Beneath the ink of tattoos and their meanings

As time goes on, more people are becoming accustomed to the idea of tattoos. They have become so familiar to us, designs such as red fiery dragons, black and white roses and cursive letters stating ‘c’est la vie,’ are common tattoos we wouldn’t be shocked to see if someone showed them to us.

Although the practice of inserting ink into the skin was used mostly for subcultural and religious practices, during the 20th century it transitioned to being a mainstream form of self-expression and art. According to the Pew Research Center, 32% of Americans have at least one tattoo, including 22% who have more than one.

But what are the reasons that compel people to get a tattoo? Do they necessarily have to be personal or have they become so common that they don’t need a specific meaning?

I have two tattoos: one which is meaningful to me and another so foolish that it sometimes makes me regret even getting tattoos.

When I was young, I remember being mesmerized any time I saw the huge red, green and blue eagle design that spread across my dad’s back. His tattoo served as a poignant reminder of the essence of rebelliousness and freedom, showcasing the power of personal choice in selecting meaningful symbols and transforming them into works of art.

I loved the idea of being able to design something, anything your mind desired and place it carefully on any place of your body.

I was so eager to get one, that the same day I turned 18, I took myself to the tattoo parlor and got my very first design; the date of the year my sister was born along with my own birth year.

After a couple of years, I got my second one. I will spare you the details of what the design is, but take my word when I say it was foolish. I believe I got so excited about the idea of getting tattoos, that it crowded my judgment while getting my second one.

“Any tattoo is a good tattoo, right?” is what went through my head after getting my first tattoo.

Although many people would tell me that after you get your first tattoo it becomes like an addiction, after my second one, I decided that maybe the idea of getting body art wasn’t necessarily for me.

Though there are many reasons why people get tattoos, such as religious, personal, aesthetic or simply because they think they look ‘cooler,’ there is no doubt that tattoos have become more commonly accepted by society.

Therefore, if you have been thinking of getting one, maybe this is your sign to do something creative and to express yourself in different ways. But always remember that if you make the same mistake as me, tattoos aren’t as easy to remove as other kinds of body modifications.

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