So I decided that it would be ok to skip a size when stretching my ears. I’ve had the 12g plugs in for a while and my ears were completely healed. So I went and put in an 8g. Never again. My lobes are sore as fuck. But at least I’m not stupid enough to force it in and get a blow-out. So I guess I’ll just put the 12g back in and go buy a 10g sometime soon.
Apprenticeships can always be had if you consistently go to the same shop, make friends with the artists, fit in, build a relationship and respectfully approach the issue. Tattooing outside of the guidance of a good artist (even if you're just tattooing fruit) can only hurt your chances. Nobody likes scratchers, and you're only learning bad habits that the teacher will have to break you of.