I was on my favourite forum this evening and got drawn into a discussion about tattoos. Love them or loathe them.
There seemed to be an array of opinions:
I hate them, they look horrible, trashy, cheap, always wanted more, small and subtle only, cool design then, would no doubt be a little bit shit now, I love them, could never decide what to have, etc, etc.
For me the last one is the most important. I love my tattoos. I like the idea of a half sleeve floral design but wouldn't have it done...unless...it meant something to me.
My first tattoo is the least fashionable or indeed exciting as a piece of art. I chose AΩ because at the time I felt a cross was a Christian symbol misused by fashion. I wanted a sign of faith rather than the possiblity that the cross would be misinterpreted as just decoration. I was reading my husband's study bible and in it he had a bookmark with the design on it. I looked up the passage. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending." Yes, I thought that is my faith! I popped across the road to the tattooist and 15 mins later there it was on my arm. With the benefit of hindsight, I realised that when I had been shown it in the mirror I was so nervous he could have tattooed anything and I wouldn't have noticed! The tat was really lower down my arm than I would have liked, nevertheless I was very proud of it and still am. It has been the trigger for numerous convesations about faith and that was my aim.
My second is my husband's name on my shoulder. Not long after our infertility was diagnosed, he bought me my eternity ring. I wanted to return the favour and give him another lasting symbol of my love. I realise to some it appears cheap and tacky (and I have been told this) and I really, quite honestly COULDN'T GIVE A SH*T, because that doesn't change the meaning to me or to my husband.
Then when little bear arrived, I didn't want to add his name. Only because I felt more than one name on me and would read like a war memorial! We used to read a series of books to him at bedtime, and these books had a recognisable character - Little Bear. I decided to have Little Bear added to my other shoulder.
My fourth tattoo is by far the best designed and most visually attractive, it's Dad's memorial. I spent alot more on this and went to a great artist. When had my first tattoo, Dad's only comment was "Oh, if I had one I would've had a shamrock". So I had the cross I didn't want the first time around, and inside it a shamrock. As another link to my Dad's Irish identity I added "le gra go deo" underneath or "with love forever" in English.
They are my tattoo stories and have deep meanings for me. So when I am older and my arms are not what they were I shall not be showing them off, but neither shall I be ashamed of my tattoos. As age will not diminish the reasons behind each one of them.