Tattoo You?, Prompt 93

A prompt designed to determine if your tattoos are there because it’s a positive expression of self, or a form of self-mutilation to put pleasure in place of painful memories:

  1. Do you have a tattoo? If so, explain how long you have had it and how it ended up on your body. If not, explain your reasons for not going in this direction.
  2. If you do have a tattoo (or perhaps several), what does your tattoo symbolize to you? If you don’t have a tattoo and never intend to get one, how do you express yourself, you identity, to the world?
  3. Is there an addictive nature of tattoos (and perhaps body piercings) for you? If so, explain.
  4. How would you best explain the psychology of the tattoo craze? Do you see a connection between excessive tattoos and the quest to control pain? Do you see a connection between tattoos and a quest (even if only symbolic) for stability and permanence in one’s life? If so, do symbolic gestures last a lifetime?
  5. Physical wounds may heal, but often scars remain. Tattoos may fade over time and become distorted but they don’t disappear, unless of course one attempts laser surgery, and even then the results are not promising. Do you have a tattoo that you are thinking about having removed? If so, please explain.
  6. Share any additional thoughts, feelings, opinions, and perceptions on the tattoo craze.


  1. I do have a tattoo, two to be precise. I got the first one when I was 18 and the second I got probably about two years ago (age 20-21?) The idea turned into actually getting the tattoo after a couple years of consideration. Each tattoo I’ve had, or plan to have, takes a minimum of a year’s worth considering before I’ll ink in on my for life.
  2. My first tattoo is a cross, inked on my left wrist. The placement signifies two things; One, that I will see it all the time, being on my wrist and Two, on my left wrist because as a child of God I will sit on the left side of Him in heaven. The tattoo is basically a dedication/daily reminder of my relationship with God. I accepted/realized his love for me when I was in high school. Since then, he’s never been something I stopped feeling. (I don’t like to say I “believe” in Him, because I don’t understand now how its possible to “believe” in something when it’s so obviously real to me.) I got the cross symbol because it’s something I’ve doodled for years since I realized His presence in my life. It seemed fitting to tattoo it on myself because I’ve learned and felt that He loves me so much that the “stamp” of my life is “inked” on His being. I wanted a dedication to Him that would show Him that I’m not afraid to ink His being on my body, and show it always to the world as a symbol of a GIANT part of who I am. The second tattoo is the words, “Be Still” on my right side above my rib cage. The words came to me while I was walking on a stormy evening during sunset. I was just coming out of a lot of pain, having gone through disastrous family fights that resulted in my doing a lot of harmful things to myself. Because of the pain I felt from my issues with my family (and possibly just the turmoil of coming into young adulthood) I did a lot of things to myself that I shouldn’t have. I went through everything from self-starvation, ideas of drinking myself into a place I wouldn’t wake up from, turning rights/responsibilities of my body over to people I barely knew, and a million tragic tearful thoughts that I don’t even want to think about today. After all of this negative behavior and pain I’d caused myself, I found myself trying to escape that way of life finally… I was recently starting on the right track to self-recovery again when I had gone on this late-day stroll. During some point in the walk, I looked up at the clouds rolling in on the horizon and heard the words, “Be Still” from somewhere. (Not literally, I heard them from within.) And I don’t know why those words were chosen for me to hear, but for whatever reason they made an immense deal of sense to me. When I heard those words it was like, BAM! I get it… all the pain that I’ve gone through, it wasn’t going to be solved by all the crappy ways I treated myself. I needed to just STOP with the bullshit and let it go: Just Be Still and let life take me where it would go from here… breathe and know that as long as I remembered things would end up okay- they would.

    My First Tat - The Cross

  3. I would definitely say that the process of getting the tattoo is addicting. The high you get from going in and sitting/ laying down and the idea that your doing something so permanent (that it’s really extreme)… it’s addicting. Plus the aftermath of seeing your ink (assuming you liked the way it turned out) and getting a new view on a piece of your body for awhile, it’s pretty freaking amazing. However, I would not go so far as to say tattoos are the addicting part… it’s the rush they cause that’s addicting. Just like with runner’s high. You wouldn’t say running itself is addicting – it’s exhausting and sometimes painful. The way you feel while running, the release of endorphins and rush you get from doing something good for your body… that is what’s addicting. Same with tattoos.
  4. I do see the connection that could occur between getting a tattoo and trying to cover pain/ make for more stability in life. But I kind of like the ideas. Covering pain with a tattoo can be a great way to overcome something your struggling with… for some people it’s a symbol of moving on, remembering what’s more important, or learning from mistakes. And I don’t see anything wrong with that. I quote, “Everyone has skin, tattoos made skin a work of art…original and thoughtfully crafted.Using tats to provide a sense of stability makes sense too. A tat is one of the only things you’re guaranteed to have with you until you die. And again, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting permanence in this ever-changing life. However, if you get a tattoo to try and provide permanence for something otherthan the tattoo itself, it’s shady ground. For example, if you get a tattoo to try and keep a lover around – not so smart. If your getting a tattoo of the name of your grandfather who passed, to keep his memory around though… that seems acceptable. So I’m not so sure if there is a definite answer, or many answers depending on circumstances.

    My Second Tat - Be Still

  5. I am not thinking of having any tattoos removed, I’m in the process of seeking more as it were.
  6. Additional thoughts: If you’re a tattoo artist, with an amazing profile… let me know. I’ve got ideas regarding a tree. 🙂

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