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My Interest in Ink

I can’t recall why, but ever since I was fourteen I’ve been interested in tattoos. My curiosity began when I started adding tattoos to the cartoon characters I had drawn in my art book. Then I began drawing them on my skin in class and making new designs in my art books. I was fascinated by the fact that it was possible to draw permanent designs on the body, designs that would change the way you saw your body forever. I began researching tattoo history on the Internet for more information on my new found love. I learned that people have been getting tattooed even in the days before Christ. Many people, from British royalty to tribe chiefs, to circus performers got tattooed. “If tattoos have been accepted throughout history, why can’t I get one?”, and with that said, I decided to ask my parents.

When I asked them they were appalled that I even considered doing such a thing, to willingly mutilate my body. My mother maintained that tattoos were for “seedy and unsavoury” individuals, and not for good Catholic boys. She and my father both grew up in an age where tattoos were frowned upon by mainstream society. “Sailors, convicts and greasers” she said “were the only people that got tattooed”. She also tried to use her personal suffering as a way to steer me away from tattoos.

“Think of the pain you would cause us. We raised you to be a good and respectable young man. Respectable men do not get tattoos. When you become a self-supporting adult, then you can get a tattoo.”

They stood strong in their beliefs and hoped they had abolished any notion that I had on getting tattooed.

However, their arguments weren’t convincing. How could something that is a reflection of who you are and what you believe in, be condemned? I tried to explain to my parents that tattoos have spiritual meanings, and they are considered to be one of the most sacred methods of self expression. A tattoo can tell you a great deal about a person, such as their religious beliefs, hobbies, or even people whom they have loved and lost. Tattoos are unique in that they are the only form of art that truly belongs to the wearer. They will go where you go, sleep where you sleep, and die when you die. They are your partner for life like a soul mate to grow old with. Saying this to my parents was like trying to break down a brick wall with a pebble. No amount of debating could change my parents’ minds. They were firm in their beliefs, unwilling to see any other side of the subject. Contrary to my parents thoughts, I still believed in the importance of a tattoo, and just because they didn’t want me to have one, didn’t mean I wouldn’t get one.

Nearly one year ago this week, on a cold October afternoon, my friend and I ventured out to the tattoo studio to purchase what would be the most unique, spiritual, and motivational form of art I could possibly imagine. I knew that my parents wouldn’t approve if they found out, but that didn’t stop me. It was what I felt should be done. I had planned and pondered long enough, and it was time to fulfill my dream.

Inside the artist’s studio, as I was getting tattooed, I read a passage that hung above the threshold that read “It’s your life, live it the way you want to.” and that’s exactly what I did.

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