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Body Like a Scrapbook: A Look Into My Tattoos as Permanent Mementos

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at RIT chapter.

The best song to listen to as you read this article: “No Going Back” by Yuno

I am a HUGE empath. I love finding and feeling connections with everyone who interacts with my existence. I say “existence” because even if I meet someone’s eyes for a second or exchange a quick comment in the bathroom, I feel a comforting sense of togetherness.

I am also addicted to getting tattoos!

So what is the only logical connection between these two facts? I tend to get tattoos that remind me of anyone I once cherished. I could know someone for about a month and dedicate a whole tattoo idea to them. This permanent alteration to my body may seem concerning, but I swear, it’s a great thing to do. 

Let’s do a quick Tattoo Tour and then get into why I love getting tattoos relating to anything and everything in my life:

Tattoo Tour

I have four tattoos at the time I’m writing this article (I plan to get two more at the beginning of October). 

  • My first tattoo is of my cat Linc’s birthday sitting on a cherry blossom branch. Linc is the best boy I have ever known and he has gotten me through so much. I knew I had to have the “chunk-a-munk’s” birthday tattooed on me. 
  • My second tattoo is a very large thigh piece of a Viking gal, some flowers, and a snake. I actually found this one as an “Up-for-grabs” design where I get my piercings done. It turns out that the tattoo artist made that piece two years prior and was waiting for someone to claim it. This was the most painful tattoo I have ever gotten, it took eight hours, and cost a lot of money, but now I have this beautiful piece of art on me. 
  • My third tattoo was a flash piece of a woman’s body outline with poppy flowers on her hands. I reconnected with a person I had gone to church with as a kid, and it turns out she is an incredible tattoo artist. I just had to get her design and I chose to do it on my ribs (an ouchie but not as bad as my thigh).
  • My most recent tattoo is a matching one with my best friend Amanda. Amanda and I are absolutely platonic soulmates, so we knew we had to get a tattoo together before we parted ways for college. We decided on this hilarious sad face drawn by our favorite chemist on YouTube.

Permanent Mementos

Now to explain my stance on tattoos.

As an empath and spiritual person, I believe every person is in my life for a reason. I adore trusting in fate and the universe to bring me experiences that help me grow. I also love being reminded of everyone that once played a role in my past and present. 

A quick example for you: I have been at RIT for about a month and I am already planning to get two of my friends’ designs tattooed on me. I’m trying to get a matching tattoo with someone from my Calc 3 class. I have known these people for a very short amount of time, but that doesn’t mean they’re not significant enough in my life to be remembered.

I think of my tattoos kind of like a scrapbook or yearbook. The people I care about get to be a part of it and get to sign their names (except it’s a tattoo and it’s permanently on my body).

I find it healing to be reminded of these people and animals and events. Even though the relationships may end in pain, I would like to remember the good times. I want to appreciate everything that has come into my life and changed me for the better. I do this by getting sweet, little tattoos. 

By all means, I know tattoos and other permanent alterations are not everybody’s cup of tea. It’s just important to find your own way of enjoying and remembering your existence. 

Kassidy Ricketson is a Civil Engineering Technology major and a Musical Theatre Performing Arts Scholar at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her passion is sharing vibrant stories that hopefully encapsulate the uniqueness of an individual's life.