People generally think tattoos should be intensely personal and insightful or else you’ll regret it later.
Of course, this isn’t always the case.
Lots of people get tattoos for other reasons. For me, as an artist and lover of body art, my tattoos weren’t always about symbolizing a significant part of my personality. My tattoos were small pieces of me, things I like in beautiful pictures, displayed on my body like one might place a picture on the mantel.
My first tattoo was a Star Trek tribute, not the sort of thing you envision any sensible person putting on their skin forever. It was a simple piece, all black-line work, in Vulcan calligraphy: dif-tor heh smusma, Vulcan for “live long and prosper.” I got it just after the death of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who’d played Spock in the original Star Trek series.
It may not be the “right” kind of tattoo, but it’s beautiful and important to me. It’s a symbol of something I love.
My second tattoo was a shoulder piece, much less painful than my first piece down my spine. It was designed by my tattoo artist, Jason at Ink Well Tattoos and Piercings. It’s a depiction of a colossal kraken, tearing apart a ship in its long tentacles. I was told by several people that I’d regret it. I lied to my mother when she asked me what it symbolized. I’d known she’d ask, and I told her that it symbolized my strength and my resilience. She accepted that answer with a forlorn smile. In reality, I just wanted to feel like a pirate.
Not everyone feels the same way I do when it comes to their tattoos. Many people get tattoos that do have deep sentimental meanings to them, whether it’s to honour a loved one or to symbolize a struggle that they’ve overcome, such as the popularized semi-colon tattoo.
There are also lots of people who, like myself, get tattoos just because of the aesthetic appeal. Tattoos are pieces to put on display, just like any other form of art, and some people would simply rather have them on their skin than hanging on their walls.
And both of these options are perfectly valid. There’s no wrong way to get a tattoo. It doesn’t matter if you want something deep and meaningful or if you want something aesthetically pleasing.
Your body is your temple, but more than that, it’s your own. It’s yours to craft and create and sculpt. And you know better than anyone what you want to put on it, whether that’s a semi-colon to symbolize your struggles or a kraken to make you look cool. If it makes you happy, go for it.
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