It has been difficult for me to find the best way to approach this topic and I have actually written this first line in my head and on the computer more times than I can count. I don’t care to make this post a lesson on tattoos and how to get them, where to go, how to care for them… tattoos are an extremely personal choice. I believe that everyone that gets a tattoo has a right to choose something as meaningful or as fickle as they want. I also believe if you get a tattoo, and you show people, it is available for public opinion and scrutiny, just as outfit and fashion choices are. My tattoos and the ones that I am exposed to in my life are all special to me… extremely special to me. They have brought me pride and joy and I am definitely willing to show them and talk about them with anybody who cares to see or talk about them. Everyone that has a tattoo has a story to go along with it, whether it was chosen on a whim at a random shop, or if it was artfully created and the person drove miles and paid hundreds and hundreds to get inked. I can talk about tattoos for hours. I think about them often. I want more.
The photos here are very personal and although I am willing to show mine to whomever may wish to see, or if I am wearing something where they are exposed, that is one thing. Taking these photos was something I wanted to do and it was very strange for me. I never get to see most of my tattoos besides looking over my shoulder in a mirror, so this was a strange chance to expose myself to myself, as well as my wonderful readers. I am proud to be a woman. I feel sexy most days, and I think I should be proud to show a little of myself. I am so willing to show the bounty of my wardrobe all over my body. I wanted to show a bit of my favorite, personal adornments. I have become more modest as I get older, so this is a personal challenge and I hope I do not offend anyone with these pictures. This is me, this is a part of me, for good!
I received my first tattoo when I turned 18. It was my mom who agreed to take me to the shop, ask the tattoo artist questions, and pay for my first tattoo as a birthday present. My mom does not have any tattoos. In fact no one in my family did… hardly any of my extended family has tattoos that I am aware of. She liked the design and approved of the placement, so that made it all the easier. I had been fascinated with tattoos for a long time. I had done temporary ones, henna and airbrush tattoos. I NEEDED one! I think I chose trendy… the lower back placement, tribal, butterflies. I felt like the design I chose was perfect for me. Two butterflies facing each other, which was different from most of the single, spread wing ones I had seen a lot of. Hearts are my favorite symbol; I see a V in hearts. The curled design of the tribal detail reminded me of my own curly hair that I had come to love and accept about myself. Loving my curly hair, which is a true part of me, was a struggle, living and growing up in a California suburb surrounded by pretty little Caucasian and Asian girls with straight hair. As I went through high school, I felt like I was learning to accept myself for who I really was, and that first step was accepting my crazy hair and feeling beautiful with it! So those are the pieces to my first tattoo. The artist’s name was Doug. He was great! I almost passed out in the first 10 minutes of the tattoo. He set a fan in front of me and stuck a hubba bubba piece of gum in my mouth and was fine after that. It hurt (like getting a sunburn electrocution), but I got through it! I love that he gave it some character. One is a boy and one is a girl if you look close enough. They love each other and I love them!
My second tattoo was my slightly rebellious choice. I wanted something bigger and bolder. I wanted a big, beautiful, sexy, pirate back piece. My boyfriend and my parents were out of town. I had Harley do my tattoo this time… he was supposedly one of the best and I had to make the appointment weeks out. I wanted the design to be symmetrical to coincide with my two butterflies, so I chose the two sparrows holding the banner. I wanted a phrase that was spiritual, but I could not find a Bible quote that simply expressed what I wanted to say. I was taking a lot of philosophy courses and was learning bits and pieces of Latin and I loved that it was a dead language, but a root language. “Amor vincit omnia” means “Love conquers all,” and that can mean the love of God, the love of your family and friends, your love of Life, loving yourself! All good things can come from LOVE!
I will admit, this tattoo HURT and took a long time and I was worn out by the end of it, but it came out better than I had hoped, thanks to Harley’s artful eye. My boyfriend and family were definitely surprised when they came home and saw the banner across my shoulders! It was my 19th birthday present to myself.
My next tattoo did not come until I turned 22. I wanted something simple, but bravely forward on my forearm. I got the word “Veritas” tattooed in Utopian characters on my left forearm… double translation for this one! Veritas means “truthfulness,” which is so important in life. I had struggled with some lies in my own life and I had overcome them. You cannot have true love and be happy in life without being true to yourself and others. And you can only hope for it in return. Also, my mother’s name is Veronica, which stems from veritas, so it is dedicated to her as well. I chose Utopian characters because Latin is a dead language, Utopia is a fictional, perfect place. I liked the idea of having artful symbols instead of regular Roman characters. We did a walk-in at the shop, and Harley, who is ALWAYS booked, had a cancel that day and was willing to take the 15 minutes to do my tattoo. He made it look great and scripted. I love it!
My most artistic and beautiful tattoo is my “family crest.” I designed it myself… I love my little family more than anything, but was not keen on getting names tattooed. I had come up with a symbol for all of us together: the heart, which has a V and J connected, and the infinity symbol in the middle, which represents our daughter, (the infinity symbol looks like a peanut to us, and that’s what we called her from the first time we saw her fluttering on a sonogram at 9 weeks in my womb). It is also a symbol in hope that our love for each other will last until infinity. I chose crowns to top the crest. I am the Queen of my castle and will always be! I connected with a Dutch crown I researched (which is funny because I love Holland so much now and knew very little about it before). The filigree is just for decoration and beauty. Jorden’s is very similar, but he has blade detailing around his, and a different crown. Our very own family crests!! Harley was our artist again and he did the best job ever! It was worth all of the terrible pain and all the money (these were pretty expensive!). Good tattoos are definitely worth the money.
So there you have it. My tattoo stories. I hope to have a few more in the future, but we’ll see where I go with that. I feel that the ones I have are beautiful, artistic, classy and such. I want to keep it that way.
How do you feel about tattoos? What stories do you have to tell?