’s now.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your encouraging words 🙂 It actually took me a while before I was brave enough to admit I loved the FFXIII Trilogy online, haha. I’ve seen so many angry trolls who hate it with passion.

      I’m still excited and love my tattoo but you are correct – there will likely be advances in tattoo removal technology in the future. It gives hope to those unfortunate souls who have ended up with a bad tattoo.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome – looks good! Next up, I dares you to get a Wario one on the other arm. Or how about a Mario one which says “It’s a me, NOT Mario”! Proper L oh L time. Orrr you could get one of those Korok guys from Breath of the Wild when you drop a rock back on its head: “Ungh!” or something. Hey, these are my ideas. Feel free to just go ahead and pick Wario.

    I picked up Deluxe, by the way. Totally worth it. I’ve been effing and blinding in online play mode already. Goddamn cheating SOB opponents and blue shells. NOOBS!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Very cool! I’ve always thought about getting a tattoo, but I haven’t found something I wanted permanently stamped on my body, yet, so I’ll live vicariously through you haha.

    And regarding work – I work with kids so the company policy is generally “if you have a tattoo it must be covered,” so even if the office doesn’t “like” it, they won’t fire you over it. If you love it, nothing else matters. It will all fall into place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve always thought they looked awesome. It’s now two days after and I have zero regrets. I actually feel more confident and empowered now, which is a pleasantly unexpected result! 🙂 I know it’s so hard to choose something permanent! Anything from Dragon Age or Mass Effect seems like it would make a great tattoo design though. 🙂

      I can see how that would be a requirement for working with the little ones. I couldn’t find any company polices on tattoos for my workplace so I’m just assuming appropriate ones would be okay to show off. I’ll find out tomorrow I guess. Showing off my new ink will at least make boring Monday more interesting for everyone, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It looks fantastic so far! I’ll also point out that sitting 6 hours for your FIRST tattoo makes you a bad ass. The longest I’ve sat so far was 4 hours and the tattoo artist said I was a champion for not complaining. As the motto goes, “Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good!”
    I can verify that as I have a couple tattoos that I need to have redone or covered by someone good. Opposite of you I was completely impulsive with my first tattoos which I regret.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! 😀 I was highly praised for being a shockingly easy canvas to work on for that long. They even knocked a few hours off the expected time total since I wasn’t a whiner, lol.

      I had the urge to be impulsive with the cool tattoos in my early twenties. I’m so glad I didn’t go through with it then!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Luckily I’m pretty laid back (even about having crappy tattoos), it’s on my list of things to work on once we’re done house buying. One of my customers at the pharmacy is a tattoo artist who recently fixed my husband’s WoW tattoo, so I’m sure we’ll be visiting him more often. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it’s the perfect excuse to punch people who bad-mouth your girl, and hey, you could do it with your Lightning arm! I didn’t want to say TOO much about the pain, because it’s different for everyone, and my description could’ve made it worse. It’s one of those things that you experience for yourself, but it is totally like a cat scratch or (what I hear) a sunburn feels like.

    When it itches (and it will, extensively), smack it lol. Like literally, smack the itchy spots. It helps. I once woke myself up scratching in my sleep, but thankfully the tat was healed enough that it didn’t matter. You’ll also see some ink coming off when the dead skin sheds, but that’s totally normal.

    I can’t wait to see it when it’s completed! I’m going for my next one on May 13. May is already turning into a busy month o.O

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your idea! I’ll have to work on my left arm “Snow punch” ability 🙂 I guess people have different pain tolerances too. I’m guessing everyone will get a varied experince from the tattooing process.

      Thanks for the wise advice! I would have freaked out when I saw ink coming off, haha. I’m super paranoid now that it’s scabbing lightly and a bit flaky. I’ve been told that’s normal and to NOT pick at it. I’m treating my arm like it’s made of glass in fear of damaging the beautiful masterpiece on it.

      I will definitely show you the final result! You were actually the second person I showed it off to on Friday. Then I decided it was too awesome to keep quiet so I started sharing it EVERYWHERE. I’ll try to tone down my excitement now, but I feel so confident. 😀 I wasn’t expecting that fantastic side effect, haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s an excuse to work out your left arm! I was playing catch yesterday with my husband, and I decided to try to use my left hand just in case. Plus, it would be nice to emulate my favorite left handed swordsman ♥

        There is very much a pain tolerance differential, though I used to laugh at my boss, because she didn’t know how she managed to live through getting a tattoo, but she’d had two kids lol. I’d imagine childbirth hurts a hell of a lot more than a tattoo. Nearly every tattoo artist I’ve talked to has told me women tend to handle the pain better than men. My current artist has said the people who are most likely to not be able to handle it are the muscle head dudes. I’ve heard similar from phlebotomists who draw blood and nurses hehe.

        Yup! It’s gonna get flaky just like a sun burn. They’re very similar though I’d think tattoos have a much lower threat of cancer. When the itching gets too unbearable, slapping it will help. I think ice is good, too. My artist always recommended Lubriderm, because it’s actually NOT great at moisturizing your skin, and you apparently don’t want to over-saturate the tattoo. Oh I just remembered…I need to ask my manager about the companies policy on piercings, because I really want to get a lip one hehe. If I can’t get that, I might get my nose pierced.

        Yay! I can’t wait to see the rest of it! I’m uber excited for May 13 when I get my next one, and I’m going to a party afterwards so I can show it off :p I’m not surprised you shared it everywhere for that very reason. New ink is excited especially when it’s your first. You are gonna become an addict 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have no experience in that area, but I agree that having kids seems like it would be infinitely more painful than getting a tattoo, lol. My Combat Hapkido instructor has taught that muscle head dudes have buffed up so much that their pressure points are more exposed (the fat layers provide a barrier that lessens pain). Not only does this make tattoos more painful for them, it also means I can make them drop to the ground crying for mercy very easily *evil laugh*

          It looks like my tattoo is a snake shedding skin now and I was still slightly horrified when I saw ink coming off, lol. I heard that clogging the pores with too much moisturizer hinders the skin’s ability to heal. Oh and itchy is starting to show up *smacks arm* You are a much braver woman than I am. I think piercings look cool, but I’m terrified to get any (my ears aren’t even)

          I always say the 13th of any month is lucky to me 🙂 I hope you have fun showing off that sweet new ink afterward. I already want more tattoos and I’m seriously considering turning my Lightning arm into full sleeve for the whole trilogy (like the artist suggested since she agrees that Lightning is a beautiful badass 🙂 )

          Liked by 2 people

          1. That…makes so much sense. The fat layer lessening pain. When I got my ankh tattoo (the first one), it’s on left boob, but the top of it was more over bone, and that hurt so much more than the lower part. The wrist tats hurt, too, because there’s a ton of nerve endings there, and the Tree of Life on my right arm wasn’t a walk in the park either since the forearm has a bunch of tendons. My ankle tattoo wasn’t too bad because I have some nerve damage there due to a laser procedure (it sounds way cooler than it really is lol), and it’s why I decided to get it on that ankle, because I couldn’t really feel anything #cheating.

            You should make them beg you for mercy mwahahaha.

            That sounds about accurate for a tattoo by this point! I had my ears first pierced when I was six months old? I don’t even remember it, but it was back when the pediatrician would do it. Then when I went to college, I was young and foolish and got my cartilage done at one of those mall kiosks, which you should NEVER do, because they use a gun, which can, um, shatter your cartilage. At one point I had nine piercings in my ears, but I let the second and third holes close up, because the gun piercing actually messed those up. I do still have my tragus pierced (that little thing over the ear hole), but I haven’t even worn earrings in my first piercings for a really long time. I’m, er, well I like the princess and the pea lol. It has to be either silver or gold posts otherwise I break out so badly. My skin is super sensitive, and even wearing non-sterling silver or not gold will turn my finger green. I think I”m allergic to nickel.

            Hm, I wonder why the 13th is lucky for you :p I feel that way about the 7th, especially 7/7. If I could’ve gotten married on 7/7/07 that would’ve been fantastic!

            You should get a full sleeve! That would be brilliant 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. We learn all kinds of cool stuff like that in my Combat Hapkido class 😀 It’s definitely my favourite martial art discipline since it focuses on practical things you would need to know in a real life situation. I find Karate & the others ones are all about showy kicks and stuff I can’t do, haha. “Laser procedure” does sound really cool!

              Just thinking about having anything pierced on me makes me cringe for some odd reason (but having ink injected into my skin is no big deal, lol). Power to you though! That does sound like you might be allergic to nickle. Having a green finger would scare the hell out of me.

              That would have been the perfect wedding date for you! The 7th is a pretty amazing day too. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  7. This. is. AMAZING! I love it! Lightning is now forever etched on your arm, and I couldn’t have thought of a more perfect fit for you! The art looks stunning, and it looks so great on you! Great article in general, explaining tattoos. Though I don’t think I could ever get one myself, I know how much it means to anyone who gets a tattoo, whether it’s one or many. I love the reactions you’ve been getting! Wear it proud Ellen! And even more appropriately Lightning Ellen! So cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 😀 It’s hard to explain, but I feel much more confident now in real life. Lightning is my source of hope when things bring me down. Now that she’s on my arm it feels like she’s always got my back, haha.

      If you ever do decide to get a tattoo, I think a panda themed one would look so awesome 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so awesome! Lightning always has your back (and your arm!). I’m glad she gives you confidence, and I hope that you’re also confident in yourself, because you’re an amazing person whom I’m glad to know! 🙂 Hope you get to keep showing people your fun tat! I don’t think I’m ever getting one, but I do agree that if I did, it would probably be something related to pandas… or my wife, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you very much for the encouraging words! 😀 I really appreciate your nice comments and I am honored to have met you here on this wonderful WordPress community.

          You and you wife could get matching panda tattoos, if you wanted. That would be so awesome, haha.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks like a great start! Definitely include updates as it progresses. And yea I think younger people are definitely fine with tattoos but perhaps older folks still associate it with bikers or greasers or some other outdated thing. Looks awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, I have no tattoo experience myself, but I can definitely say that yours looks like it came out great. I’m impressed with how realistic it looks since I’m used to seeing ones that look like the $90 dollar Joker outside. It certainly is worth making the investment for a more expensive option if the quality difference is so drastic like that. I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t very painful either. It definitely sounds intense in theory. (Lasers blasting away at you? Now you’re really in a video game!)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Congrats on your very awesome ink! I have a small tat on my back that no one will ever see but I have been considering more for years and years. Seeing this makes me want to do it. I’m so glad you went with your heart because it looks incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One of the irrational things that drives me a bit batty is people getting tattoos without doing their research into it, but all of yours looks like it paid off. That is a fantastic level of detail in your tattoo. You can definitely tell the care the artist put into it. Glad you’re happy with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my god, your tattoo looks so amazing! I cannot wait to see the finished product!! 🙂 As you’ve seen in one of my previous posts, my first tattoo I ever got was of Kirby. I got it when I was 18 and do not regret it one bit, because like you with Lightning, I know he’ll always hold a special place in my heart! My mom thought I was nuts when I got it done, but she’s come to appreciate my body art haha! I have 10 tattoos currently and there are always more I want to get 🙂 And if someone judges you for it, just keep on walking! Haters aren’t worth a second thought. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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