Tatted Otters: Kristen Finley

Getting tattoos of animals is rather common, but that does not make them any less beautiful. Fourth-year Kristen Finley has one tattoo.

“I got it on my 18th birthday,” Finley said. “I have a humpback whale on my right leg, just above my ankle. He’s swimming and happy. I named him Hubert.”

As Finely grew up, she was surrounded by people with tattoos. Multiple members of her family have tattoos, so she grew a love for them early on.

“My mom and my older sister both have a lot of tattoos,” Finley said. “My mom had about seven and my older sister has 17 currently. My dad also has a couple, so I grew up thinking they were really cool. I loved the idea of having art with me wherever I went.”

Finley’s tattoo has a deep meaning to her, going back to her childhood.

“My childhood wasn’t the greatest. I grew up in a very dangerous neighborhood, and wasn’t allowed to play outside that often. One of the ways to make life easier was watching documentaries about humpback whales on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic,” Finley said. “They always made me so happy, how they’re so large yet so gentle and intelligent. The more I learn about them, the more I love them. And therefore, feel more justified in my choice of tattoo.”

While it’s exciting to get a tattoo, it can still be a bit nerve-wracking. You don’t know exactly what to expect and the anxieties of getting a tattoo are surely amplified for people who don’t like needles.

“[It was] a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, actually. I do have a fairly low tolerance for pain and a very serious phobia of needles, so I went in thinking it was going to be horrible, but worth the end result. I came out of it thinking it really wasn’t that bad,” Finley said.

That being said, Finley isn’t done getting tattoos yet. She has one more future tattoo planned at the moment.

“My friend drew me a little Fiat 500 as a surprise and I’m saving up to get it on my left arm, near the inside of my elbow,” Finley said. “She’s a very talented artist and a very dear friend, so I figured it would be a great way to honor her.”

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