My Tattoos, What They Mean, And Why It's Not Your Job To Care

My Tattoos, What They Mean, And Why It's Not Your Job To Care

"You're going to regret getting that tattoo, you know."
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When I show people my tattoos, their very first question is always, “What do they mean?” My tattoos are so important to me, which is why I love telling people about why I got them. So here's the story.

My first tattoo is a cursive text, located on my left lower rib cage, which says, “March On”. I got this tattoo a few days after New Year’s Day in 2015. In the fall of 2014, Nick Kraus, a teacher in the performing arts department at my high school had passed away. I have many fond memories with him in marching band, and I will never forget the time he tried to help me learn how to play the marimba. I failed miserably, but he was so patient with me, I just remember us laughing the whole time.

There was a football game that our school dedicated to Nick Kraus in which everyone wore white, and many band alumni came to support the band. There is a chant that we would do before marching onto the field to perform our show, which ends in us yelling “March On” repeatedly. We had alumni come and join in on the chant, and I remember it being the most emotional March On we’ve ever had.

Up to that point, I had already planned on getting a tattoo but was unsure of what to get. It wasn’t until New Year’s morning, when I watched the Rose Parade that I figured out what I wanted. Watching the marching bands in the parade made me remember how important marching band was for me and how we came together as a family to support one another in that time of sorrow. There was no way I was going to get anything else other than “March On” as my first tattoo, and I’m so happy that I did.


My second tattoo was from back in fall of 2016. It is located on my right forearm, and is a tattoo of the Curvy Tree. The Curvy Tree is from a book series called "The Land of Stories," by Chris Colfer. In the book, a father tells his daughter a story of how there once was a tree in the shape of a spiral in the midst of trees that stood straight and tall. One day when people came to cut down the trees, they did not cut down the Curvy Tree because they would not have been able to make anything out of it. Its uniqueness is what saved the Curvy Tree.

To be unique is to be different, and to be different can be both a blessing and a curse. Most of the time it feels like a curse when it leaves you feeling isolated and weird. But it is your uniqueness that will keep you standing tall and can one day lead you to the things that are best for you.

In case you were wondering,- I’m a f***ing weirdo. I spent the majority of my life feeling like I never fit in and that I was too different for people to like me. Being able to finally get through my head that being unique isn’t a bad thing has truly changed my life for the better. I have the most amazing people in my life because I embrace who I am, rather than trying to be anyone else. It is always nice to have a quick reminder of that, which is exactly what happens when I look down at my arm and see my Curvy Tree.

Now that you know what they are all about, there is something I want you to know. You shouldn’t care that I have tattoos. I love knowing how much you appreciate the meaning and thinking that they look good, but you should not care whether or not they have a meaning. I can’t tell you how many times I get people looking at my arm and immediately saying, “That better have a meaning behind it.” Um. But why? Why is it so important to you that it has a meaning? The answer is that it isn’t.

The tattoo is on my body, not yours, so why do you care so much? Even though mine do have meanings, what if I get a tattoo of a bird because, hell, I want a tattoo of a bird. That would be f***ing awesome. If I want one, then I want one. It’s not up to you to decide whether a tattoo is a good idea or not when it is not on your body. Granted, there are still tattoos out there that aren’t the best idea, but it isn’t your job to tell the people who have them that. You can think it, though. You are allowed to have your opinions, but just don’t let your opinions make someone feel bad about something that they love that is a part of their body.

Also, please don’t ask me, “Well, how are you going to get a job?” First of all, what century are you living in? Tattoos have become increasingly more accepted as time goes on. Secondly, if someone doesn’t want to hire me because they don’t like that I have tattoos, then quite frankly, I don’t think I want to work there. My future and my career is my problem. I assure you that I was and am well aware of the consequences of getting a tattoo. I did not go into this without having a plan. I know where I want to go in life, and where I’m going does not involve my tattoos holding me back, I assure you.

All I am trying to say is that people aren’t getting tattoos to please the public. They get tattoos to please themselves. It’s OK if you don’t like someone’s tattoo or if you’re upset that a tattoo doesn’t have meaning. It is on our body, so don’t worry, it won’t ever be a problem for you. To conclude, I leave you with these words of wisdom:

Don’t be a judger, be a lover!

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Rabatin

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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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 you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, 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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Get The Most Out of Your Trip To The Thrift Store

Tips from a self-proclaimed thrifting expert.

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If you know me, you know I love thrift stores. Sorting through racks of clothes, filling my basket up with dozens of different pieces, and walking away with a couple of different things is always so satisfying. Some people go for the vintage items, but I'm there to find the best over-sized t-shirt around and maybe yet another pair of shoes to add to the dozens I already own. Every time I go, there is a different selection of clothes for me too look at, so I end up going there all the time to see what's new! The bonus of thrifting? You can get a bunch of new styles without spending a bunch of money. To make the most out of your own trips to the thrift store, here are six rules you should follow.

Try on EVERYTHING that catches your eye

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We've all had those moments where we see a shirt we like at the mall, but then decide it might not fit, or it's not in our usual comfort zone, or it's too expensive, so we skip right over it. Not the case at thrift stores. If you like it and you think it might fit, try it out. I've gone into thrift stores and tried on fifteen or twenty things, some of which are just t-shirts but others that are interesting tops that I normally would never pick up. Sometimes those different clothes end up being my favorite, and since the prices are low it's the perfect way to test out a different style without dropping a lot of money on a shirt you might not wear more than once.

Bring a friend

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If you're going to a big store like Savers, there can be an overwhelming amount of racks to go through. With a friend, you can look for each other and end up with outfits you like that you might've not seen by yourself. Last time I went, my friends found a ton of UMD gear for me to try on! Going with a friend means double the finds.

Scope out different locations

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College gear is all over the place at thrift stores. Have you seen the price of a sweatshirt at your college bookstore? Check for something similar at the thrift store before you snag that $50 crewneck. If you're going to an instate school, there is a solid chance your local thrift stores will have gear for your school so you can show your spirit without breaking the bank. Some of my favorite college t-shirts are from thrift stores and they were under $5 each. For out of state schools, hit up the thrift stores in the towns close to it.

Read the label

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Where else are you going to get an authentic Longchamp purse and a Southern Marsh fuzzy pullover for $3 each? Expensive brand names at ridiculously low prices are one of the hidden gems of thrift stores. They are rare finds but totally make going to the store with it. Make sure to check the shoes, too!

Look for deals

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Many of the major chain thrift stores offer 50% off at the end of the month for one day only, if you're a rewards member. The rewards programs are usually free and sometimes include early access to sales or bonus coupons after shopping a certain number of times or spending enough money.

Give back

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Got clothing in great condition that doesn't fit anymore or isn't your style? Donate it and make room for your new clothes while doing something good at the same time! If you aren't bringing it to the thrift store, look into non-profits or organizations around you that will take what you don't wear anymore. Many places will take books, shoes, and furniture, so bring those on your next trip, too. Donating is a win for people and the planet!

Whether you hit up the thrift store all the time or you're just starting out, thrifting is the way to go if you want to revamp your wardrobe without spending a ton of money!

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