I suppose you could say I’ve always loved tattoos, at least since I was old enough to notice that they existed. There is a part of me, deep within my soul, that is connected with art and creativity. I’m not sure what exactly it is or what it means, but it stems from having a mother who is a professional realism painter and a father who, once upon a time, had a love for photography. Many people without tattoos look down on those who do, saying that we are ‘ruining ourselves’ or our careers for the rest of our lives. What they aren’t grasping is the meaning behind it. It’s not just a tattoo for a lot of us, it’s an expression, an art form relating to something we are passionate enough about to want to carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Me personally? At age 20, I have two tattoos and aspirations of getting many more. The first was on my left shoulder where it reads “Alis Volat Propriis” which means “She flies with her own wings” in Latin. I know, not the most original tattoo in the world, but after months of consideration I decided it was perfect for me. I asked the artist to create a custom font with some reference pictures and the day after I moved out on to my own for the first time, she gave me a perfect piece of art that will forever remind me of what it took to break away from everyone else’s wants and needs and go out onto my own to succeed in my own light.
My second tattoo actually has a much more weighted meaning. When I was very young, an immediate family member of mine was becoming increasingly more mentally and even physically abusive the older I became. One day, I finally took a stand for myself during an argument which resulted in her physically retaliating for my resistance. She gripped my neck and pushed me up against the wall behind me until my eyes began to grow fuzzy at the edges. I realized all of the sudden, that she actually might choke me to death if I give her the chance. So, I began to fight back and thankfully was able to get away, and far away. That was the beginning of the end, and the beginning of my exit from her life out of respect for myself. To this day, she will not admit that any of the terrible events from my past actually happened or that she is responsible for them. She actually wants me to believe that our “differences” were my fault and that I made up the whole story. It’s saddening really to see someone you love so enveloped by mental instability and denial, but at the same time, each action she took against me made me a little bit of a stronger person. Despite her efforts to deny my past, I wanted to remember forever, not out of lack of forgiveness, but in efforts of self awareness. So, on my right thigh I have a set of wings, one good angel and one bad angel wing. It’s a rather large piece which wraps around my thigh and is off-putting to many who see it, but when I look at it I know why, and that’s what is important. Tattoos are about so much more than what people can see on the surface. They are about expression, art, memories, love, passion and independence.