I find this statement hits a little close to home. I got my first tattoo at the age of 18, as per my parent’s rules. Growing up in a Christian home, I was taught to think of my body as a temple for God – to treat it with the respect that it deserves. I think my rebellion against the classic “good little Christian girl” hit my parents a little hard (as do all my choices that stray from their idea path for me).
At Christmas time, before my grandma died, my mom’s side of the family would always get together to have a huge dinner, most of the time with presents for the cousins. After my grandma died, it weaned itself out since the group had grown SO BIG, and everyone had their own plans. This one Christmas, we were at this rec centre, and I can remember going swimming with some cousins of mine. One was fidgeting with something in her mouth at I guess I was starring at it pretty hard trying to figure out what it was so she stuck her tongue out and there was a stud! It was the first time I had seen someone like that and I was instantly hooked! From that point forward, I wanted piercings and tattoos and I wanted to be my cousin! I think I was around 10 at the time, and she was around 19 I think? After that she started getting more piercings and more tattoos, making me want them more and more.
People always say that you have to be SURE before you get a tattoo. If it’s just a spur of the moment thing, then you will regret it later on in life. My first tattoo, the Chinese character for respect, was a spur of the moment thing! I wanted a tattoo and finally, after I graduated from high school and was 18, had the courage to bring it up with my parents. Before the line was “not under my roof!” but I did convince them to let me pierce my nose for my 16th birthday so I thought I had a chance! My mom’s response was that since I was 18 now, and it was my body, I could do what I wanted. My dad half brushed it off and said he didn’t care. Green light!! At that time I wanted a maple leaf with hockey sticks crossed behind it (oooo my teenage love of hockey!) so I started getting prices for it from local artists. Then a friend of mine said a guy in her apartment did hers, and we should check out his shop and she would get me a deal on it. The night before, I started looking at different designs, specifically those designs that contained Asian characters and sayings. So we rolled up to his shop, he found the “respect” character in a big book, said he could do it right then or 3 months from then. Well it’s been 10 years now and I still don’t regret it!
I haven’t gotten a new tattoo in 5 years. The cousin that I spoke of above, she is covered from head to toe in ink and holes! I see now she has crossed a line that I don’t want to cross. I also think, for me, I need to have reasoning behind my tattoos. I have friends who can just think of an idea and the next week it’s on their body. I have 4 in total, and while I am constantly thinking of more wanting more, there is reason and thought behind all of them.
My first three tattoos are the mantra in which I try to live my life. I had a very strong connection to Asian philosophies starting in grade 11 so it kind of influenced it. My mantra is: respect, faith, compassion. My first tattoo was respect, on my lower leg. 2nd, faith in English on my wrist, and 3rd compassion in Thai on my shoulder. The placements were kind of spur of the moment but really they make sense:
while I don’t have to agree with someone’s choices, I need to respect them- aka, if I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes I can’t say anything.
My wrist, everyone needs something to have faith in. For me, that’s my God and religion. The veins in the arm go up into my heart. It’s also the cutest colour of pink for 2 reasons, faith to me is a very personal thing, it’s something that is there in the way I act and conduct myself so everyone can see it if they look closely. Also, in my tattoo artist’s words: sweetheart you are pink! (blushing!) it blends nicely into my skin, which allows me the freedom to have it uncovered in the professional world 🙂
Compassion on my shoulder, to be a support for someone to lean on or cry on. The word I have in Thai translates first to “mercy” with other meanings being Compassion. Or so I hope because I’m only about 90% sure!
My last tattoo is a bit of an out layer- it’s a butterfly (or dragonfly) on my foot. No real reason, a friend drew it, I loved it, and there it stays.
The tweet were were asked to respond to kind of led me on this remembering slide, but then it clicked in my head. I don’t agree with it at all! I’m on twitter, and while I do fall into the category of “deletes more tweets than posts”, I think that is more because I know it can be deleted. Even though some of my tattoos were not thought out months in advance (a little language research was required), they all fell into place. My butterfly was the most spontaneous and in all fairness, it’s my favourite one!