A writer shares their take on the depth of tattoos.
By: Jayme Fisher
Recently, I had the opportunity to go get my first tattoo. The experience was nerve racking because I had no idea what to expect. There are assumptions that tattoos are painful and unbearable, but there are also assumptions that tattoos don’t hurt. With hearing so many different stories and experiences, I was completely clueless on what was ahead of me.
Tattoos have been around for what feels like all of time. Cate Lineberry, of Smithsonian Magazine, explains that the earliest evidence of tattoos were found on the Iceman, who was found at the Italian-Austrian border. He was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old. This means, with our current understanding, tattoos are at least 5,200 years old.
For thousands of years, tattoos have served as a way to remember one’s culture, honor their religion or express themselves. Tattoos are fascinating pieces of art because each one can have a number of different meanings. Two people could have the exact same tattoo, but it could hold a different meaning for each person.
Tattoos are unique because even the simplest pieces can hold the deepest meanings. While in the same beat, the largest and most complicated designs could hold no meaning at all. And by this, I mean the person could just like how the tattoo looks and not have any particular meaning behind it.
One of my favorite parts of tattoos is that they can spark conversations and bring together people of vastly different backgrounds. When someone sees another’s tattoo, it can cause them to learn more about that person and possibly build a new friendship.
The art of the tattoo is that it can mean anything and everything. It can function as a healing process, an expression of culture, a religious ceremony or a fun Friday night. My tattoo is a form of self expression while also a part of my healing process. Throughout my high school years, I struggled mentally in ways I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Writing “fear not” on my arm was one of the things that got me through it.
God was by my side through it all and he is the one that helped me persevere. Finally getting the tattoo felt like a moment for myself that said, “You did it.” I can move forward and learn from the mistakes of my past. The tattoo serves as a reminder that God is with me and I have no reason to fear.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine