My Tattoos Don’t Have Some Deep Meaning … And That’s Okay

From the time I turned 18, I knew I wanted to start getting tattoos. I’d had a board on my Pinterest filled with ideas for ages, but I just needed the legal status and the money to work with. Despite that, my whole 18th and 19th years were spent tattoo-free (something I still regret since I had some great jobs during these times).

Sure during this period I’d had plenty of opportunities to acquire some ink, but every time an opportunity arose, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I found myself constantly questioning my ideas when I’d get close to getting one, wondering things like, what does this mean to me? And will I regret it in the long run?

Everyone I talked to about tattoos, whether they had one or not, would tell me some deep story behind their ink or idea for it – their butterfly for this person who had passed or their heart for their child, you know, the unique things people do to recognize someone special. But I just wasn’t connecting the way these people did. Don’t get me wrong, I think for some people, tattoos can be an incredible way to memorialize some person or event in their life – and that’s awesome. I just don’t feel that way in terms of my own skin.

I thought for a while that maybe that meant I shouldn’t be putting my time and money into tattoos, so I dropped the thought and went about my life as a busy, broke college student.

But then I met my girlfriend – the most interesting, amazing, and pro-tattoo girl I’ve ever known (to name a few attributes). I’m not kidding, if you asked her to go get tattoos on a random day of the week, she’d find the money to get something or just revel in the opportunity to go with you – and that’s just what we did.

My girlfriend is the person who helped shed light on me regarding tattoos – they don’t have to have meaning other than to serve as art displayed on your skin. They can, but they don’t have to. She had one already when we started talking, and to her it was really more about getting something she liked and having it with her forever. So when she randomly suggested to me one night that I go get my first one, I couldn’t help but just laugh and say, “okay.”

My first tattoo was a bit of nightmare – mainly for myself only. I didn’t each much beforehand (rookie mistake) and ended up passing out. Despite that, I was really satisfied with what I got and my artist. 10/10 would recommend Casey’s Tattoo in Nacogdoches to anyone who asked.

After I got it, I was bombarded by questions from everyone who saw it.

What does it mean? Why a compass? Do you have a bad sense of direction? Is it to guide you home? Why there? Is it for someone special?

All to which, I can honestly say, I have really no answer for other than this: the compass I have was the only tattoo I’d had pinned since I started my Pinterest board and hadn’t deleted over time as I grew as a person. It was aesthetically pleasing to the eye – something that appealed to me as the wannabe hipster I am – so I wanted it on my body.

My mom didn’t get it, and she still doesn’t, nor did the multiple who asked me about it that I explained this to. To be honest though, I really don’t care. My thought is this – this is my body, and my life. I have one opportunity to make my body what I want, and to be happy in my skin, and I’m not going to waste any more of my time second guessing the decisions I want to make regarding it because of the thoughts of others.

So naturally, I got another one. Casey’s Tattoo again, by the way. I’m not really sure I’ll ever go anywhere else while I’m living in East Texas.

Again, I was asked the questions along the same lines as the last one. I get it, people are curious and they want to know why. I also get that most people do get tattoos for a very specific reason. Like I’ve said though, that’s not for me.

A lot of people are never going to understand this concept that myself, my girlfriend, and I’m sure a small portion of the tatted population live by, and that’s okay. All I ask is that you respect me and don’t tell me I’m making a mistake when I tell you I got a tattoo simply because I just wanted it on my body.

My point here is, at the end of the day, all you need to think about is what directly affects you. A tattoo of a compass on my forearm more than likely does not have any implication on your life – so please, just let me be and have my meaningless tattoos. I promise you I understand the decision that I made is permanent, and that it – for some stupid reason – limits my ability to get certain jobs. I absolutely promise, I am aware of these things. I would not spend large amounts of money, endure pain, and have something on my body forever if I didn’t get these concepts.

Tattoos can have meaning, but they don’t always have to. Let’s all just get along and be tatted (or not) for whatever reason (or lack thereof) we wish.