I Have Tattoos And I Am Still A Respectable Human Being

I Have Tattoos And I Am Still A Respectable Human Being

Don't judge a book by it's cover.... right?

Tattoos, man. Where do I even start?

So, I got my very first tattoo underage, but with my mother's permission. My brother was deploying and I had wanted to get his Navy pilot wings tattoo'd for a while and that just seemed like a fitting time to do it. Don't get me wrong, I was totally way too young to be getting a tattoo but my mid-teen self thought nothing of it. I just wanted that tattoo.

Four years and four tattoo's later I'm hooked. Being a Graphic Design major I got extremely lucky to be in a field that is so unbelievably accepting of things slightly out of the norm- whether that be in your work or in your style. Dyed hair, tattoo's, piercings, we've all got 'em, and that's the way I like it. Sure, I may not be tatted from head to toe, but I've got a couple that people are skeptical of when they see them.

Tattoo's used to have a very dirty connotation associated with them. They were something that bikers and pirates and "thugs" used to have and I was always taught that they were a little taboo, but nothing too crazy. Now, as a young adult who can form her own views, I would never talk badly about someone's tattoos. I find them creative and beautiful and interesting and I will never understand why there are people in this world who don't.

I may have tattoos, but I should be still just as eligible for a job as anyone else. I am just as qualified to get my Graphic Design degree- or any other degree I would want to pursue even with my tattoos. Tattoo's don't cloud good judgment and they aren't any indication of somebody's intelligence level. Tattoos are a way of expression, a beautiful and amazing thing if you think about it. People like myself have been passionate enough about a design that we have gone through the pain to have it permanently inked into my skin and if that's not pretty bad ass then I couldn't tell you what is.

I am in a sorority, I still pray before dinner with my family, I can make some beautiful art and surprise- all are done with tattoo's peppering my skin. Just like going to church doesn't necessarily make you a good person, having tattoo's is not necessarily an indication of a bad one. I am still a college student pursuing a degree, I'm a lifeguard in the summer who works with children and camps and I attended Catholic School for a large portion of my life. Respectable qualities? I think so.

Without knowing that I had any tattoos, people often don't think of me to be someone who does have them. I'm not sure if this upsets me or not, but it definitely does disappoint me. What does that even mean? "You don't look like someone who would have tattoos." What??? What does that kind of person look like then? Is there a specific type of person who can get tattoo's and unless you're that kind of a person you can't get them?? If so, I need to become one of those people.

Tattoo's are something I feel so strongly about because I am a designer and I see the design elements that come along with creating a tattoo. I have just recently designed my fifth tattoo and I think that's one of my coolest accomplishments by far. I created something that I loved so much that I want it on my body forever. Yeah, that's wicked sick and I don't care who thinks otherwise. *flips hair*

I just ask those who are so against tattoos to rethink why they are. What is honestly so bad about them? If I have a couple of tattoos, does that negatively affect YOU? Nope. It's 2017, how about we stop judging others for creative expression and instead applaud them for being different than yourself?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning. You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret. So here are 20 tattoos where you can't go wrong. Here are 20 small tattoos with big meanings. (But don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!).

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki” means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris” means “light in darkness.”

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora” is translated literally as “Towards greater things.” It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyphs means “explore.” It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

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Your Tattoo Doesn't Have To Mean Anything Or Be Significant In Any Way

Getting a tattoo doesn't mean it needs to have some deep or significant meaning, and here's why.


I have been getting tattooed since I was allowed to legally. Hell, just yesterday I received my 13th tattoo, spooky I know. (A friend told me that it's actually unlucky to have an even number of tattoos so thank goodness I dodged that bullet.) While sitting and trying to ignore the needle rapidly stabbing my flesh, I had some time to think about how little I care about the deeper meaning of my ink.

Often times while at a shop, especially when you're sitting still and getting tattooed for an extended period of time, you get the opportunity to do some people watching. Normally it's just people coming in looking for an estimate and then walking out in a huff because they think everything is overpriced. Honestly though, bless those people because they make sure the internet has quality imagery for all of the "Shittiest Tattoos Ever" listicles.

Sometimes it's someone who is super green to tattoos and has really unrealistic expectations for how tiny their font can be. Those people are also fun to observe, because they usually think what they saw on Pinterest outweighs the knowledge of a professional artist, usually covered in tattoos themselves. I don't know about you Janet, but I think he knows a little more about this brand of permanent typography.

While this cast of characters is fun to observe, one common thread I find in many of them is that they feel obligated to explain the purpose of their tattoo. Or they will only get tattoos that mean something of great importance. Hell, I used to be one of those people too! I said things to myself like "Well, if it is going to be on me forever, I better have a damn good reason."

Now, I'm not trying to say there is anything wrong with wanting your tattoo to mean something. I have plenty that carry the weight of past memories, decisions, and heartaches. But I also have tattoos that hold no emotional significance to me. Some I just think they'll look badass. Or really pretty. Or cool. Or whatever, frankly it doesn't matter.

I think that this is a common misconception especially in older generations. Perhaps because for so long, it was only socially acceptable to get a tattoo of your mom or wife's name, or something associated with the branch of the military in which you served. But today, tattoos are just one facet of the body modification community.

I think this shift from getting a tattoo out of obligation to getting one as a form of artistic expression is what has really presented this need for deeper meaning. Its almost as if without this meaning, we are doing a disservice to those in our lives who may not approve.

So your tattoo has a deep, emotionally charged meaning? That's awesome.

What's that? You got a tattoo because you thought it would look cool and now you love it? Also awesome.

Well that was pretty simple, huh? Now go out and get the tattoo you've always wanted but didn't get because you thought people wouldn't understand. Or get your mom's birthday in Roman numerals. Whatever, just make sure to tip your artist.

Cover Image Credit:

Scott Goodwill

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