It is a common rite of passage for a tattoo apprentice to tattoo themselves first before tattooing any other people. After working on grapefruits and melons for a few months my mentor decided it was time for me to move on. Excited to finally tattoo a person I considered a few simple designs to do on myself before realizing it was the perfect time to get a Bikini Kill tattoo. The record player is an easy design for a tattoo because it already has a ‘less than perfect’ look to it and I knew my first tattoo wasn’t going to be perfect. Within minutes I had wiped half the stencil away because I didn’t let it dry long enough and I was struggling to figure out what went where. My mentor instructed me to do whole thing with a liner which meant I used the same needle to outline and to fill in so it took forever and had unfilled spots all over. Yet, when I finished that tattoo I was beaming that I had taken my first real step into the tattoo world and I had done my first real tattoo of a band that introduced me into riot grrl, feminism, and anarchy when I was just 16. Of all the great work I have on me from talented artists that tattoo makes me the happiest because it’s the most real to me. In my eyes the experience and meaning of a tattoo can often overshadow how the tattoo comes out in the end. Even though I have come leaps and bounds in my apprenticeship from that first tattoo I’ll never touch it up to make it look any better than it is right now and I sure as hell won’t cover it up. It’s a reminder not to forget my roots. Bikini Kill is alive and well in my heart and mind forever and you can’t kill what’s fucking real.