When I was a junior in high school, I wanted nothing more than to get a tattoo. All I wanted was a small cross in the center of my shoulder blades. After begging my mother incessantly for months, I finally convinced her to take me to get inked. I absolutely loved the experience, and from there on out, I was hooked.
That was almost 6 years ago, and I’ve since been back to around a dozen tattoo shops 20+ times and I’m beginning to be heavily covered with ink with no intentions of stopping anytime soon.
Let’s get one thing straight: I am a middle-class, suburban young adult that was raised by loving parents in a happy home. In no way could my lifestyle be considered “thug.” My tattoos are based off the values on which I try to live my life on a daily basis.
Over 45 million people in America have at least one tattoo. So, why is it still such a taboo subject? Why are visible tattoos still a reason people aren’t picked for a job that they are qualified for? People get tattoos to mourn the loss of a loved one, to express their faith and spiritualism, or to just show off a moment in their life that they are proud of. What people do with their body is not necessarily a reflection of how well they can perform in a work environment or how they act within society for that matter.
People are always shocked to hear that I am heavily covered because I “don’t give off that sort of vibe.” However, more than just markers of gang affiliations or street cred, tattoos are a beautiful form of expression. I am absolutely in love with watching a tattoo artist take my idea and bring it to life on my skin.
One of my favorite tattoos resides on my right upper thigh. I got it when I was 19, and it depicts a family tree. Under the tree is the phrase, “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” I have always been a huge advocate for family, and this tattoo represents that. Through both good times and bad, my family has always been there to support me or catch me when I fell. A family-based tattoo made complete sense to me, and now I wear it proudly like a badge of honor.
What I’m trying to get at is this: don’t ever be afraid to express yourself.
Don’t be afraid to show others what means the most to you. If you feel strongly enough about something that you want to show it off to the world on your skin, go out and get it done. Your body is a temple, so why not decorate it?
Title Photo Credit: flickr
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