My First Tattoo: 43 Year Old Good Girl Goes Rebel

Off BeatSelf Improvement 9 Comments

By Cynthia Hornig – I am not sure why, but I have always been fascinated with tattoos and have wanted one for as long as I can remember. When I was a teen and into my twenties, I could have been classified as a sort of secret rebel wannabe – a wannabe because the repercussions of being a true rebel scared me enough to keep me in line. I have also always held an immense amount of respect for my parents, which clearly made me much more of “a good girl” rather than the “rebel without a cause” I really wanted to be.

Although not considered that rebellious today, when I was a teen, tattoos were taboo. I had told myself that if I still wanted a tattoo at 21, I would do it. As good as it sounded then, time kept passing by, and I was just never able to muster up the courage to follow through… that is, until now! At 43, I have finally gotten my first tattoo!

My tattoo inspirationIn retrospect, I don’t know why I waited so long. It’s probably a combination of things – not knowing what image I would want that I could live with for the rest of my life, an utter hatred of pain, and if I’m being totally honest – the fear of my mother. Yes, at 43-years old I still look to my mom for her approval – the perennial good girl I guess.

Although none of these things have changed, I have changed. I have finally learned to embrace the fact that you can spend your entire life thinking about something, or you can go and just do it, fears and all. It took me a long time to find my “true self”, which I attribute in some part to the recent death of my father, but that’s a story for another day.

Yesterday, I did something completely and totally for myself and myself alone. Those that know me know it’s a pretty rare occasion. So yes, I’m sure my mom will be colossally pissed off and likely be really disappointed with me, but she’ll get over it and I will get over it too.

Knowing that I was fully and totally true to myself, gives the tattoo an even deeper meaning for me than I thought it would. It also now serves as a reminder to grab life, take calculated risks and that a little rebellion can be a good thing.

Special thanks to Jen, my business partner and friend, for accompanying me and documenting the moment, and to my kick-ass tattoo artist Stephanie Tamez at Saved Tattoo, for being patient, kind and more talented than one person should ever be!

Tattoo Talk

Stephanie drawing

Tattoo placement



Completed tattoo

Bear hug

My first tattoo

Cynthia Hornig is Co-Founder & Editorial Director of Women You Should Know.

  • Cheryl Laughlin

    Ooohhhhhhh! So amazing. Courageous and gorgeous. Everyone has a tiny bit of Riot Grrrl in them and looks like you channeled yours! Now, I wish I was that brave…

  • Rachel

    Awesome tat! I have always wanted to get my nose pierced but thought I had passed the age for that. This might inspire me to take the next step…

  • LSL

    Way to go, girl!!!! I love that this has so much meaning for you and that you were brave enough to go under the needle. Life is too short to not take a few chances. Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

  • Elisa

    Congrats it’s fabulous! I love the custom design. We all need to live with a little bit of rebel in us!

  • AJ

    Way to go!! Love the design. Very simple and elegant. It’s wonderful that you had the guts to do it!! Just don’t talk your business partner into it!!!

  • gargouille

    Beautiful! She has significance beyond her charm, I imagine. What is it?

  • Cynthia’s Mom

    Does a mother have to be supportive of everything a child does?

  • K.West

    I got my first tattoo at 42. I’ve always wanted one and I finally did it. I put my kids first initial on each wrist. I LOVE it! I also got it to find peoples true character- If they don’t like me because I have tattoos, they were never meant to be in my life!
    Good for you Cynthia!!

  • Norma

    I’m so happy for you Cynthia! It’s beautiful! Congrats!
    Thought you’d enjoy knowing my friend’s mom got her first tattoo in her 70’s!!!! She went with her daughter, who was getting her second one. She had the artist tattoo 3 baby blocks (you know those old fashioned wooden blocks with a number or letter on each side)–each one with the initial of each grandchild. The boys blocks were in green, the girls in lavender (her favorite colors). Ain’t that amazing?!!!