I’ve always seen tattoos as being a piece of artwork or a memory that you like to look at so much that you decided to keep it on your body forever. They are like that shirt you thought looked super cool on you in high school, so you decided to wear it over and over again until your mom snuck into your room while you were sleeping to wash the disgusting thing(true story). My generating likes to look at tattoos as a sign of how cool you are. You got your first tattoo and are now branded as the badass in your friend group. I mean yes, tattoos are totally cool, but that doesn’t mean you’re the most interesting person to walk the planet. Anyone over 18 can walk into a tattoo shop, flip through a book, and pick out the cute butterfly tattoo they have always wanted. What’s really special is when you see that piece of artwork and you know there has to be a good backstory behind it. I’m not one to judge your choice of tattoo (unless it’s deserved), my first tattoo when I turned 18 was anchor on my wrist. So cool and unique right? It doesn’t have a backstory or anything cool about it, it was just 18 year old me deciding I wanted to be cool and picked a symbol out that I liked.
Growing up I had the typical strict father who had his list of things he didn’t approve of, therefore me and my sister were not allowed to do those things. Of course, up on his was tattoos. He would say cliche things like “only criminals have tattoos” or “who would want to look like that”. I remember at one family Christmas party, my cousin and her tattooed boyfriend were there and my dad says “I always thought tattoos were for bad people, but he’s not a bad person, so that makes one”. Yes dad, out of all the people with tattoos this one person is the only good one. Not. I told him my thoughts on the subject, but that didn’t matter because any view against his was seen as a rebellion of some sort in his mind. Maybe if he had a giant swastika plastered across his forehead, then I could most likely agree with my father about this one person compared to all of the others. Like the butterfly tattoo person, how could they be bad. Am I right?
After my super cool anchor tattoo, my next one I decided was going to be hand drawn and have a bit more uniqueness to it. So obviously with that idea I found a quote I thought was really deep and Google Image searched it to find something to go with it. Then I just sketched out a few things I saw with it and boom, my “hand drawn” tattoo. To be fair, I was still a teenager, so I was not reliable for any bad decision I made. I don’t know who was, but it clearly wasn’t me. This tattoo I got done when I was a freshman in college, so people would know I was cool at my new school just by looking at me. Over the years anytime someone has seen my tattoos I get about the same reply, “you seem too shy to have tattoos”. I don’t usually know how to reply to this. I am quite introverted, so apparently that means I either couldn’t or shouldn’t have tattoos. But I do, so I’m sorry I go against this stereotype that I didn’t realize was a thing until someone said it about me. Most of these people are my friends or classmates, aren’t they supposed to think I’m cool instead of saying they’re surprised I had them? That’s like a big uncool slap in the face. It’s like my dad saying tattoos are for bad people, I guess you have to be outgoing in this generations eyes.
My third tattoo was when I was a sophomore in college. I felt so mature and grown up going to a tattoo shop all by myself and asking for some “fresh ink”. This round I decided to go with a set of skeleton keys on my forearm, right by that anchor. Not only did I think it was a cool image, but it had some meaning to me, finally! When I was growing up my dad would always go antique shopping and come back with what I thought were some of the most unique things. He always had a bunch of antiques laying around the house or in his workshop, then when I got older I would go with him and decorate my room with them. I remember him having this big box of skeleton keys he collected and that just stuck in my mind. This tattoo was an ode to my childhood and my father, ironically with his known view of tattoos. Which of course, if his own daughter had them they couldn’t only be for bad people, I hope. Maybe I don’t know it yet and I’m destined to end up in prison, or wait, can shy people go to prison?
My fourth and latest tattoo I got done when I was 22. All of the others had been relatively small and this time I wanted one big enough for people to look at me and go “wow, that girl must be really outgoing”. Or maybe I just wanted it to be large enough to have more details and to fit into a specific spot. My idea was to get a lion, because I’m clearly the outgoing Leo type (I am actually a Leo), surrounded by hollyhocks. The house I grew up in had a big kitchen window with a large garden of hollyhocks in front of it. We moved out of that house a while ago, but that’s one of the big memories I have of living there. Nobody could deny how cool I was now.
I haven’t given too much thought into my fifth tattoo. Part of my wants to get an ode (his name was Otis, Ode) to my childhood dog that was apart of my life for Almost 17 years. He was an adorable pekingese/pug mix, and who doesn’t think pugs are adorably ugly. I have had enough experiences in life now to have no excuse to get just an anchor tattoo just because. Unless of course it’s a beautiful and unique anchor that I can’t live without. Anyone can have tattoos and anyone can get what they choose, even if others don’t like it or think it has no meaning. It’s impossible for someone to be too shy for tattoos, can someone tell my old college friends that? And maybe everyone else while they are at it.