If you were to get a tattoo, what would you get?
It’s the question we all ask and the question we all get asked. Let’s face it, getting a tattoo is not for the queasy or faint of heart. First there’s the expense, then the pain, then the upkeep of the healing process. Nevertheless, some still decide to come face to face with the needle during a night out with friends in an act of impulse or on a dare. Others spend months planning out their perfect tattoo.
Whatever the case may be, a tattoo is meant to stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s a permanent form of self-expression. When I started to think of tattoos in this way, more and more questions started to trickle through my mind like, “How do you decide what gets permanently placed on your body?” or “What parts of you do you choose to express through a tattoo and why?” In light of this, I became curious as to why people chose to get the tattoos they have. I decided to reach out to my fellow peers and ask them why they chose the tattoo they did, if it was worth it and what meaning it held for them.
1. Jabby: “;Pain demands to be felt”
Inked by: A freelance tattoo artist
“After my mom passed away from cancer in 2015, I lost all feeling and felt really numb for a while. When all of the feelings and realizations finally hit me, I was completely overwhelmed and felt like I was losing my mind. I got the tattoo as both a reminder that life goes on, and I have to feel things when they come rather than putting them off. To feel pain when it demands to be felt. The quote is also from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
2. Nicholas: A halo on the inside of the middle finger.
Inked at: Crossbones Tattoo in Kent Island, Maryland
“Finger tattoos are always sensitive because there’s not a lot of fat to prevent the pain, but it was worth it. My best friend and I always talked about getting a matching tattoo. We decided on a halo because 'Halo' by Beyonce was a song we always blasted in the car while driving together. It was a song that became a tradition, and then it was immortalized on our hands; a part of our bodies we use every day to be reminded of each other when we see the halo.”
3. Savannah: “A belief is only a thought I keep thinking”
Inked at: Sacred Body – A tattoo gallery in Enfield, Connecticut
“This quote actually changed my life. When I started living in the mindset that 'A belief is only a thought I keep thinking,' many self-brought-on insecurities and much of my anxiety went away. I got the tattoo as a reminder for myself on days where I am my own worst enemy. I also love sharing the quote with people because of the positive impact it has on them as well. The pain was bad, but I can and have done it again.”
4. Sheridan: “?!”
Inked at: Sins and Needles Tattoo Parlor in New York, New York
“So the symbol originated from a small, secluded resort in Mexico where my dad and his family have been going since the 80’s. It’s the resorts logo that stands for its mysteriousness and seclusion since it’s so rural yet that mysteriousness and seclusion makes it so exciting. The symbolism of the resort logo really inspired me because in a way, that’s how I want to live my life. For me, my tattoo stands for not always worrying about the next step or always having a plan, as this will in turn lead me down more exciting and interesting paths."
5. Katelyn: “Truce” in Tyler Joseph’s handwriting
Inked at: Wild Side Tattoo in Southington, Connecticut
“Tyler Joseph is the lead singer of Twenty-One Pilots and he wrote it for me! 'Truce' is the name of one of their songs. It means a lot to me in the sense that it always was a reminder to keep going and keep fighting my battles until I saw the light at the end of the tunnel."
6. Lexie: A Halloween Pin-Up Girl in a Cat Costume sitting on a Jack-O-Lantern
Inked at: Ambition Tattoo in Rhode Island.
“I got this tattoo along with my mom and dad. They are tattoo junkies and wanted to do it as a last hoorah before my moving out. My mom’s birthday is on Halloween and it is our absolute favorite holiday. Having the tattoo always reminds me of them and I love that it’s Halloween themed. The style is super traditional and colorful! The price was so worth it.”
7. Ally: “You Will Be Found”
Trigger warning: This image may be sensitive for some readers.
Inked at: Cedar Springs Tattoo & Piercing in Dallas, Texas
“I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety and self-harm for years. After going through treatment for a year I wanted a tattoo to commemorate how far I had come. I have “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen going the opposite way of the scars on my arm. The song has a very powerful message, and the first time I listened to it I felt so emotionally connected to it. My tattoo is a constant reminder that even on my darkest days there will always be someone I can call to shine a light and hold my hand until I can stand on my own."
Hearing the testaments to these tattoos makes me re-think any past judgements I’ve ever had about any tattoo that I’ve seen in my everyday life. You see, something you may think is silly could very well be the simple reminder another needs to trust in the fact that everything will be okay.
After talking with seven of my peers about the stories and the meanings behind their tattoos, I feel more encouraged to get one myself; to embrace my own self-expression without any doubt or fear of judgement.
Lead Image Credit: Unsplash