When someone notices that I have a tattoo, they often ask me what it means. In my case, I have a typical answer — it’s something like a life mantra. But for others, it’s not like that.
Whether a tattoo is deemed a cool form of self-expression, or just the result of being young and stupid, often depends on whether or not it has a back story.
At my job this summer, I worked with someone who had an arrow tattoo on her forearm. When she was asked why she got it, she simply replied that she liked the way it looked. She said people usually struggled to understand that.
Body art isn’t as taboo as it used to be, but even as tattoos become a more valid way to portray a sense of self, a tattoo’s acceptability is decided on the basis of what it symbolizes.
However, getting inked because it means something important to you, and because you like the way it looks, are both ways of expressing yourself.
While the statement that “tattoos should mean something” rarely ever comes from a place of contempt, it implies that self-expression has rules.
It’s true that what we get permanently inked onto our bodies should be something we won’t regret. But having a deeply meaningful backstory isn’t the only way to avoid a trip to Kingston’s local No Regrets Tattoo Removal.
Self-expression takes many forms. The clothes we wear, for example, are regarded as a way of expressing our identities.
Although it’s purely aesthetic, wearing certain things can make us feel more connected to our sense of self. Likewise, wearing a tattoo on your body can produce a similar effect.
When we promote practicing self-expression, we should do so without any ifs, ands or buts.
The reasons someone chooses to get a tattoo are valid as long as they themselves are comfortable with it.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to show and embrace our individuality. By implying there is, we’re stifling our freedom.
Kailun is The Journal’s Assistant Lifestyle Editor. She’s a second-year Commerce student.
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