Not All Tattoos Have Meaning (& That’s Okay)

I can’t tell you how many times in the past year I’ve been stopped during a workout or study session by someone with a burning question for me.

“What does your tattoo mean?”

In this TED talk—no, I’m kidding. In this rant about my experience as someone with tattoos, I will single-handedly deconstruct the stigma surrounding tattoos. Specifically, I’d like to address the misconception that every single tattoo has to have meaning. 

A bit about my ink

Yes, I refer to my tattoos as “ink.” I can just imagine my tattoo artist cringing right now. He hates any of the common phrases like “ink” or “yats.”

Anyway, I currently have eight tattoos. Some have meaning and some don’t. The coffee mug on my ankle? Purely because I think it’s cute.

My first tattoo was my grandmother’s signature. This one had sentimental value because she passed on my birthday years ago and I wanted something to remind me of her each day. 

After that, it was all a blur. I just wanted some cool art on my body. Several of my tattoos have meaning to me, and others I got merely because I liked them.

An outsider’s perspective 

I totally get why some people think every tattoo has to have meaning. It’s a pretty permanent decision (I guess very permanent). However, for those of us that crave some new art on our body as a form of expression, often the meaning isn’t so black and white. I personally find tattoos mesmerizing—I think every tattoo has a story. There’s no doubt about that. But sometimes the story is just, “I wanted it, so I got it.” 

The “you’re going to regret it” mantra

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me that I’m going to regret my tattoos when I’m older. I mean, maybe you’ll be right? But honestly, I don’t see that happening. I see myself being the cool grandma at Christmas, if you catch my drift. 

Everyone has a way they like to express themselves. For some, it may be painting, drawing or acting. For others, it may be getting some cool art on their skin.

Eliminating the stigma

Thankfully, the workplace is warming up to tattoos. Or at least mine is.

Tattoos are so common and so many people are finally realizing that having tattoos doesn’t speak to someone’s work ethic or lack of it. 

If everyone could start viewing tattoos as a form of expression—and not an indication of character—it would make life a lot easier. 

Images: 12, 3