A couple weeks back, I wrote a blog post on tattoos and yesterday it was featured as a Freshly Pressed post on the WordPress homepage. It was entirely baffling to see how many pageviews I received as a result of being Freshly Pressed (nearly 14,000 in one day… yikes!), but the most exciting part about it was reading through all of the comments on this post. Many were really personal and brave and affirming, and I felt so honored that people would be so open as to share their stories about their own tattoos and their significance and the stigma they face as a result thereof. I so enjoyed reading all of these comments, so I thought I’d share a few of them that I found especially lovely.
“I love this article! I just went home to see my parents after getting a full back tattoo and didn’t even take the time to justify myself (my mom was PISSED). It’s a beautiful lotus flower mandala that has very significant meaning to me… I got it as a representation of the people I love and have lost (I got it after attending one of my best friends’ funeral).. allowing myself to move through the darkness of life and into the glorious lightness of being! Appreciate your take on tats… I will be forwarding this to my mother.”
“i positively agree with you, i have tattoo’s too.
see, human without tattoo’s like skies without stars.
and tattoo is not a crime.
it is art.”
“Great post, great pix, KUDOS. I’m 56 and have many tatts (40ish). I explain the phenomenon, to anyone who asks, like this: My body is my temple and my tattoos are the stained glass of my soul.”
“Great post! As I tattooed girl, I get pretty sick of the whole feminity argument. It just so happens that all 3 of my large tattoos are very feminine – flowers/birds/an image of a beautiful woman – I think tattoos can be very feminine. I think we’re starting to lose the misconceptions about girls having tats – it’s quite the norm now. Tattoo’s are beautiful bodily additions that allow us to represent who we are.”
“I really enjoyed reading this. I’m a college freshman at VCU in Richmond Virginia. I’m 19 and have 3 tattoos. My mother cried when she saw my third one, it’s a blue compass rose and its in the middle of my chest. My brother (Who has up to 23 tattoos) went with me to get this done and got the same thing on his arm. We got a compass so we could always find each other no matter where our lives took us, family has always been a big deal. My mother always comments on how the tattoo on my chest is the only mistake I have made in life and how I use to be so pretty, it takes away from my beauty. I’ve learned to shrug off these comments because I know she will never understand how much this tattoo means to me and how much strength and confidence it has brought to my personality. I’m a good person, an extremely tame college student. I make good grades and I’ve never given my parents any reason not to trust me. Of course I constantly get the comment that I will never find a job but I’m not stupid. I am willing to cover up for a job, at least until I find a job that accepts my appearance.”
“I think of my tattoo as a graphic resume. It says 1000 words about me. Only those that really want to know actually ask what those words are. I always thank them for caring to ask about me.”
“Talk about stigma! I’m a young (28) Southern Baptist minister with pretty conservative theology…and I’m also tattooed. I have 2 (so far), and I’ve found that people who typically wouldn’t related to me because of my faith/calling are much more open with me once they find out I’ve ‘gotten ink done.'”
“I got my first tattoo on my 51st birthday and my 2nd on my 52nd birthday. Most people tell me they like the one they can see (the cross and a dove)–they just laugh at the idea of a 56 year old grandmother with a tattoo!”
“I’m rapidly turning 70 (July 7th, to be exact), and I’ve never thought of tattoos in a negative light. Our late son had several. But what I want to know is, why would you put it on your back, unless you’d run out of room in front? If I were to get a tattoo, I would put it where I could admire it from time to time. I’ve told more than one person if I were to get one, it would be of a fully-rigged clipper ship, with a “bone in her teeth”, beating to windward. It would be on my chest and belly, but upside down and foreshortened (perspective), so I could enjoy it the most!”
“i just got my tattoo on my upper left arm- a vintage mermaid.. very classy. first thing my aunt said to me was that “one day im going to want to get married and ill be an ugly bride.” yes.. ill be an ugly bride because of my tattoos. i googled brides with tattoos for an hour to make my point that women can still be gorgeous with them. im proud of my tattoos.”
“I really enjoyed this piece. I have 2 tattoos and I have been itching to get a third and fourth. I work in a place where they nurture creativity and yet shun self expression and tattoos are very taboo. And yet the majority of the staff have them. It is so refreshing to see there are people out there who understand that the body is a work of art too and that for the right artist a blank canvas awaiting a muse.”
“I am one of those mom’s who freaked out when my son got sleeves and a full torso tattoo…this post helped me think differently. Thanks!”
“I agree 100%. I have a full sleeve, and many other tattoos, I am a mother of 2, a student, and a part time soldier. I am very feminine, and most people at first assume I am this hard, bitchy person…. I am quite the opposite. I am a girly girl, I wear a flower in my hair daily and have purple toe nails. LOL Each tattoo I have represents something to me. I can remember where and when and how I felt when I got each one. I would not change one thing about them. They are me, I didn’t change as a person when I got them. I know others don’t understand or agree with it. And while tattoos aren’t for everyone, please don’t judge me just because I have them. I don’t judge you because you don’t have any. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, then I don’t need you in my life. So bring on the tattoo gun… I am ready for some more!”
My employer didn’t know I had tattoos at my interview, and why on earth should they?
Granted I work with kids, but the fact I have tattoos doesn’t make me a bad person or role model. It actually shows the young people I work with that I’m a person, who makes choices, and is prepared to live with them.”
“Funny story about tattoos: My son (almost 3), has recently learned to use the potty. At daycare he has been encouraged to go #2 by getting a gold star sticker. When he met my soon-to-be sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago, he pointed to the stars around her wrist and asked if she got them “for going poopy”. For him, it was a badge of honor. I am sure she wears it as one as well, even if for a different reason.”
“I am a self employed remodeling contractor and have never had a customer complain about my tattoos, because their too busy complementing the work I do, my tats have NO effect on my work. In fact one of my most loyal customers tells everyone she refers me to (and she refers me to EVERYONE) “you can’t miss him, he’s got tattoos all over”.”
“My parents have tattoos (matching ones) and I’ve always viewed them as beautiful art and idk, a symbol of permanent love 🙂“