10 Beautiful Tattoos With Amazing Stories Behind Them
Start writing a post

10 Beautiful Tattoos With Amazing Stories Behind Them

Every tattoo tells a story –– a story that is personal and uniquely your own, but also one that allows all of us to connect on a deeper human level.

10 Beautiful Tattoos With Amazing Stories Behind Them
AJ Blum

Tattoos are one of the most personal forms of self-expression. Your ink becomes a permanent part of who you are and reveals your true inner self. People get tattoos for all kinds of reasons –– to commemorate a lost loved one, to express their personal values, to honor an obstacle they have overcome, and sometimes because it just felt right. For many people, their body art has immeasurable sentimental value that brings them happiness, security, and inner peace.

Every tattoo tells a story –– a story that is personal and uniquely your own, but also one that allows all of us to connect on a deeper human level. Everyone has their own reasons for why they chose to get a tattoo when they did, why they picked the specific design that they did, and what it symbolizes or means to them. Below, you’ll find ten tattoos with ten amazing stories behind them, all from very real, raw, beautiful humans.

1. One With The Ocean

(Photo courtesy of Alanna Hogan)

“When it comes to tattoos, I love simplicity. I have a drawing of three simple waves on my back, just below my neck. The waves and the ocean have always been an important part of my life - I grew up on the coast and have known the water intimately since birth. (I mean that literally, as I was held in a pool of water by my dad immediately after being born.) The coast is a home to me, a place where my worries shrink and my thoughts quiet. I love that there is an infinite beauty about the sea, but also a sense of wild, an expanse that will never be tamed. And waves are such a perfect representation of the ups and downs of life, of the current that carries on no matter what. The ocean will always be a part of who I am, and so I carry its depths on my back.”

2. Like The Lotus

(Photo courtesy of Tanisha Mcgreevy)

“My tattoo is a lotus flower with a Japanese enso around it. The enso is a symbol of strength and elegance and the lotus flower represents the beauty of it as it arises from the muddy waters, untouched and [un]damaged from the mud around it. The words say "live unsoiled by the world" -- it is part of a Buddha quote that expresses how we should all live like the lotus flower, that no matter what we come across in life we should not let it affect or change the beauty we have inside and out. I designed this [tattoo] myself as a reminder to go through life with strength and elegance, and untainted by whatever I may go through.”

3. "When God Gives You Wings"

(Photo courtesy of Emily Crockett)

(One night, while she was studying abroad in Italy, Emily was raped by a local man. She has since started a successful, moving blog to empower rape victims, and document her road to recovery.)

“Until the day I die, I will never regret the bird that is on my arm. It reminds me not of where I was, but of where I’m going. The bird does have that night encapsulated into its design, but it symbolizes my strength and my independence, both of which felt lost after everything happened. The bird is hope rising from the ashes. The bird is Jenny whispering “dear God, please make me a bird so I can fly far away. Far, far away from here” -- a prayer very similar to my own that night. The bird is freedom and healing and hope. I could’ve never known when I named my blog many moons ago how poignant the name would become. God has given me the wings to fly from my situation, always in a different way, whether it be good friends, or stimulating conversation, or exciting events; each of them has allowed [me] to fly just a little bit further. The bird represents the guardian angels I have around me, the feathers they leave to remind me that they’re there. The bird is my voice, the healing I’ve found through music, but also through my blog.”

To learn more about Emily's journey, visit her amazing blog: When God Gives You Wings

4. Guidance From The Mountains

(Photo courtesy of AJ Blum)

“The compass rose provides guidance and serves as a reminder to be true to myself. My first hike in New Hampshire was up Mount Washington. To this day I remember that hike so vividly -- it opened me to a world of exploring and adventures. The summit of Mount Washington in the middle [of the compass] reminds me of the White Mountains, where my adventures began. The compass reminds me to stay true to myself so as not to lose myself on the journeys through life, in both the physical world as well as the spiritual world.”

5. A Constellation Guardian

(Photo courtesy of Meredith Clarke)

“I had always wanted a tattoo, but never really knew what to get. One day after my second week at college, my roommate told me she was going into Portsmouth to watch her friend get a tat, and invited me to come. Somewhere in between the invite and me changing my shirt, I decided I was going to get a tattoo. I thought about it the whole bus ride there and I decided get one behind my ear. I was scrolling through pictures when I saw a picture of a Big Dipper tattoo my cousin had sent me. Immediately my anxiety melted away. About an hour later, I had my first tattoo.

A lot of people think it’s pretty unorthodox to get a tattoo so spontaneously and pick the design an hour before. Most people tell me that if they get one they have to absolutely love the design and they need to want it for over a year. I disagree. The Big Dipper never meant anything to me. I was always into the stars, but nothing particular about Ursa Major ever caught my eye. But now when I look up into the sky and see the Big Dipper, I feel like I’m safe - like I have a little friend –– someone or something watching over me. Whenever I walk to crew practice in the wee hours of the morning, I look up into the sky and always say hi. And now my friends see the Big Dipper at night and think of me, which is a pretty cool feeling. For me, I didn’t need my tattoo to be something significant that I would never forget, I don’t need a tattoo to remind me of something I’ll never forget, I need a tattoo to remind of something I will forget, which is to be spontaneous and free. Whenever I feel stressed out, I look at my tattoo and think of the time I decided to permanently ink my body on a whim. And I’ll remember that I’ll always have something watching out for me in the sky.”

6. A Symbol Of Change And Optimism

(Photo courtesy of Katie Beauregard)

“Two years ago I woke up and made one of the most permanent changes to my body––I hadn’t planned it, I didn’t tell my parents and I went to the first parlor that would take me that day. This decision took all of my money, set my back on fire and was simultaneously a form of therapy I never knew existed. Two years ago I broke up with the “love of my life.” After I realized this love had turned to comfort, and lust turned to confusion, I made what I thought would be the most devastating decision of my life––looking back now, it wasn’t. Although I may not have fully planned my first tattoo, or consulted my bank account, this extremely permanent fixture on my body showed me that I could emotionally, mentally and even physically make changes in my life––and be totally okay in the end. Two years have passed since I got my first unplanned, poorly financed tattoo and I have absolutely no regrets about my decision––I accepted the events that were surrounding me at such a transitional time in my 20-year-old life. That day, I decided to make, embrace and not run from change, I decided to “think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

7. Overcome And Appreciate Challenges

(Photo courtesy of Amanda Schwartz)

“I’ve always loved a challenge and within the past few years I’ve become extremely fond of hiking. I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs in my life and mountains are symbolic to me in the way that they are similar to daily challenges. Our lows make us appreciate the highs that much more. So my tattoo is of mountains…I got it on my wrist as a daily reminder that with every mountain you face, you are one step closer to conquering the world. So keep climbing and keep exploring. Accept challenges, for they are just another mountain for you to defeat.”

8. A Tiki Self Portrait

(Photo courtesy of Jordan Judd)

“The tiki face on my left triceps is a symbolic self portrait of my Tourette’s. Each element represents a different facial tic that I have to consciously suppress on a second to second basis. It represents a side of myself that no one sees because I keep it so hidden. It is the crawling under my skin itching to be released.”

9. An Elephant With An Important Lesson

(Photo courtesy of Shalyn Texeira)

“Elephants have the spiritual meaning of being good luck when their trunks are up. The Ying Yang symbol signifies that with all the good there is some bad, and with all the bad there is always some good; but it’s inside the elephant to signify that even when you’re life is good or bad, you’re still lucky to be here.”

10. Some Fatherly Advice

(Photo courtesy of Scott Ruggles)

“This tattoo is a quote from John Lennon. When our family was in the middle of a very tumultuous time that challenged me to the core, my father and I went for a drive. We talked and talked; I was very emotional because my own family (which included 5 kids) was being devastated [by what was going on]. My dad said, "Scott, Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments