My Journey In Tattoo

From Family To Individuality

My Journey In Tattoo
My Family Tattoo

Family...Where do I start?? I love you all and you all drive me insane sometimes. But no matter what happens, we will always stay together. Through the best times and worse times, we have always stuck together with a strong bond.

I got this tattoo four years ago with my mom and my brother. We all had just experienced the most stressful and draining time in our family lives; my parents had just gotten divorced after ten years of marriage. It was not the greatest time emotionally, but we decided to help each other process and get through it by getting matching family tattoos. Unbeknownst to me, this was not my mom’s first tattoo but that is another story.

My mom decided on the concept, an infinity symbol with doves flying in the wind. She said that it would symbolize our bond as a family and our individual strength to stand on our own when needed. We each chose our own special word to be included based on what we felt inside after everything was settled. We had about 2 weeks to decide on our words and placement as my mom had a work trip coming up. I chose the word "Strong" and decided to get it on the back of my neck. Pro-tip: choose another area to get a tattoo unless you have a high pain tolerance!

I felt strong after my parents' divorce, along with a few other personal struggles I had to deal with at the time, because I had overcome the feeling of sadness and anger and I was mentally good on the other side of it. This was also my most painful tattoo to date, and I felt like it was so for a reason. I have two other tattoos, of my own individuality, and neither felt as painful as this.

The pain was a release of all the anger, resentment, and fear that I have felt up until that point and it felt amazing. I felt free as a person and closer to my family at the same time, craziest emotional feeling in the world, right? A complete rollercoaster, but a necessary one during that time. Pain, both emotional and physical, has played a significant role in my life, but with tattoos I am in control of the pain to an extent. I choose to get tattoos so I’m choosing to create the pain.

Tattoos have always been a form of art for me. I have always wanted one, even before I could legally get a tattoo; they were the cool thing to see on people. Tattoos, at least looking at them, were an escape for me when I was younger because I could see the intricacy and imagination of the art. The imagination in what the tattoo is supposed to be or represent to the person receiving it is the beauty of it all. Getting a tattoo, for me, feels like a rush of multiple emotions from pain and fear to joy and happiness. The rush also helped with the actual pain of getting a tattoo because it hurts!! No matter what anyone says, tattoos hurt a lot.

My tattoo journey is nowhere near over as I plan to get more at some point, but it is definitely in a good place. Tattoos have become my own personal form of therapy and creative outlet as I can use my body, well parts of my body, as a canvas to express my creativity and emotions. Along with the pain, the process itself is actually fun. Thinking about what I plan to get next and how much it will cost, that’s part of the process that I treasure.

I will forever treasure this tattoo and share it with pride, family pride!!

immediate family
Read next: Allie on the Sand
Tiajuana Gilmore
See all posts by Tiajuana Gilmore