Tattoos evoke a cluster of emotions for people: Love, hate, indifference, curiosity. I’ve been fortunate to experience only positive reactions to both of mine. I got one of my tattoos in April 2015 and the other in June 2015. Both came with a great deal of thought and carry deep and important meanings. If these pieces could talk, they would tell you a story.
My first tattoo came while I was in the midst of winding down pharmaceutical treatment for depression. It was a way of acknowledging pain while actually being able to feel pain, since for over two years I couldn’t feel anything at all. Putting permanent artwork on my body is not something I did lightly or without consult – namely my sister’s consult. She gets to deal with a lot of my decision-making anxiety and was with me during my first tattoo.
My first tattoo was a way to pay reverence to my body for the struggle we just went through. Additionally, I created a constant visual reminder for myself. I’m a person who can quickly lose her grasp and think of the entire mountain rather then just the part I have to climb today, so a visual reminder is helpful.
We don’t have the luxury of picking what our bodies look like, and the majority of you is genetically chosen. But, tattoos are something you get to choose. I got to decide what they were going to be and where they were going to be. I can’t do much about my height, or my eye color but artwork is all my own choice. I can look down at my leg and see these two pieces that I love. These are parts of my body that I cannot hate.
Tattoos don’t have to mean anything in particular. A tattoo can just be a tattoo, something you wanted to make your body more complete. We often tend to be hung up on the significance or the meaning. A tattoo can just be something you choose to put on your body because it makes you feel more complete or connected.
Permanent body art can be a powerful, rewarding and meaningful life decision. It can be artwork that is important to you, or it can just be art that you love. Meaningful is not mandatory. Inspiration can come from anywhere and the right artist will help you create something that is unique, that you will love through your life. A good artist is mandatory, and you should ALWAYS take their advice—they know which spots age well, and why a design would look better here rather than there. Be present during the appointment. Remember, you’re getting something you love put on something you love: Your body.
I love my ink and, although I can’t see it unless I’m sans pants, when I do see my wave and my rose I reminded of how much I love them, and of course, I’m reminded of the stories, the trials and the people that got them there.