A Wee Post About Tattoos
"a great tattoo is a statement, not a style. and getting it is a journey, not a destination"
I've been meaning to make a blog post about tattoos for a hot minute. I have a running list of post ideas in my phone and unfortunately I've neglected this idea for a while...and in the process I've gotten like, two more tattoos to talk about now. So, yay!
Now, while I have about 11 tattoos I would say that I'm not nearly as covered as some people I know (and envy) and I do plan on continuing to get additional art as I go through life. I feel like collecting trinket tats is one of my favorite things to do as I have more small tattoos than I do large ones. For those of you who don't know, trinket tattoos are usually small, situational tattoos that you collect while traveling (like me) or when something is going on in your life, with your friends, your tattoo artist, etc. It's not a large, planned out piece and trinket tats are often deeply personal or just simply fun/cute/adorable/funny or a cute hotdog.
I often get the question, "well, what happens when you're older? you'll be like..old..with tattoos" and it's usually asked by people my age with no tattoos.
Okay, so I get this question BUT the people that you will grow old with are obviously going to be representative of millennials and of the experiences that we gather as we grow older. When you're 75, I can guarantee that you're not going to be/act/look like 2016 75 year olds. Therefore, we're going to have a lot of tatted up 75 year old men and women in the future who are going to be living openly alternative lifestyles and also we're going to be half robots by then anyways.
So, in short...yes, I know. I will one day be old with tattoos and that is okay because they're representative of that time in my life and the memories surrounding that particular tattoo.
Another question is: "you're like...a teacher, right? how can you have tattoos on your hands?"
Fair question. I believe that a lot of workplaces are starting to be more accepting of employees with tattoos/piercings/alternative hairstyles that aren't considered offensive. Also, more and more people are starting to get tattoos as the olllllldddd stigma of them being only for men or military or criminals is 100% dissipating. Personally, I believe that if you are not hired because of how you look...it might not be somewhere you want to work anyways. Obviously if you're trying to become a lawyer and you have a donald duck tattoo on your forehead...well, you're narrowing your job pool quite a lot.
So basically what I'm saying is, I believe employers are becoming more and more open to hiring people with tattoos granted that they're not portraits of donald trump.
Also, to be honest, my students either never even mention my tattoos or it becomes a conversation starter. Be it them asking questions or it reminds them of their home country/culture. For example, I get a lot of excited Indian students who remark on my Om tattoo that I got in Indonesia as India is completely littered with little Om's. I feel that the Indian people are super connected with this symbol of the vibration of the universe and I often get some of my Indian friends saying, "that Om is me!".
Speaking of the tattoos that I have, here is a lil breakdown/background of some of them:
This is probably the one that I get asked about the most. They're coordinates for Bangkok, Thailand and I got it with a friend I had traveled with about...2 or 3 years ago. For me, Bangkok was the first time I *really* traveled and it was a complete game changer. When I got back, nothing was the same for me after that. Essentially my whole life changed. I feel like I began a journey to a more authentic life after Thailand. So, thanks Thailand!
My mom, my sister and I all share this tattoo. We all got it together the summer I left for Doha and Mallory left for college. It was a time of a lot of beginnings and also we were going to all be so far apart from one another and wanted a little experience that we could all have together. The glyph on the top is my sister for overcoming the challenges in her life as a young adult and new college student, the middle glyph for my mom's protective nature and the last one is explore for me as I travel around the world.
One of my favorites and it's coming up on it's one year birthday. I got this little Om tat as I was attending the Soulful Escape to Bali retreat in Indonesia last year. That was the first time I had traveled alone and I felt that it was an experience that made me feel much more confident and at peace with my ability to handle my stuff as well as learn more about myself. Also, the guy who did this had amazingly steady hands and wonderful technique. We were also both barefoot and in a room that was the size of a closet. He also looked 14. #startedtattingearly
My newest tattoo and also another travel tat. I got this one a couple of months ago while traveling in Nepal. It's the Buddhist symbol for enlightenment and another nod to reaching a higher awareness and consciousness. Something I'm always trying to keep in mind. There are many, many versions of this sacred spiral but this particular style I came up with myself so I feel like it's even more personal. Also, the process of getting it was awesome. The tattoo artist was this super chill and artistic guy called Sunil and while we were chatting a saffron robed British guy walks in and starts talking about meditation, Buddhism and his travels around India and Nepal. It was basically a super cool and good vibes experience.
My quarter sleeve done by the amazing @miguelolascuagatattoo in Atlanta in 2014. This one features a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera surrounded by peonies in a woodcut printmaking style. The story behind this one is a lil depressing/happy but in my...I guess you could say previous life...I had misplaced priorities and sold my collection of vintage cameras to achieve this particular life I thought I wanted and needed. Ultimately I felt like I was selling pieces of my identity and without so many details, this was the first camera that I re-bought for myself later and ever since I feel like I've been getting closer and closer back to my center. I had to document the occasion with some beautiful art.
Speaking of tattoos from Miguel, here is another one! This one was gifted to both Justin and myself the summer of 2014 in Atlanta before we came to Doha. It's called the traveler and is given to someone who has a wandering spirit/adventurer/awesome person. It's given by someone who has a traveler and usually after some drinks and long tat shop chats. It's one of my favorites and is also quite special to me. I always feel honored to have been given one and to be seen as a wanderer, adventure seeker and traveler.
The arrow I got a few years ago in Atlanta and it was my first, small highly visible tattoo. Prior to that one I had three that were more or less covered by clothes at all times so no one could even tell I had tattoos. Making the leap to having visible tattoos, I feel, is a pretty big one. Some people are able to jump into it with no problem and that might even be their first! However, I think I was having some tat commitment issues as far as visibility goes but I decided that I wanted to fully embrace the idea of having visible tattoos.
The wanderlust tattoo I got in San Francisco like...a day before Justin and got engaged in Big Sur on Winter Solstice. This one was literally a second's notice sort of tattoo. We had originally gone in to get Justin's piercings done and I was like..let's commemorate our travels together in SF. But, you know, that's how trinket tattoos sometimes happen. They can be super planned or super spontaneous.
Done in Manhattan a few years ago. A snippet of a quote from one of my favorite books, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray (brag) of my heart. I am, I am, I am."
Obviously, there are three missing and while they're not located anywhere that I couldn't show you, I was taking those photos on our roof...in Doha...so it probably wouldn't have been a good idea to like...try to take a picture of them. Basically they're on my back/side and I was also alone and even the selfie stick couldn't help me with that. So, they'll remain a mystery I suppose. Hah.
Next time you go to get another tattoo or your first, remember that this personal piece of art is documenting a moment in your life and you'll be able to look at it everyday and remember the specifics of that memory. Even when your 75 and you're half robot.
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p.s. please don't get a donald trump tattoo. like, ever.