to tattoo or not tattoo

ink-inspiration
images via here, here, here, and here

A couple of weeks back, I accompanied Briley (whose stellar photography you've seen all over this blog) to get her tenth tattoo. She's a collector, you could say, of meaningful pieces of ink scattered around her body. Watching the artist move the ink around her arm into something so beautiful and permanent, my itch for a new tattoo became greater and greater.

For those of you who don't know, I have a tattoo on my back already; a vintage typewriter in a frame with keys that spell out SISTERHOOD. I love my tattoo. Having a tattoo is pretty taboo (no pun intended) because I'm actually Jewish (or, more like, Jew-ish). Getting this first one was a really big decision, and something I was sure to included my parents on so they felt like I wasn't just running off and getting inked to rebel against them and their religion. They helped me pick the shop and the placement on my body, as well as narrow down what I wanted.

After meeting my artist and seeing her take on my vision, the tattoo got about five times bigger than originally planned. However, it also became at least 10 times more beautiful and personal. For those of you without tattoos, I guess this is a good time for me to say that getting to know your artist and letting them do what they do best is a super important part of the process. I knew I wanted a feminist tattoo that had to do with writing, but I'm not an artist, and I could have never envisioned what she created. I love my tattoo, and I'm so glad I got it.

They say that once you get one, you immediately want another. I got my first in 2010, but I've been stewing over what to get next since then. I have two ideas for what I want next: one I came up with a few years back, and one I came up with about a year ago. They sort of go together, and could even become a sort of sleeve, depending on what the artist thinks.

The first idea is a fork, which is representative of my relation with food, as well as body image. I want it on the inside of my left bicep. I have spent a significant amount of time looking at images of forks online to get an idea of what I want. Ultimately, I want to put the actual design elements in the hand of a tattoo artist. However, I get worried that a fork might be harder to get right. What if the prongs end up different widths? What if the shading looks too harsh or unrealistic? Y'all, there are a lot of bad fork tattoos out there! It's scary! The fork, while a smaller tattoo compared to the second idea, feels like a bigger commitment in some ways.

fork-tattoos
images via here and here

The second idea is the one I'm really fired up about right now. I want the mantra 'all bodies are good bodies' on the outside of my left bicep, and I want it framed by different flowers. I've been really inspired by vintage botanical drawings, which I think could be a cool way to show flowers of different shapes and sizes and colors. In my mind, the flowers could wrap around my arm a little to eventually frame the fork as well.

vintage-botanical-prints
images via here and here

After watching Briley get her tattoo, I went home and started researching tattoo shops with female artists. The shop where I got my first tattoo used to be all women, but now the only women is the owner, who only does large portrait pieces, and the rest of the artists are male. It's really important to me to be tattooed by a woman, and by a shop that supports female artists. I found a shop that's actually right down the street from where I live that has four female artists, beautiful artwork, and amazing reviews. I think I've even picked which artist I want to do my ink!

So what's stopping me? I feel weird admitting this, but I worry about having a tattoo that's so visible. 99% of me is like, yes, you're getting this incredible artwork to show off to people, of course you would get it in a visible place! I often think about how I wish more people could see my back tattoo on a regular basis because I don't wear a lot of strappy tops, and I want to show it off! On the other hand, the 1% of me gets hung up on the fact that I'll have this forever, and while I want it visible now, I don't know if I'll want it in 30 years. I want to want it! I try to picture my mom or someone my mom's age with a similar tattoo. Obviously most of my generation will have similar, visible tattoos 30 years from now because it's become such a normal thing for us to do, where as it wasn't when our moms were our age. If my mom had a visible tattoo on her bicep now, I imagine there would be a level of shame she would experience in her daily life, from the workplace to the grocery store. By time I'm her age, I hope it will be more widely accepted. Also, let's be honest, I hope to never have a job where I couldn't have visible tattoos.

Do any of you who have visible tattoos ever experience shaming, whether from people in our generation or older folks? I know it's more common for women to experience the criticism, which is a whole, huge problem in and of itself. Did you have similar hesitations before taking the plunge? Should I reconsider the placement of the all bodies piece to somewhere like the front of my thigh, where I have more control over showing versus not showing it? Am I overthinking this and should just do what I want and not care what anyone else thinks?

29 comments

  1. I have a visible tattoo (on my thigh) that I just got a few months ago. I thought it wouldn't be that visible, but honestly, I usually wear skirts that are slightly above the knee, so it's usually on display. It's still easy to hide if I feel like I need to.

    I have experienced some shaming on the internet, and I do think it has to do with being a woman and having a very large, very feminine tattoo. (Tattoos aren't for women, women don't own their bodies, etc.). I haven't had any bad experiences in person, though! So as worried as I was about having a tattoo, it hasn't made any difference in my day-to-day life.

    A tattoo is a big decision - but of course, you already know that! I think if you want it, you should get it. I personally haven't found the visibility of my tattoo to be as big of a deal as I thought it'd be.

    PS - if you are looking for a lady-owned, lady-employing tattoo shop, I went to Golden Age Tattoos on South Lamar and got my tattoo done by the owner, Annie Mess. It was awesome and she was awesome. I'm not sure it's 100% ladies but there are lots of female artists there.

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  2. And here's my tattoo and story in case you're interested! xo http://www.xomia.com/2014/07/rabbit-heart.html

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  3. Golden Age is the shop I want to go to! I fell in love with Cara's work in particular. I am so into their mission and artwork.


    I'm so sorry you've had to deal with the shaming online (ugh, internet trolls), but I'm glad you haven't had issues in person. If I remember correctly, you work in a field that's a balance of creatives and more technical professionals, right? (digital media or something of the like? so sorry if I'm wrong on that!) I feel like the writing field has so many options between creative workplaces and more professional ones, and i aim to be working in a more creative setting anyway where a visible tattoo won't be an issue. Is this something you worry about for down the line?


    Also, GIRL. I'm obsessed with your tattoo. It's tattoos like yours that make me really, really want one.

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  4. I LOVE Cara's work! When I look at beautiful tattoo art, it just makes me want to cover myself in girly, pretty art.


    I am indeed in digital marketing, and honestly, it's still hard for me to scope out. So far, my current employer doesn't care about my tattoo/shaved head, but I made sure to modify my appearance in ways that are easy to hide, just in case! I may have a different job when I actually graduate. I'm thinking most people won't care, though. I'm the same as you - I can't see myself being happy in a position that isn't okay with visible tattoos, unless (for some reason) I'm meeting with a lot of clients.


    And thanks! I really, really love my tattoo and all the fears I had about making the plunge were dissipated almost immediately.

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  5. I've been trying to make the decision to get a tattoo since the minute I turned 18. I love them. I love the look of them. The thought that went into them. The feelings the represent. But I just can't get over how permanent they are. My sister and I often talk about getting our first ones together and I'm kind of hoping it happens when she comes down to visit this holiday season.
    As far as visible tattoos are concerned.... I feel a lot of the same anxiety as any other tattoo, I guess. Dean and I often talk about sleeves- we both just think they're so beautiful. And I think it would be AMAZING to have a super cool, super bold sleeve that makes me smile every day. But then I think, will this be amazing in a wedding dress? Will this be amazing at a job interview? Will this be amazing at my future kids playdate?


    Obviously I don't have an answer for you haha but know that I do admire your thoughtfulness and excitement towards such an adventure. And if you do decide to get one or two right there on your pretty little arms, I'd sit and stare with wonder and love.

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  6. You and Dean would both look amazing with sleeves! I know I personally think a lot about how tattoos will look in a wedding dress, and I love the idea of having beautiful artwork to show off on that day.


    I hope you and your sister do get tattoos together! Then I can sit and stare!

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  7. I definitely do not think you're over-thinking this! I'm in the same boat as Jen from With Luck Blog--haven't been able to get over how permanent it is. I've been looking at tiny tattoos lately, and have been considering getting something really small and not super visible. Since I don't know what I want my forever job/field to be, I definitely need to keep my options open. One of the OK Cupid questions is about having large tattoos, and I have to admit, when I see the answer is yes, I hesitate, although I think more of that is what is their tattoo and what is it than the fact that they actually have one. I've seen cute guys with ugly tattoos and been immediately turned off! It's really complicated stuff. When I see older men with tattoos, I always think that they were probably in the navy or something, and think about what their life was like before, which is really cool. It'd be nice for that to be the case for older women, too! Maybe put a temporary tattoo there for a while and see how you feel about it?


    -Jen
    yourstrulyjen.com

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  8. I got my first tattoo when I was 29, and got two more over the years, but like you, mine are small and on my back, therefore safe and secret. Two years ago last September, my father passed away and on impulse that can only be attributed to the grieving process, I went and got a quote that made me think of him emblazoned on my forearm in the most permanent way.

    Since I did this on impulse and without my usual planning, what I pictured in my head as dainty almost undetectable tribute became something that is clearly seen by everyone, everyday of my life. I panicked a bit. What had I done? But as it healed, I quickly grew to love it. As a 50 year old high school teacher, I'm sure I occasionally get a reproving look, but I have never received a negative comment.

    I love this tattoo. It reminds me of my dad everyday, and I often find myself running my finger across it when I am at my most reflective.

    "Follow your heart, but take your brain with you."

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  9. I have a tattoo on my inner foot. I was stupid and thought that getting it on my inner right foot under my ankle bone would be a good "hiding place." Wrong, it's visible ALL the time. Working in a professional environment, I feel self conscious about it and am thus very limited in my shoe choices. As a flats lover, this kills me. Goodbye cropped pants and flats. Goodbye flats all together if not wearing bootleg pants that cover my heels/feet.
    I don't mind my tattoo, I actually like it a lot. I just wish I thought more about placement and had hid it better.
    My husband on the other hand has a tattoo on his inner bicep and it looks really good. He doesn't feel self-conscious about it at all and gets a lot of compliments on it. However, there is a much different stigma about men with tattoos vs. women. (which is shitty).

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  10. I don't have tattoos, and I probably never will, but I love the way they look on other people. I think tattoos do still have a stigma and a stereotype in some places, sadly, and especially on certain people -- tattoos give a different aura to different people, depending on their personality and style. And I think were I ever to get a tattoo, personally it just wouldn't fit the way I choose to portray myself to have it be a visible one. I think I tend to come off as looking more retro/sweet/feminine, and that's how I like to look and choose to look. But if I had a visible tattoo it would probably push me into the rockabilly/badgirl look just because I already have a very distinct taste for retro style(not to mention bright red hair). And while I love that look and have nothing against it, it just isn't who I am.

    Besides which, I'm the daughter-in-law of a pastor (and the granddaughter of a pastor) and while neither side of the family thinks that tattoos are the end of the world (they do both fall on the side of "don't get one" but it's also not a huge deal if you do), there is definitely a sort of respect I have for them and how I, as a small representative of both sides of the family, might reflect on them that would definitely play into whether I ever chose to get a tattoo. (The "Jew-ish" made me laugh, by the way. I don't know why that struck me as humorous, but it did.)

    But I think what is more important than what others might think is how is it going to make YOU feel wherever it's placed? Will it make you feel more like yourself, and more like the outside of you portrays who you really are if you have a more visible tattoo? Will it empower you? Will it make you feel proud and beautiful and like it is part of what you stand for? Will it express the best of you? Will your feelings of pride for the art outweigh your trepidations about having it be visible? Does it fit who you want to be on the outside? I think regardless of what other people think of the decision, it's really more about whether having a visible tattoo is something that feels inherently YOU, or how you want to be, or whether it fits who you want to be more to have a tattoo that you can reveal when you want, or keep to yourself when you want.

    I love love love the last idea. If I were ever to get a tattoo, it would definitely be something along that line. Gorgeous.

    And... I think you would look fantastic with another tattoo, whatever it is!
    xo
    Kristina
    www.eccentricowl.com

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  11. i dont have tattoos and i never will (I HATE NEEDLES MORE THAN ANYTHING) but I think this is an interesting topic. I'm not opposed to tattoos, especially when they are tastefully done, but I can definitely see why one would want to be able to cover them. As a photographer I know on a wedding day I've worked with brides that have a sleeve and for me it distracts me from their natural beauty and happiness on their day. (Suits normally cover mens tattoos, but I've seen them on the neck popping out of suits and still distracting). I mean a wedding day is just one day and I honestly don't really care if people get tattoos cause their body is their body. But it is so permanent, and you have SERIOUSLY beautiful skin so I can see why you would question it showing. I like the idea that someone mentioned below of trying a temporary tattoo in the area. But I think just do whatever you feel comfortable with. You are beautiful and strong no matter what!

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  12. Nicole, I love the vintage flower idea! I've had tattoos on my mind as well, but it's hard for me to think of something that I wouldn't regret later. I think as far as it goes with 'shaming', it really depends on the culture of a family/city/country. With a tattoo that you could hide though, it's kind of a secret! :)

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  13. I love what you said about seeing older men with tattoos and thinking about their history and how the art they chose plays into that. I think our generation will have more women with the same type of situation, where the tattoo they got when they were younger represents some sort of battle or victory they fought, and the tattoo has its own story.

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  14. I absolutely love your tattoo and the story--especially the impulse--behind it. This was a really important tattoo and when you got it, you knew it needed to happen (or at least it sounds like that was the case). I'm glad to hear that you haven't gotten negative comments in person, both as a teacher and a person in a semi-conservative town like Pflugerville.


    I love that you have this message and this piece of your dad with you, especially visibly. I really think the idea of the visible reminder is part of what draws me to wanting to get it, because it's something I need constant reassurance about and putting it on my body seems like it will make it more a part of me, undeniably.


    Thanks so much for sharing, Kari!

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  15. It makes me so sad to hear that you're self-conscious about your tattoo, or in particular the placement. I'm realizing that even my experience in a professional environment has been very liberal, where even people high up the food chain had visible tattoos, so it's hard for me to relate to the feeling of needing to hide the tattoo--and even on your foot! That must be so stressful! Is the concern more of a dress code/management perspective, or a client/student (you work with students, yes?) perspective?


    I think the dynamic of being two tattooed people in a relationship is so interesting as far as yours being small and mostly-hidden and his being rather visible and frequently-complimented. I personally don't understand where the stigma even comes from, though I'm hyper aware of it. Is it just a women don't own their bodies and shouldn't draw on something that belongs to someone else thing? Hmph.

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  16. I think I thought you were tattooed, actually! It's interesting to think about the different things a tattoo can evoke, even just having one, regardless of what it is. I think of tattoos as being really feminine, but from what you said, I totally see how the sweet retro turns into bad-girl rockabilly (neither of which is better than the other, in general, though one is clearly more how you personally identify) with the addition of a tattoo. I also think it's interesting to consider how the way we dress/style ourselves/what we do to our bodies represents the people around us. Some might say that's a version of someone else having agency over your body, while others see it as being aware--not even necessarily respectful or considerate--of the relations you have with people who are tied to you.


    When I think about whether or not the tattoo is me, I know that it is. I guess my concern is that I struggle to envision myself 20 or 40 years from now. Will this still be me? Will I change that much? Is that good or bad if I do, or don't, change? I guess it comes back to permanency!

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  17. Haha, that's great! Nah, I love tattoos but like you said, the permanency thing scares me! I change my mind so much on hair and makeup and all of that... I think unless it was something that absolutely resonated with me to the core, I wouldn't like it in five or ten years.

    I bet our views on tattoos being feminine or bad-girl/rockabilly is influenced by who we see them on the most! I've started to see more feminine girls with tattoos, but most of the people I know with tattoos in real life have that more hardcore vibe. Which I think is an awesome look, but definitely not my own! I think if my husband ever got a tattoo, I might consider it as well; we've talked about matching Lord of the Rings tattoos (nerds, heh) before.

    It's such a hard decision! I can completely relate to the fear of how permanent it is, and whether you'll still love it in the far future. I suppose if you're getting that tattoo because of something you absolutely believe in or love, even if you change in the future I think it would still bring back good memories and I'm betting you'd still love it. :)

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  18. You have pretty much the exact same thought process as I do regarding the largeness of the tattoo and the placement of it. I have two tattoos...one on my wrist and one on my inner ankle. They are both small and simple and one is actually in white ink, so it's not too visible, which I wanted. I like my tattoos to be discrete as I see them as more for myself, especially my wrist one, which was my first one. I always think about professional settings and my wedding day. I would NOT want a huge tattoo taking away from my wedding dress. I actually opt for tattoos that I can hide in case they don't work with certain outfits or looks as I like to do different looks a lot, and you never know what you'll like 30 years from now, like you said. I've never been a fan of huge tattoos or sleeves. I always opt for a small, simplistic design. I've always loved minimalistic and simple things.

    I have about 7 ideas for tattoos I want, but since I don't want them to be really visible and I want to be able to cover them if I want to, it's hard to pick placements. I also like to have them in places where I can look at them. For instance, I've thought about behind the ear or the back of my neck, but then I can't even look at it when the tattoo is first and foremost for ME. Not that I think it's bad or dumb to get a tattoo that you can't directly look at, but that's just my choice for myself. I've thought about the inside of my upper arm or the back of my arm above the elbow. I just can't decide where exactly I'd want it. I always put a lot of thought beforehand into getting a tattoo as it's going to be there forever!

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  19. I have visible tattoos and I am a respected, professional in my community. I teach middle school and have found that while a few years ago my tattoos were a focal point, they no longer even come up. I don't know if it's my age, my place in my profession, or living in a little liberal town, but my tattoos seem to be no big deal to people I interact with.

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  20. I'm so excited for your possible/eventual new tattoos!


    I just got my first one in September- small typewriter font that says "resilient" on the inside of my right wrist. I don't have any pictures online, mostly because I haven't seen my parents since September and they have no idea... :)


    I actually had a totally different tattoo in mind for about a year- a tribute to my late grandfather- but about 5 months before I had planned to get it, I saw a tiny tattoo on someone's wrist online, and my gut just told me that that was what I wanted. It's simple, but for me, it represents where I'm from and everything I've been through. It's not to remind me of all the bad things I've experienced, but rather how I've overcome them. It helps to remind me and think, "hey, remember that time when x shitty thing happened? Yeah, this is nowhere near as bad- you got this." It's definitely a tattoo that's for me & my mind, just in a pretty visible place. Plus, the word-nerd in me thinks that resilient is a ridiculously beautiful word.


    I LOVE LOVE both of your ideas, but ultimately, it's you that has to love them and be comfortable with them. I say, take all the time you need.

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  21. I love tattoos. I have a rather large one right on top of my right foot and unless I'm wearing boots or long enough dress pants, it is always showing. I haven't gotten too much shaming over it, probably because once someone asks me about it and I explain it to them, they get it. It's about Jesus, though, so that usually settles people down.Or totally sets them off, depending on the person, I guess.

    -Chelsea
    chelsandthecity.blogspot.com

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  22. Wow! Those tattoos sounds absolutely amazing! I'm all for the one with the flowers especially, just cause it sounds like it will turn out beautifully. I'm sure the fork tattoo will turn out great too. I think you just have to find the right artist and I believe you will. There are people at my office who have tattoos on their forearms and fingers and it's not a big deal at all. It is more of a relaxed environment (I work at a magazine), so that could be why. But if you love your tattoo now, I'm sure you'll love it 30 years from now! Maybe the love for it will even grow!


    About comments from other people and what they think: who cares? I know it's easy to say that and hard to live (people will always say stupid things on the street or ask questions), but fuck 'em! You chose these tattoos for a reason and they can say whatever they want, but it's not going to remove the tattoos from your body.


    Also, I love that you wrote Jew-ish! Cracked me up! :)
    ~Sara

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  23. the word resilient AND a typewriter? we're obvi kindred spirits, my dear.

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  24. i have so much to reply to this comment, so it might have to happen in more than one sitting. first, thank you for writing it. i spent all day thinking about it and re-reading it, and i'll probably continue to do so for a long time.


    topic 1 - touching: i, too, have experienced the touching of strangers upon my tattoo. when i go to bars, which is very rare, i almost always have some white guy caress my back/shoulder blade in line for a drink, as i walk past, etc. honestly more people touch it than actually ask about it. I AM NOT YOUR PROPERTY. TATTOOS DO NOT MAKE SOMEONE PUBLIC PROPERTY. UGH. i'm so sorry you've had to deal with that, especially at work.


    topic 2 - messaging: initially, the reason i wanted the fork was because i knew what it meant, but it was subtle enough that other people wouldn't immediately know. i don't mind explaining it, and i don't think i would in the future either. after reading your comment, i'm actually starting to wonder if subtlety would serve me in this situation, because the one with text will always be visible and would sort of define me, both now and in the future. now i'm okay with that, but in 30 years, i don't know. the subtlety of the fork means i just have a pretty tattoo that has a meaning that i might or might not share. hmph. this is the opposite of everything i had been thinking, so it's kind of got me freaked out!


    ack, i had a brain fart. will write more later. also, check your mail. you should be getting something soon, if not already.

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  25. Gah, I didn't explain it right- it's just "resilient", but in classic typewriter font. But, I still think we're kindred souls ;)

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  26. still perfect! that's how my sisterhood tattoo started out, and then it turned into a whole typewriter. it sounds like small, but visible, was the way to go for you. i want to see it one of these days!

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  27. I'm not usually one to post comments but I can never pass up an opportunity to talk about tattoos:) I have a few myself and I have always loved them, since the first one I got, two little red stars on my ankle, so original, I know! That being said my mother has always hated tattoos. Any occasion she sees them or I happen to mention tattoos around her she puts on her disappointed/angry face, is always saying I will regret them, begging me not to tattoo my arms before I get married, telling me how bad they will look when I'm 80. It has been really hard for me, I've tried to explain to her that they make me happy and I love my body with tattoos more than I ever did without. For her she still has that mindset that tattoos are taboo and thinks that I've made a horrible mistake. On top of my mother there are always people asking me why I would ever want to get tattoos and I get a lot of questioning looks from people. The worst I've experienced is in stores when parents will usher their kids away from me with looks of horror when they see my tattoos.
    All of that being said I also encounter a lot of positive reactions when it comes to my tattoos! People asking what they mean, where I got them done, who my artist was. I am a lot happier to answer these questions. And again, my favorite experiences are when parents explain what they are to their children who ask. They reason I've brought up kids in both scenarios is that it makes me really happy to see that it is becoming totally acceptable and children are learning not to judge people on appearance alone. On the opposite side, it makes me really sad when parents assume you might be dangerous or violent just because of your looks.

    On to placement of your tattoo- whichever you decide to go with- i do have one tattoo on my arm and my legs are nearly covered. Even with all this if I wear pants and a shirt with mid-length sleeves most people wouldn't know I have any tattoos. I like having the choice to cover them or have most of them showing (I love wearing shorts to show off as many as I can.) Once I got my second tattoo I never really hesitated after that, I knew I wanted to have quite a few, but it's not the same for everyone. Tattoos are highly personal so it really is your choice in the end and whatever you decide, it's the right choice for you:) Make sure you are doing what you think is right and don't let other people's opinions influence your choice.
    Hope this helps and good luck:)

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  28. Haha oh no I hope I didn't break your brain! I spent a lot of time thinking about and re-reading my own comment before posting it, so no shame. It's a really big topic with personally large implications, so it's worth talking about a lot.

    I could not imagine a guy seeing a tattoo on my back and touching it without receiving an elbow in the gut from me, but I'm pretty brazen. The only men who have ever touched my shoulder tattoos are my artist and my boyfriend, and both have received explicit permission to do so ;) Nothing makes you public property & subject to commentary more than a tattoo or a baby, but at least the baby isn't permanently attached (or at least I should hope not).

    Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of text in tattoos; it's too literal for my tastes, and I prefer weird shapes and designs to convey what I want. And you're very right that having text can make something too literal, rather than keeping the imagery flexible and being able to make it into anything you want. I would be willing to get a lyric or quote, but it would have to be the perfect lyric or quote, and thus far I haven't come across one. And I'm a font freak, so it would take me forever to find a font! I will say that I have a lot of flexibility in what I say about my tattoos because of the lack of text--I can say I like Alexander Calder, that I have a love for the National Gallery of Art, that I love postmodern art (all true), that I design mobiles, that Sandy is my uncle (not so true), etc., and it would all be something where people nod and move along. And the sailboat? I could tell a billion stories about that tattoo without even lying because of all it means to me. I'm not pigeonholed by one thing, since my tattoos don't mean just one thing to me. (If they did, I wouldn't have them.) They're representative of an idea that is merged together by hundreds of little stories and memories and needs and wants and wishes and dreams and goals.



    That's just me, though. A lot of people get tattoos because they look cool, and I mean...hell, they do! Still not sure about my boyfriend's sister though--she has a Pikachu behind her ear. Don't do that.


    Don't freak out! The best thing about something like this is that you have the rest of your life to decide. Tattoo artists and your body are both going nowhere, so you have plenty of time to think and ponder and decide!

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  29. Omgomgomg tattooooos! I looove tattoos and have lots of things to say!!!


    So, I was fervently opposed to tattoos for a loonnnng time, but that's because I grew up in a family in which tattoos were not celebrated and were always negatively judged. As I have grown up and gotten more confident, independent, and liberal (let's just be real), I have learned to really love tattoos. I firmly believe (at least for myself, because who am I to judge someone else??) that any tattoos I get should mean something. I also want any tattoos to get to have some longevity. I wouldn't want to get something that I'm really into just right now, but something that will always be something that I value...does that make sense?


    I got my first tattoo almost two years ago - the female symbol, about the size of a quarter, on the top of my left foot. I have always been so proud to be a woman, and I strongly believe in fighting for my rights as a woman and in constantly empowering all the women around me. I am still in love with my tattoo, and I don't think I ever WON'T be in love with it. I would love to get more tattoos and fully intend on getting more eventually: a full- or half-sleeve (probably in the style of @valentinadesign - check her out on Instagram!), something related to my dogs (yes, I'm a crazy dog lady but they are everything to me), and something to do with Harry Potter (another huuuge part of my life!). I just need to save up now for all the tattoos I want!


    I definitely get comments on my tattoo often. I hate that women seem to get more criticism about tattoos than men do - I notice this even in my own family. My brother got a tattoo several years ago - a big kind of gaudy one on his forearm, and my family loved it (even though they have always been vocal about hating tattoos). Then I get this little tattoo on my foot and I got lots of blank stares and "Are you serious?" responses. Kind of heartbreaking, but I love my damn tattoo and my family can suck it, haha. The school I work in is a bit more conservative, so I was a little nervous about wearing flats at first, but ultimately, being a feminist is something I'm proud of, and I feel like I shouldn't have to cover up my tattoo. It's small and tasteful - no big deal.


    As for tattoo placement, I think you should do what makes you feel comfortable. Think about it for a little while. Try drawing a tattoo (or getting a henna or temporary tattoo) in a place you might want to get one and see how you feel out in public with it. If you like it, go bold and get it where people can see it, but if it makes you uncomfortable, try a more subtle or coverable place on your body.


    I have to say that I LOVE the idea of getting a tattoo to represent your relationship with food and your body. You're such an amazing person. If we lived by each other, we'd totally hang out. Feminism + tattoos + body image are my jam.

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