Choosing a Tattoo With Meaning
What kind of tattoo do you want? Getting ink can be a rebellious act. You’re literally transforming the skin on your body. More often than not, tattoos commemorate a time that made an impact on your life. What story do you want it to tell?
Tattoos are a way of making your self-expression permanent. Sure, tattoos don’t always have to be forever—especially if it’s the name of an ex emblazoned on your arm. And there aren’t a lot of guidelines for choosing a tattoo—really, anything goes. Just make sure you pull the trigger on a design that you can proudly talk about and show off for the rest of your life.
Tattoos Have Told Stories for Centuries
How long does a great tattoo last? Look no further than the 6,000-year-old mummified bicep of Otzi the Iceman. For thousands of years, Neolithic people have been getting inked done as a way of telling their story without speaking a word. Tattoos across world cultures have told stories for centuries. Stories about hunting, social status, or victories in battle are commonly marked on the skin, to signify that the experience had a lasting mark on the man or woman.
In this way, tattoos continue to be centuries-old cultural tradition in regions like Polynesia, where tattoos signify a rite of passage into adulthood. In Tonga, Samoa, and New Zealand, black tattoos in ornate patterns told an individual’s genealogy, rank in society, and accentuated muscular features that intimidated outsiders. Common patterns include shark teeth, spearheads, ocean waves, and sea turtles.
What does your tattoo say about you?
Enough about the past; let’s talk about what you want to immortalize on your skin.
Examples of inspiration for a tattoo include:
- A dream
- A life-changing event
- A rite of passage
- An influential person in your life
- Any person, place, or thing you want to commemorate
PRO TIP: Don’t settle for a cliché tattoo. A heart with “Mom” written on a banner may have been edgy for Bart Simpson’s first tattoo, but now it’s just unoriginal.
Tattoos as Conversation Pieces
Some of the most unique and intriguing body-art pieces have a great story underneath the skin. If you have a mysterious-looking tattoo, either practice your mean mugging look or be ready to answer this question a lot: “What does your tattoo mean?”
Let’s face it: Most people don’t want to open up to a stranger at the bus stop about their life’s story. However, a tattoo on your arm, ankle, or any other visible part of your body might invite the question.
Styles of Tattoos
You know the cliché: Pictures are worth a thousand words. Whether you’re thinking about getting ink done for the first time, or looking for the final piece that will finish a sleeve, choose the type tattoo that says something unique about yourself.
- New School