Two weeks ago I got my first tattoo, I am so excited to get it done that the only thing I’m slightly nervous about is the possibility of not being able to find the shop and missing the appointment altogether. Indeed my carer and I were lost for a little while but we managed to find the place on time. Upon arrival, we discover there is a small step into the tattoo parlor even though I specifically asked for wheelchair access. Apparently the tattoo artist doesn’t realise “accessible” means no steps at all, whatsoever. Luckily I always carry a portable ramp in the car, if I didn’t have it packed I would’ve been absolutely devastated with a numbed up arm. Funny.
So after going back to grab the ramp, I eventually wheel inside and the tattooist sets up ready to begin. I’m relieved it doesn’t hurt one bit, probably thanks to the numbing cream. I only feel the vibration of the needle on my arm. I’m more worried about moving my arm and accidentally punching the tattoo artist in the face or having my tattoo look like the map of Tasmania rather than the needle hurting. In half an hour I have a praying mantis inked on my arm and I feel ecstatic.
This post fits into two different categories of this blog. Firstly, the ongoing issue of accessibility. I want to potentially create more awareness about what really is accessibility and what does it mean to not be able to enter a local business or event. I can tell you now that for me accessibility does not mean a single step into the shop, no matter how open and flat the rest of the shop is. This is a humiliating and devastating feeling. It also seems as if society doesn’t understand how someone like me would want to go into a local shop and be a part of the community, especially a tattoo parlor or nightclub. Fellow human beings, how would you feel if this was you?
Lastly, I wanted to write the first paragraph about the fear of accidentally moving my arm while I was getting tattooed to give a little insight into what living with cerebral palsy is like for me. There’s honestly a never dull moment.