BEDA Day 9: Tattoos and Why I Have Them

Hello, friends. How's it going? I hope your Thursday is going well--honestly mine has gone by so quickly, which is surprising considering all I've done is sit indoors and study for geology. Or at least attempt to study for geology. I dunno, guys; I think I've forgotten how to study, it's quite a problem. Send positive vibes tomorrow morning at 10:10 when I'm struggling through 40 multiple choice questions about volcanoes, earthquakes, mountain building, geologic time, and the interior of the earth. Emphasis on the struggling. But as usual, I don't want to talk about schoolwork today. I'm so bored by schoolwork; I want to talk about tattoos.

Because the majority of my readership is comprised of people I know in real life, most of you might know that I have two tattoos. I have the word "fearless" tattooed on my wrist and the coordinates of my grandparents' home tattooed on my rib cage. I got the wrist tattoo done in January 2014 and the ribcage tattoo done in March 2015. Both are super simple fonts in just black ink; that's just my aesthetic preference. I think colorful, intricate tattoos are absolutely beautiful, but only to look at, not to have inked on my body. Although never say never. (Sorry, Mom)

My tattoos both took less than an hour, (in fact, the wrist only took about 15 minutes, if that) so I don't really know much about serious tattoo artistry. All I know is I thought both designs were important enough to put on my body, and I don't regret either of them. I mean, to be fair, I've only had tattoos on my body for less than two years, (or, in the case of the ribcage tat, less than two months) but I don't see myself being overwhelmed with regret any time in the future. Okay, maybe in the future, when my skin sags and the ink blurs, I might not think the artistry is as impeccable as I think it is now, but I don't think I'll ever regret the idea of having the tattoos. Because for me, having tattoos is such a special sense of ownership and bravery that is unparalleled in all other aspects of my life.

I love the fact that I have tattoos, because it takes guts to get a tattoo. There are some brave, iron-clad, tough people who won't get tattooed, because the idea of permanent ink scares them. Or they're wary of the pain. I can't tell you how amazing it feels to live in the aftermath of getting tattooed, because I get to live in a world where I get to pretend to be brave. I might be super timid, but at the very least, I have tattoos; so many people can't say that. And maybe conservative, buttoned-up people might disagree, but I'm so proud of myself for undergoing a tattoo. It might not be the most excruciating pain in the world (in fact, it's really not THAT bad), but it's no walk in the park. It takes a certain level of tolerance and strength. I've proven to myself twice now that I have that tolerance and strength locked up within me somewhere.

And here's the other thing: I've willingly altered my body forever. That takes bravery. That takes courage. That takes confidence. Call it stupidity, call it it what you want, but I'll forever be proud of myself for being so self-assured. Because here's the secret: on a day-to-day basis, I'm the most timid, anxious, self-conscious person you might ever encounter. I'm always worrying or over-analyzing. Seemingly always on the verge of a panic attack. So having tattoos is a little reminder to myself that I can be brave. In fact, the first tattoo ("fearless") is in-part a reminder of that: to be unapologetically myself and to take that leap. Do things for my own approval and my own happiness.

So, that's why I love my tattoos. I love classifying myself in a subset of the population who's been inked up. I love the little smirk of satisfaction I get when I catch sight of my tattoo when looking down at my hands or standing naked in the mirror after a hot shower. I might not love having to explain myself to extended family, and maybe someday I'll be preaching the dangers of tattoos, but for now I'm not sorry. I'm a canvas adorned with some beautiful works of art.

The ribcage tattoo--kind of a scandalous photo. But I mean, gotta show off for Instagram, y'know?

The first tattoo about an hour after it was done--hence the red, bumpy skin.



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