What speaks to you? What images/statements speak for you?
Growing up in the 80's, the only people who had tattoos were those who were a part of groups like a biker gang or had been in the military. We have all seen iconic tattoos of pin up girls, or fighter jets. Having some family in the service I have seen a few. Although tattoos were not something I thought much about. I was never in a group like them, and those I knew with tattoos were not people I got to see very often.
Thinking back, there was not one person in my peer group who had a tattoo. I am sure we can all agree that those with tattoos were given grief over not looking professional. Many people covered their ink up, or had it placed where it would not readily be seen (back, ankle, shoulder blade, upper arm/bicep, ribs, torso, thigh etc).
It wasn't until I made my way through university when I started seeing younger people with them. Often they signified a trip the wearer had taken, or a soul whole they wanted to remember, a date or special moment in life captured for prosperity.
I have seen Disney characters, birthdates, video game characters, lotus/roses/lilies, baby names, images that remind people of loved ones (of children or parents or grandparents). I then started thinking "What if I had ink, who or what would I want represented on me?". That question was not one easily answered. And over time I forgot the question. Tattoos existed in the world, and I was aware, but, I was not ready to have one.
Fast forward 6 years, I meet my now wife. She and I had lengthy conversations about life and priorities, and again the subject of tattoos come up, we both mention that we would like to have one at some time. The conversation continues on and off through our dating life, though our engagement, through our wedding, the birth of our two girls. 14 years after having our first conversation on the subject I finally decide on getting one, one that had special meaning for me. As an introspective person, thoughts have a weight that can be tangible. The more I looked at my life, the more the statement "I am made up of the choices I make". While doing research, I became aware of Odin, the AllFather. He is a mythical God in Norse mythology. The god of wisdom, poetry, death, divination and magic
Odin was responsible for the 9 realms, however, could never be at all nine places at once, so he had 2 ravens that would leave his side, scout out the lands, and bring him all of the news of the realm. The two ravens, named Huginn and Muninn, represented Memory and Thought. This resonated with me, and I did extensive research into what they might look like. I settled on an image of the two ravens on either side of Odin's eye. I found a local Tattoo Shop here in the city - Adept Tattoos. After making an appointment, arriving on time, I was told the guy I set the meeting up with was on vacation as of the day before. I was let down on how my first ever tattoo appointment was going. Little did I know It was serendipitous as Rob was the perfect choice. Rob has over 10 thousand hours of work to his name. He took time to sit me down, discuss best placement of a tattoo, why some places are more receptive of the ink, why some are more painful than others, and let me decide. The meeting went well and a week later I came back to get it done. It was a 2 hour session, he eased me into it. He had SKA music, offered me coffee or water, took time going over the placement before placing the stencil on my upper bicep. 2 hours later I was over the moon excited by the new addition.
I also write poetry, and dabble in story telling. I wrote a poem "Of Wind and Rain" in 2011. While I was not sure if I would get another tattoo, this poem spoke to me. My brother in law is a fledgling tattoo artist, with approximately 50 hours of work under his belt. He let us know he was coming into town, and if we had ideas for a tattoo he would do one for us. At this point my wife still had not gotten her first. What she had decided on was a tattoo in memoriam. 4 little images linked together. However by the time she finally looked at it with him, she decided on two large roses with items hidden within the leaves. My brother in law did an amazing job. I knew that my idea would easily take shape under his needle. The image above is similar, ocean waves contained in a diamond. However, I have the first line of my poem framing the diamond. Of wind and rain my soul is made, of sea and salty air.
My images and sayings have specific meaning for me, and I am more than pleased with my choices. I do wonder if I had started getting tattooed as a teen, whether I would have my favorite bands, or sports teams logos, or teenage angst filled lyrics covering my canvas? But, luckily I won't have to think about it. I took my time and found things that were emphatically me.
I hope my story helps you make decisions, whether you decide for ..or against tattoos.