My Tattoos Are Meaningless & Why That's OK
I recently wrote a piece after getting my latest tattoo about how they are a form of self love, something I'm trying to introduce more of into my life.
I have a lot of issues with body image and without realising, getting my tattoos makes me love that piece of skin more than I did before. I touched on it in that post but I want to talk about this more. So here we are.
I have several tattoos in varying sizes, but with a similar theme. I love traditional style tattoos - in colour or just black ink. The style is bold but familiar, and I love the oceanic theme. Boats, anchors, mermaids, sea creatures, and so on. It's a style that's well practiced so there are loads of amazing artists. It's also tried and tested so the lifespan of designs is really good, and techniques have been perfected. That's not to say I won't venture into other ink forms, but I know what catches my eye.
I think everyone gets tattoos for different reasons, and everyone judges people's tattoos differently. My tattoos have little to no meaning other than "that's gorgeous, I want it on my body." For some, this is hard to understand - "it's there forever, and it hurt, and it cost a lot; how can it mean nothing to you?"
I get it. For a lot of people, those reasons dictate that it must be a memorial, a reminder, a dream, a hope, a direction, or any one of a million other things. Many, many people give meaning to their tattoos. I love the stories of why, where, who, and how. But, quite honestly, that's just not me.
I always wanted tattoos, from the age of about 14 I thought up and drew ideas. I thought about placement. I considered regretting them. I researched cost. I looked at artists. But I didn't stick on meaning very much. Sure, it came up, but nothing felt meaningful enough or important enough. Nothing made me want to keep it close to me forever. Even family, which some find odd, but I resolved very early on to never have a person's name tattooed on me. Again, that's a personal choice.
I call my tattoos meaningless in the sense that they have no origin story, but they are still things I love. I am happy to love my tattoos for the beauty of them, not the meaning. This is incredibly freeing for me with my difficulty in accepting myself for who I am.
Loving my tattoos just for their presence is radical for me, and probably for many others as well. The effort I put into choosing them, the hours of pain, the amount of money all give me something that connects my body to my heart in a way someone else might find through a spa weekend or a spin class. And it's amazing.
I have wondered if perhaps this is why I plan on getting more tattoos. And I have also wondered about employment prospects and how they will look as I age (for people who ask these questions, I don't understand why you think we haven't already considered all this). I weigh these things up every time I want to put needle to skin, and I the reason I still go through with it is because the negatives aren't enough to put me off. I always focus on the happiness I know I'll feel, and I don't regret that at all.
I'm already booked in for my next tattoo - a mermaid around an existing tattoo on my ankle - and I'm really excited about it. For a tattoo that size I barely even have to consider the pain because after my larger pieces, and having both feets done in full colour, I know I can handle it.
And guess what? This tattoo has no meaning either.
I just really want a cute little mermaid on me.
What's your tattoo tale? Full of meaning, or just a pretty picture?