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Tattoos - Put it in Ink

Updated on April 29, 2008

Growth and Change

Life changing choices


While tattoos are popular, the choice of when, where, what, and placement are extremely personal and permanent. Even if you decide to have the tattoo covered up later, there is still the initial decision, underneath. People consider tattoos for as many reasons as any other major permanent changes they make. There are of course the exceptions which include those who get inked under the influence of mind/thought/judgment altering substances or peer pressure.

Getting a tattoo is a commitment which last even longer than marriage or a mortgage, though cost much less. (Talk about value.) Ideally, one has decided to commemorate a major event or change, begin or continue a decorative process, or initiate change. Because we all have our own reasons, I will only address my journey, making this a personal statement.

I got my first tat for my 39th birthday. When I was a little girl, my aunt told me that life began at 40. Somewhere around 35 I figured I had better get ready. I did not want life showing up and me just sitting around unprepared. I was surrounded by friends who had a myriad of tattoos so I had plenty of opportunities to judge the work of varying artists in my community. In all the guidance regarding the selection of your artist, I think the most important is that you have some rapport with the person who will be stabbing you repeatedly with needles for the next hour or so. The person most highly recommended, whose work I loved, just did not sit well with me. We could not come to any understanding and I walked away. Because I had seen the artist's work, I could have been confident in the outcome, but for me this was as personal as choosing my lover.

My tat is my own design, discussed with the artist, hand drawn by me, and then perfected before application. I signed an agreement that stated I was not under the influence of any mind altering substances. No point in saying, "That's not what I meant!" when the work is done. The Goddess tat seen above, is sitting over the pec muscles and the lymph glands. It matters, though I would not change the placement at all. During the work, the artist explained some changes he was making to the original design. I recommend coming to presence so that there is complete agreement before the ink is applied. "Does that look okay?" I just laughed. What is the world was I going to say? "No, that's not what I meant!"

My next tat came in response to major life reorganization, a change I didn't ever expect to make and yet, there I was. I chose the Phoenix, symbol of life-death-rebirth, not just coming back, but rising out of the ashes. Alice Walker has a quote "When life descends into the pit I must become my own candle willingly burning myself to light up the darkness around me." My tattoo serves a reminder of self commitment to continued renewal through the process of letting go.

I have a third and am now considering a fourth. I'm in the midst of yet another life change, this time clearly allowing life to lead me. I have yet to vision what this symbol will be, but hold that as I live my choices, I co-create with the Divine. Much as any amulet or talisman, my tattoos symbolize who I am and how I show up in the world.


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      C-boy 9 years ago

      I have two tatoos. One can be considered cliche, its a rose with a ribbon wrapped around it and on the ribbon three words are written. Love. Life. Faith. Each word mean something different and when the tatoo is seen as a whole it has a meaning that many people couldnt have guessed. The second tattoo is on my back. Its of a small dragon surrounded by a much larger dragon. The dragon is a symbol of strength and the transition from the small dragon to the larger one is a sumbol of growth. Even at mu young age I'm looking to get another tatoo....or more so add on to the ones I already have. Great Post!!