I Thought I Wanted a Tattoo, But Here’s Why I Changed My Mind

Towards the end of my first semester at UF, I desperately longed for a tattoo. I’d been put through the ringer emotionally and physically. I endured frustrations I had never anticipated, and I came out the other end a stronger, more resilient person. I convinced myself that the only way to signify the end of the course of my struggle and journey was to get ink with meaning behind it.

I perused the Internet, went through several phases of my intended design and picked out the parlor I wanted to visit. If I could’ve gotten needled the next day, I would have. I’m thankful now that I didn’t have immediate access to a tattoo shop at that time, because I realize today that the strength I desired wouldn’t come from any image applied to my skin. It comes from within.

For one thing, my skin is extremely sensitive, which always concerned my as far as getting a tattoo went. If my ears couldn’t even handle getting pierced, the last thing I wanted was a violent reaction to tattoo ink. Not only that, but I and everyone else my age are changing rapidly. I can’t tell you how many times I look back on my previous beliefs and think “Wow, I was so wrong then and so right now.” I can only imagine history will repeat itself, especially if I immortalized my present mentality in permanent art. I continue to learn and grow, and the beauty in that stems from its impermanence and infinite possibilities. Why box myself into one chapter of my life?

While tattoo enthusiasts may appreciate that aspect — their bodies being a tapestry of the story of their lives — I aesthetically didn’t want a lot of tattoos, so I didn’t want the limitations of having one little tattoo that didn’t fully encompass who I am.

However, the most important factor in my change of heart on tattoos was the weight I had placed on what the tattoo would mean. This tattoo would symbolize me turning over a new leaf, push me forward into my future and make me a more complete person. Now, with a clearer head, I see that I can’t derive my growth from body art, no matter how pretty. The only way I could achieve that was through working on who I was and how I felt on the inside; no grand gesture could ever be as effective as a strong sense of self and wellbeing.

Though I still love the tattoo design I so deeply yearned for and could possibly get it inked in the future, I decided to put it to rest for now and continue to find my inner peace instead.