To ink or not to ink

Laynie Clark, Assitant Arts & Life Editor

Tattoos: you either love them or hate them, there is no in-between. The culture surrounding tattoos is one of the most diverse ones that I have ever been a part of. There are people that view tattoos as a form of self-expression and art, while others see them as revolting and unholy.

A few months ago I made the decision to get my first tattoo, and I do not regret it one bit. I had my tattoo picked out weeks beforehand, but the morning of, I completely changed course and got something totally different. When I arrived at the tattoo shop, nerves started swimming through my body as the realization dawned on me that tattoos do, in fact, hurt. I was always so caught up in the design that I blocked out the potential pain. So, it is not hard to imagine the amount of fear that I was facing as the artist prepped my ankle for the tattoo. The artist started permanently inking my skin and I was surprised to see that I was able to handle the pain without breaking down into tears.

I walked out of that tattoo shop with fresh ink and a new dose of confidence. Immediately, I was ready to get another one. Getting a tattoo was something I had always wanted to do and I do not regret my decision. In fact, I have acquired a second tattoo since then and have fallen even more in love with it. Tattoos, while many disagree, are a personal choice that should not affect anyone else aside from the person who is getting it. For me, my tattoos mean something and they represent important aspects of my life. Of course I have family members that are, to say the least, not happy with my decision and while it definitely made me feel a little deflated, I ultimately knew that it was a decision that made me feel good. In the end, that is all that mattered to me.

It hurts hearing terrible assumptions about people with tattoos, especially because I am a person with tattoos: albeit small ones. People say that tattoos are a sign that you do not respect yourself, but that could not be further from the truth. I love and cherish my body — getting a tattoo has not and will not change that. The societal stereotypes that are thrown around are biased and unfair because people have a right to choose what they want to do with their body; it does not mean they hate themselves or they are not worthy. 

If you have a problem with tattoos, it is simple: do not get one. Never disrespect someone else because of their decision to get one because that will always reflect poorly on you. My tattoos do not define me, but they are a part of me that I love just as much as the rest and I will not let anyone take that away from me.