I have been seeing a steady stream of articles and blog posts about tattoos lately, and I decided that it was time to write my own. Mostly because unlike the majority of the authors ~ I actually have tattoos.
Tattoos were always one of those little evil things I wanted growing up. I found them erotic and interesting, but even at an early age I realized that they were a forever statement.
When I was eight, I remember standing in line at the grocery store with my mother. I saw a little yellow bird poked out from the corner of a woman’s blouse on her shoulder. The woman smelled of cigarettes and her worn blue shirt hung loosely on her body. I remember being repulsed and yet, intrigued. Neither one of my parents have tattoos.
My first statement of rebellion came in the form of a nose ring. After begging my father to allow me to pierce it and having my step-mother take me ~ I became endowed with a new addition to my face.
Since I went to a small town high school, my nose ring caused quite the stir. All of a sudden I was feared. A few of my friend’s parents became weary that my new silver piece of jewelry might rub off on their precious, innocent children. I was elated. There was no one else with a nose ring at my school. I was unique.
The day I turned 18, I went to get my first tattoo. I had thought about it for years, and carefully designed the beautiful butterfly I would have stenciled on my lower back. This was before the “every girl in America has a butterfly tattoo” craze and so I didn’t think twice. Butterflies always represented freedom and independence to me. They rarely stay in one place and jump from flower to flower. I was the same.
It wasn’t painful, but it was addicting. I remember positioning myself in front of my mirror, turned around trying to get the full view of what it looked like ~ my new body art.
My mother freaked out when she saw it, but then commented on its colorful display. By that time she had been showered down by my piercings, and had become accustomed to my many additions. It was a little disappointing.
Over time I collected more. I have five in total and don’t plan on getting anymore in the future.
I have a Chinese character on the back of my neck that stands for, “inner strength” and yes, I looked it up in a dictionary ~ no random choices for me. I have another character on my left ankle which stands for, “companion.”
Years ago, an ex-boyfriend and I decided (while on vacation celebrating an anniversary) to get matching tattoos. His initial choice was, “soul-mate,” but I declined and chose, “companion.” It signified a Johnny Cash song that he sang to me often, and also stood for a sort of generality that I knew wouldn’t haunt me forever. I would certainly be the “companion” of someone eventually.
The next tattoo I received was in Costa Rica while traveling. It took me a long time to find a place that did tattoos, but I found one in Heredia the last week I was living there. In Spanish it says, “Libre” which means free. I had been wanting this one for some time, but had decided to wait and have it done in Costa Rica.
It is inscribed on my right wrist, and sadly, is often mistaken for, “Libra,” which I am certainly not. I had not thought about the comparison before having it done. After I got the tattoo, I was inundated with dreams about wars and having my right hand cut off at the wrist because of what it stood for. I don’t have those dreams anymore.
My final tattoo is on my left forearm. It says, “Fe” which means faith in Spanish, and has the number 3 curled up in the cursive print. It’s a beautiful tattoo that I designed while living in Panama with my boyfriend during that time. We were heavily in love and because the majority of our relationship had been spent long-distance, “faith” had been the foundation of our success. The number 3 signified many different events throughout our relationship and was the date of the day we had met.
When I designed the tattoo, I once again knew of life’s changing cycles and I felt comfortable with both the 3 and, “Fe.” The number 3 has always been my number, and faith will always be at the core of who I am. I knew that no matter what happened I would relate to their meanings.
So after my explanation of all things ink on my body, I have this to say ~ I do not regret the tattoos I have gotten because they represent aspects of myself and mark important events in my life. I understand that tattoos are not always viewed as the wisest decisions, but they are a part of who I am and will always be.
I could never imagine working for someone or some company that would judge me based on my tattoos. The judgment itself would be enough for me to know that I don’t belong with the person or working for that company.
I know many adults and older people who are getting tattoos these days. The names of their children, family members and other significant symbols are often what they choose. A wife of one of my professors who is 71 got a tattoo on her wrist last year and made quite the commotion amongst the scholarly bunch.
A tattoo is a tattoo, and nothing more. If thought and meaning are sewn into their creation then they can be pieces of art that will always carry value. Choose wisely and carefully ~ would be my only advice.
I would love to hear what others have to say about tattoos. Do you have any tattoos? Or are you for or against them?