“Is there something you want to tell us?
“Why would you do that?
“Are you depressed?”
Given the responses to my first tattoo, a semicolon that symbolizes suicide awareness, you might think I’d be gun shy about getting another one. But while the semicolon was a reminder that, despite my anxiety and depression, my story is not over, my new one (pictured above) is about resilience and forward motion. “This too shall pass,” is something my late grandmother always told me when I faced adversity or difficult times. She explained sometimes you don’t get over things, you get through them. I like that idea.
Though tattoos are becoming more mainstream, they still give some people an opportunity to judge or criticize you. To apply their own standards to your body or lifestyle. They also give store managers a reason to follow you around pulling the old “Can I hold those for you” trick (I worked in retail, sir, I know what you’re doing and no, I’m not going to steal).
My first tattoo meant a LOT to me, and to have friends laugh or be dismissive or even straight up call me trash hurt a lot worse than getting ink injected into my skin. These reactions left their own indelible marks.
But even when my feelings were hurt, I knew that this too shall pass. And it did. I left high school and my small town behind and have surrounded myself with people who support and encourage self-expression, even in the form of tattoos. Now when I look at mine I remember that people will always pass judgment but it shouldn’t stop you from expressing yourself how YOU see fit.
What about you? Any tattoos you love or that you’ve had to face adversity with? We’d love to hear from you!
The Aunt-bassadors discuss why they do or don’t have tattoos, how it’s affected their careers and how they choose their artwork.
I was the one that always said ” I’ll never get a tattoo!” I also always wanted a breast reduction. In 2014 I had to say “Never say never” and “Be careful what you wish for” I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. I now have smaller breasts, and will be getting two tattoos. I think you know where they’ll be and what they’ll be. 😂😂 We are not defined by Breasts, tattoos, or our hair. We are defined by what is within us. You are beautiful ! Mary E.
I have 18, I think? All of them have significance for me…there’s no rhyme or reason to them, but they express parts of my journey. Now I’m at the point where I want more, but instead of focusing on deep meaning, I just want beautiful colorful art on me. I’d like a a half sleeve on my left arm of flowers and vines and leaves. I would like a beautiful Asian inspired tattoo of a lotus blossom, too. I do try to cover mine up when I have work events just so they don’t distract from who I am or what I’m doing, but when you’re out of the South, they’re much less of a big deal and really pretty commonplace. – Nicole D.
I had always wanted a tattoo and finally got one when I was 40 on a whim with hubby one weekend. Interestingly enough, I had more of a guy mentality (IMHO) and he had more a girl mentality in that he thought long and hard about what he wanted, searched high and low and picked the perfect one that would mean something forever to him. I got online, found something in about 3 minutes that looked neat and off we went. HA! But, in hindsight, EVERYONE asks you what it ‘means’ or stands for so I had to finally come up with SOMETHING b/c I was tired of saying “nothing.” So I made up some cockamamie story that sounds all poetic and beautiful and meaningful. OMG. GAG. 🙂 But I love my tattoo. – Sherri R.
This is so totally on my mind right now. I don’t have any, but I’ve thought for *years* about getting one. The first one I want is related to my cat, who’s 10 this year, but has deep symbolism around my mental health journey. I told myself I’d do it in her tenth year of life. For some reason, I just can’t commit! Also, I know that once I have one, I’ll want 5 more, and that’s an expensive hobby. – Melissa S.
I don’t have a tattoo mostly because I know me and I have a hard time making decisions. In other words if I got one and loved it that day a week, a month or a year would go by and I know I would hate it and regret ever having gotten it. So no tattoos for me for now. – Kristie D.
I have three so far … and I love all of them. Two are just simple floral designs and the third is one of my favorite poems. It was going to be a tattoo anyway but when my nephew died about a year ago it became a memorial tattoo. All my ink makes me happy. Until recently I’ve never worked at a place that wasn’t “tattoo friendly” and i really hate having to cover them up. Aside from my mother, who thinks I got them just to upset her (no, mother!), I hear only good things from people. Most just want to know where I got the work done. I don’t have the next one planned yet, but there will be a next one! – Luann C.
I’ve ALWAYS wanted one. Actually, I have three in mind. I’m afraid it would be a slippery slope for me for sure. – Karen K.
Too much design pressure, but have always been interested in learning how to be an ink artist. – Karin F.
I have two, and have the design for a third on my computer. I consider tattoos (on my body) to be a choice, and like to have a choice to show them to people or not. They are indelibly inked on my body, and they are mine and they’re a reminder of lessons I’ve learned including that there are things no one can take away from me. – Clair M.
I don’t have any tattoos, but I’m obsessed with tattoo artists and follow several on Instagram. I’m just amazed at how beautiful some of the work is and how realistic they can make the images, and also very intrigued by what people get and why. I don’t know that I’ll ever get one myself though. I don’t think I could ever decide on anything. –Audrey A.
I have four, and two of them are pretty big. I’ve never had to hide them at work (only the one on my foot is really visible in work clothes anyway), but I’ve had to hide them from my family. I’ve found that not overthinking it (which seems counterintuitive because it IS permanent after all) has helped me be more open to tattoos as art, and I’ve gotten some really cool work out of trusting an artist with a germ of an idea I had. All of mine do mean something to me, but I don’t think tattoos need to “mean” anything. I think art for art’s sake is just as good of a reason to get a tattoo. – Susan B.
So, see anyone can have a tattoo and have a job. What’s your take on tattoos? We’d love to hear from you!