I just got my third tattoo (maybe my last for a while due to finances) and I’ve never been prouder of a tattoo – I’ve not loved one to this degree, maybe that’s due to how it compliments my other tattoos; maybe it’s because my artist put more of his own spin on this one than he’s been able to ones previous; maybe because it’s the biggest; but definitely because it’s the best.
Anyway, my opinions on tattoos are at an all time activity level.
Today, as I was perusing Facebook, I saw someone share an article about 41 of the dumbest tattoos of all time, and my heart was filled with emotion – and at this point, I start to get judgmental. So anyone with “dumb” tattoos, or artists, feel free to call me out if I’m being a little singular-minded here…
But I get sad, and I get mad when I see people have meaningless tattoos. I have no intent of regretting my tattoos when I’m 60 years old, because for one, they’ll have been a part of me for a long time, and second, they have a lot of meaning to me. Each one is like a message that still rings true and that I believe with the whole of my heart – None of my tattoos are an attempt to justify my actions or existence (ie. “No regrets” or “Only God Can Judge Me”); none of my tattoos are a fad or a cultural tide; none of my tattoos are an idol or a tribute (ie. my late grandmother’s face, a famous musician or author, and oh by the way, that’s what the Bible means when it says don’t get tattoos or markings for the dead. it’s idolatry.)
So I get a little irate when I see people who have dice tattooed on them. I get a little pissed when I see an Elvis tattoo. I get a little weirded out when people get their dead dog on their calves. I judge people who get “Only God Can Judge Me” on their arms.
Again, I could be wrong here – but this is what gets me worked up about tattoos – they are permanent. It’s not something you should make the stake of a bet. It’s not something you should do on a whim when you’re slightly drunk. It’s not something you should do without considering an idea and marinating on it for weeks, if not months, if not years. It’s not something you should do if you can’t afford it.
Tattoos are, I opine, one of the deepest forms of art. Tattoos are the image of yourself that you choose to convey to others. They’re there when you work, there when you play, there when you socialize, and there when you’re alone. They’re there when you read, when you write, when you sing, or when you create. They’re there when you’re being serious or when you’re being funny and lighthearted. When you adventure. When you travel, when you stay home. They’re a big deal. Therefore, why in the world would I get something that doesn’t mean a lot to me? Why would I get a tattoo that doesn’t say a lot about my beliefs, or my life philosophy? Why would I get a cupcake sitting on a toilet? What does that do? What does that say about me?
A tattoo is a crazy experience – a wonderful high and a fantastic permanency. It endues you with pride, with meaning, with purpose. They’re “reminders” – even if you don’t need them – of things that are important, or that give you deep-seated joy. Shouldn’t be whimsical. I highly recommend it to everyone, but I also highly recommend it on the grounds that you give it a year’s consideration (oh, and that you have a job you love and that allows you to have tattoos. That are visible. Because why would you get something you couldn’t see?)
Make art that means something.