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Tearing Down the Stigma of Tattoos

I’ll be honest—when it comes to my body, I don’t really care all that much about it.

Some people treat their bodies like temples, which is, you know, good for them. But I’ve never really felt a connection to my body, almost in a way that feels a bit like I don’t fit in it. But nonetheless, I have big plans for it.

This summer, I spent time figuring out how to make my body more of my own. I started working out, which was actually FUN because there was a TV in the gym, and Golden Girls was always on.

You know—that Netflix-style bingeing will follow me for the rest of my life.

But I also chose clothes that I wanted to wear, instead of just what fit. I chopped my hair off, and got my very own conch piercing.

However, I still felt like I was missing something. Thankfully, I knew exactly what it was.

A tattoo.

So, about a week ago, I headed to a tattoo studio in Newark, Ohio. Being me, I was going to go by myself, but somehow managed to rope two of my friends into coming with me simply by saying, “Hey, I’m going to get a tattoo in about two hours.”

Walking into the studio, I immediately panicked. Was I really going to make such a permanent decision? What if I hated it?

I signed my forms, and waited on an extremely comfortable couch while the tattooist set up the room.

After he’d cleaned my arm and stuck the outline on, it happened. A slight buzzing sound, a little pain—no problem.

But as I watched him draw on the outline, I felt my breath catch.

It. Was. SO. COOL.

I used to think that tattoos were not for me. At first, I could only think of the pain I’d have to endure, mostly because all the tattoos I had wanted were these elaborate constructions, teeming with details and tiny squiggles and intricate patterns. But this simple little tattoo, my little wave, was something I’d come up with one evening, and I knew it had to be on my body. Many of my friends have tattoos, and I always thought that they were some of the bravest beings ever.

This little tattoo, which honestly can’t be more than the size of a quarter, has made me feel more like myself than anything I’ve done in my entire life.  Since leaving high school, I’ve constantly been on the lookout for things that I could point at and say, “Hey, that’s me!” And finally, I’ve found it.

I have received nothing but compliments about it, too. I was terrified that people would think it’s basic, dumb, and too plain, in the way that only people with anxiety can dream up, but everyone kind of touches it in awe and goes, “Wow, that’s awesome.”

This is something that means something to me, and probably will forever. If that kind of permanence doesn’t scare you, then get a tattoo. It doesn’t have to be big, or elaborate, but something personal to you.

And there’s always the beauty in them.


McKenna Ross

Denison '19

Hi everybody! My name is McKenna, and words have always been my best friends. I'm a big Star Wars fan, baseball (and the Houston Astros) is life, I chug copious amounts of tea every day, and my literary idol is, and will always be, Anne Shirley-Cuthbert.
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