I have been thinking about tattoos lately. I notice that everyone has one. They are very trendy and have been for a while now. As an artist, I see so many that are not well done or are just blurry and just scream tacky but I know that each person probably gets them as a symbol of something significant in their life, something that they need to be reminded of in a way that only a tattoo can do for them. Many things in my life I never want to forget but I am not sure that a tattoo is how I want to do that. I have things that I may someday need to remember that I will have forgotten. (Nowadays, just remembering where I put my glasses on a regular basis is difficult but, I don’t think I want that tattoo’d on my arm somewhere.) I have always said though, that if I were to get a tattoo, I would want it to be in white ink. It seems that white ink would fade but would still be PURE in some way. Then you would need to have pure words to live up to the purity of the white. Symbolically, white is something pure, something fragile, something sacred.
Many people now also tattoo their cars. Putting a tattoo in the form of a tombstone or a tribute to someone in their life, which is just weird to me too. I know this is another topic but, like a tattoo, should we put a dead person’s birth and death on our vehicle? Should we tattoo that information on our bodies? It just feels disrespectful to me in some way. What does that say about the deceased? That they earned the right to be worn on glass, on flesh, on metal? We know nothing of the person, just a timeline of their existence. Please don’t ever do that to me… I hope I am more than a timeline sandwiched between two dates. Tombstones hold the same purpose for me though. It is as if the dates are bookends to a life. I want to read the book. I want MY book to be read. I don’t want to be sandwiched between two sets of numbers.
But, in thinking about what a tattoo would signify for me, I would have to look to words. Not words from a language that I don’t speak, ( I always would be afraid that the tattoo artist had played a sick joke on me and put the wrong words on me) but words that would truly capture my true self. I want the world to read and know in that word ( or just a few words ) who I am. As an artist, I am not sure that an image would do the trick unless it is just a circle. A circle symbolizes so much. The ever changing life that I have had, the ever connection of my life to others, the unlimited amount of love I want to share. But I don’t want it to look like a doughnut or a condom or something other than a circle. I want it to be taken seriously, just like I want to be taken seriously.
My words often get misinterpreted. So much so that I wonder if I am speaking the same language as other people. So, maybe the circle would be best for my tattoo because I wouldn’t want the words to be taken the wrong way. I want the meaning to be clear without any need of explanation. I want to be understood. I need to have the message be clear and open, like a circle. But not open to misinterpretation. Would I use someone else’s words so that my own are not misconstrued? Should the words be a reminder to myself and screw what everyone else thinks? I think we get so caught up in what others think that we forget that we are our own selves and shouldn’t worry so much about others but with a tattoo, it is out there for the world to see. ( unless you put it in an obscure place, but then what is the point?) Circles are symbols that can start conversations. Is that what a tattoo is? Do people want you to ask them the meaning behind the ink? Are they just trendy conversation starters?
Over 10 years ago, I pierced my navel. I don’t even think anything about it anymore. It seemed so radical at the time but now it is just like an earring. Not a big deal. And in 30 years, I don’t think it will be any different, but a tattoo is something that you have to have forever. I will have to think about this some more. But I am intrigued about a possible tattoo.
BTW, the tattoos in the photos are just silly sleeves that I bought several years ago for fun.