Artful, Artificial Beauty Marks

By REBECCA BRATEK
On January 28, 2012

            Did it hurt? You're so badass. What did your parents say? What's it mean? Can I touch it? That's ugly. That's trashy. Did you know that's permanent? You'll look stupid in a wedding dress. Aren't you worried about your skin getting all saggy?

            Yes, but not as much as you imagine. Thanks I guess? They don't know (I think). Send me a message if you really want to know. No…Thanks, I love looking ugly and trashy. OMG no way, you mean this isn't going to come off in the shower!? Who needs to be boring in white? And I'm going to get Botox, don't you worry.

            Tattoos. Either you love 'em or you hate 'em, and there doesn't seem to be an in-between. But you can't deny this rising phenomena – something I'd like to call the "inked age." Almost every single one of my friends has at least one mark on his or her body.

            I have two tattoos, but I'm sure you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at me. Most people think I'm too much of a "goody two shoes" to ink my body – but that's stereotypical.

            And I've heard every question, compliment, or insult in the book. And you know what? No, I'll never regret it.

            It's not like I found a bum on the street or got a prison tat. I researched the best artists in the area, I made sure the parlors were hygienic, and I made sure I thought long and hard about what I was about to put on my body forever.

            Tattoos are a work of art. Instead of paper, skin is the artist's canvas. And what better canvas than the human body, a work of art in itself?

            And the pain? Not as terrible as many fear. Coming from a girl who epitomizes wimp, getting inked was a piece of cake. It's more tolerable than getting vaccinated, in my opinion, because the needle doesn't go as deep.

            The constant movement of the needle across your skin becomes almost monotonous and turns into a slight annoyance once you get used to it. I would even call it cathartic, an almost healing pain, and that's not meant to sound sadistic. It's just another form of release – like writing in a journal or going for a run.

            And, sure, you might think you will be looked over when you're trying to land a job just because you have some ink on your skin. But, you must ask yourself – is that a job you would really want anyway?

            In all seriousness, as long as your tattoos aren't that visible in typical business attire, your employer isn't going to care if you have a "MOM" memorial.

            Some ask about regretting a tattoo or it losing meaning. This is probably the biggest conflict people have with marking their skin. Sure, the song lyrics you like at 18 may be completely out of style once you turn 50, but that doesn't mean you should regret it. If it was something you once wanted, be proud of that fact alone.

            Most tattoos have a story behind them – all beautiful and all personal. And I never tire of telling my stories when I'm asked. Many ask why do you need to mark your body with anything that means anything to you? And I ask, then: why not?

            A close friend is thinking about getting her first tattoo. She wants to get a sunflower – not because she just thinks it's "pretty" or "hipster," but because it reminds her of her mother who passed away when she was younger.

            Another friend wants to get a pine tree. You're probably thinking that's the dumbest idea you've ever heard. But, that tree reminds her of her childhood home.

            I know tattoos aren't for everyone, but you can't judge those who do choose to mark their body. Having tattoos doesn't make me any less of a lady, and tattoos do not make a person "dirty" or "trashy." Clean skin or inked skin – it's all the same to me.

            You have one body for one life; why not make it unique?

 

Email: rebecca.bratek@ubspectrum.com


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