I've loved tattoos for years. Growing up, my dad had one (he now has three) and eventually my oldest sister started getting ink done. From the time I was in high school, I was actively trying to work out what tattoos I wanted to get.
I love that tattoos tell a story. Sometimes the story is happy, sometimes it's sad. Sometimes it's in memorium, sometimes it's a regret. But no matter what the back story, they capture a certain moment in someone's life, and I think that's beautiful.
I also like the process of tattooing. There's something comforting about watching the artist setting up, the rustle of plastic bags, the snap of rubber gloves. Even the sharp pricking of the needle, although I always forget how much it hurts. The only thing I don't like is the smell - that vaguely antiseptic scent that lingers until the first time you wash your new tattoo.
Because I use any excuse to show off my tattoos, here they are in order of when I got them: Jack Skellington on my back; "VI Reckless" (which references bother You Me At Six and, if you put it together with my sister's matching one (hers says "Brave VI"), All Time Low) on my left wrist; a pocket watch set to 9 (in the afternoon - a Panic! at the Disco reference) on my right shoulder; and an Alice in Wonderland teacup ("We're all mad here").
I already have my next one planned: when I met The Maine in May, I asked the lead singer, John O'Callaghan, to write out lyrics that I relate to: "In my mind I'm miles away". And I have so many ideas for future tattoos: Calvin & Hobbes dancing, the Deathly Hallows symbol, my favourite Neil Gaiman quotation ("Trust dreams. Trust your heart and trust your story."), the VFD symbol from A Series of Unfortunate Events, Adventure Time...the list goes on. My dream is to have a full sleeve one day, and I think I'm well on my way!
Unlike Sam, I've only been inked once. I have a Star Sapphire emblem in fuschia on my back that I got with my dad who got the same emblem in a darker purple on his thigh.
I've always been intrigued by tattoos and those who get them. I always want to know the story behind the ink, why it's important, was it on a whim, or a bet, or is it so meaningful that the only way to commemorate it was to get it permanently marked on your body.
That's what gets me about tattoos. The commitment. The permanence. The knowing that this will be on my body forever.
Thats why I've been so selective and slow with my choice of ink. I want each piece to matter because I know my obsessions are fickle and something I love today could easily be something I despise tomorrow.
However, nothing is certain. There's a part of me that also wants to say fuck it, and cover my whole body, live with no regrets.
In the meantime, the art that has been swirling in my brain is an Art Nouveau piece featuring Neil Gaiman's Death, an ode to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and a watercolor owl because I need at least one cliche on me.
I don't know what the future holds, but I hope it's colourful.