Why I Got a Tattoo


1. I've Always Wanted One For me, that's reason enough. (But read on, because I swear I have more).

It's a strange thing when people ask me what a tattoo means, probing for the justification for marking my skin with ink. I get it, it's a commitment - lifelong, permanent, subject to the trials of age and wear and tear. What does compel one to make such a great decision?

Yet I've always found a tattoo to be analogous to anything in life. Think of a marriage. A marriage is (technically) lifelong, goes through its wear and tear but a permanent reminder of something - love, another person, all that jazz.

And in that case, someone else is getting that tatt with you two, making that same decision. Now that's an ever greater risk, trusting that this decision is permanent and constant for the two of you for the rest of your lives.

This constant fear of how bad a tattoo will look once our skin starts to sag and deteriorate with age - it all sounds like a more deep seated fear of ageing than anything else. It is perfectly natural and completely inevitable for our bodies to change.

2. I Captured A Moment

While my skin may sag and my tattoo may deform, the fact that it's there takes me back to when I got it.

At the fear of sounding like a live in complete nostalgia (which, in real life, I irrevocably am), I got this tattoo in Madison. And if this post explained anything, that time and what brought me to finally going to a tattoo parlour after ten years of wanting to make the leap is something I want to remember and keep with me no matter how the times change me and time itself.

3. It Was Fearless

I am an overthinker. If these unedited rants can tell anything about me is that a lot of thoughts - often incomplete and always coming in packs - run through my head at a million times an hour.

I have always wanted a tattoo. I just love the way they look on a person. I love that they represent something so dear to them that they would have it inked on them personally. I love the very fact that they found that thing.

When I finally had that thing I always wanted to hold on to, the very act of doing it was fearless, confident, embracing the millennial cry of YOLO or more recently Shake It Off! I became the person I always envisioned for myself - not just a girl with a tattoo, but one, who after oscillating in her mind back and forth to inaction from laziness and anxiety rather than lack of will, was courageous enough to do it.

4. The Design Is Personal

And so finally, to the question of what does the tattoo mean.

I have a tattoo of a cross. Yes, I'm Christian and it's a struggle sometimes. The cross does aid in and remind me of that. But that's for another time.

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Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

It is on my right rib cage - notoriously one of the most painful spots. I did not feel the pain however. I have no idea why. There were a few tender moments towards the bottom and I got very ticklish. It helped to get my mind off it by having two of my friends with me and talking to each other - so I didn't always have to talk, for fear I'd move and ruin the tattoo.

The design is adapted from my crucifix that I bought in Cambodia. That was a transformative trip in solidifying my passion for social justice and my desire to pursue it personally and professionally.

More importantly, it's adapted from a picture of when I tried to replicate the crucifix. I had drawn it for the candle I decorated for my godson/nephew's baptism. That was a special moment to be a part of his life like that.

I had the tattoo artist draw me something from two different images and what I told him and the resulting image - well it was just perfect. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a good artist. I didn't do much research into the guy I ended up going to but seeing this design - it was just fate.

A shout out to Blue Lotus Tattoo in Madison and my artist, Doug Rassier.

I love the geometric undertones of the tattoo - I've always loved they style. And the bold lines over fancy detail that I had envisioned earlier suit this tattoo and ALL that it means, all the more.

So yes, that's why I got my first tattoo. . Second tattoo? Coming soon...