So today, I added a fifth tattoo to my “collection”. It’s on my right forearm and is rather large. The others I have are: a star on my left wrist, a bonsai tree with Greek lettering on my mid back, the sun/surf/palm trees of Alicante, Spain on my lower right shoulder blade, and stars with a quote on the top of my left foot.
Obviously, I enjoy tattoos and do not regret the choices I have made to place them on my body. I don’t care that someday I’m going to be old and wrinkly, still tatted. Like I’m gonna care at that point in my life or will even wear clothes that expose all my tats? Come on now. And besides, tattoo removal places are popping up in malls nowadays, so if I REALLY wanted to get them removed, I could go to the mall to have the procedure done and then shop at Macy’s for new shoes after. Our ever evolving technology is amazing.
Anyway, what is the big deal about tattoos for some people? Has it become just another way to be prejudiced? My family is not very thrilled about my new addition and I honestly am not phased by this. Though, this is the more rebellious and free-spirited side of me that comes out at these moments. My dad liked my tat in theory–until he saw where it was and how big. My mom said “whatever” and my middle sister shared the same sentiments (but she has one tattoo on her foot!). The only supporter is my youngest sister who simply said, “Oh, cool!” when I showed her. Can’t please everyone, right?
So again, I ask what’s the big deal? I’m not gonna lie…I do tend to lightweight judge those who get (what I think to be) just plain stupid tattoos or even slightly cool tattoos but put in dumb places. I’m sure most would know what I’m talking about. For me, all my tattoos have a very specific and special meaning to me and I’ve waited at least a year to get each one (with exception to the one I got done in Spain). I get that some people may be against tattoos in regards to their history but times have changed.
The first tattoo–and the most painful–I got is the one on my foot. It’s still one of my favorites and I’ve had it for almost six years. I continually get compliments on it, even from people that claim they “don’t like tattoos”. The colors have lasted this whole time too, giving it a very fun look. I have traditional, five-pointed stars and seven-pointed stars. I love stars because they remind me to shine bright in a dark world. The seven-points represent God since His number is seven. And the wording says, “They will shine like stars…”, paraphrased from Philippians 2:15 which basically says that Believers should shine like stars in the way they live their lives. I really love this visual reminder for my life. I was twenty-two when I had it done.
The second tat I got is the sun, surf and palms: the three symbols of the city of Alicante in Spain. I was blessed to study in this beautiful city during the summer of 2008 and fell in love with it so I decided to get a tattoo as a memoir. One of my roommates also got one–matching, in fact–and it was a really cool bonding experience for us to go through together. I really love this tattoo because it represents one of the best, most life-changing experiences of my life. And ironically, my name translated from Hebrew means “Queen of the Palm Trees”, so I think having some palm trees on me is quite appropriate.
The third and fourth tats I had done together: a star on my left wrist and a bonsai tree with Greek on my mid/lower back. I waited for eight years to get that tiny star; two years to get the bonsai tree.
The star was from a tattoo I had seen on a model, in my teens. I thought it was cute and small enough to not be overwhelming. That’s when my love for tattoos had begun. I always had wanted to get that star and I did! The bonsai tree is a symbol of patience, perseverance and endurance. The writing says: Luke 8:15-“Bear fruit with perseverance.” This is my reminder to persevere in order to reap great blessing and reward. It is one of the mantras for my life.
Lastly, the tat I got today is a treble and bass clef with a music staff and notes. There’s writing in Latin that says: facere sonitus laetitiae=make a joyful noise (from Psalm 98 and other chapters). It’s the largest one that I will have “on display” at all times. Not only is it a symbol of my love for and dedication to music; it’s a reminder for me to choose joy, despite hardships. The past few years have been pretty hard on me and finding out I have Fibromyalgia last month was difficult to swallow. But I am choosing joy–choosing to carry on and fight through chronic pain and live my life the best I can. Why would I ever want to remove something that reminds me of this season in my life?
So perhaps tattoos are just misunderstood by those that don’t have them or those who have never attached a meaning to their own tattoos. Just getting a tattoo to have one has never been cool in my book. I mean, why else would I have taken the time to really think about my decision to get a permanent marking in the first place and then painstakingly design each one that I have gotten? This is why it’s hard for me to swallow that some people will still judge me just for being a girl with a large, visible tattoo–and only because it’s that. They won’t take the time to get to know me or understand why I’ve chosen to place these symbols on my body. They won’t learn that I’ve been teaching for almost ten years and have been able to touch over 600 lives in my teaching career, or that on some days I am crippled by chronic pain. And sadly, I will never be able to sing them a song I’ve written. But that’s not going to let me down; it serves to make me stronger and just be like the stars on my foot and wrist, shining brightly in the darkness. Besides, when I meet God someday, He’ll remove my tattoos if he doesn’t like them.