I’ve heard it said about a million times before, to me, to others to the world in general.
Oh you’ll regret them when you’re older…
It’s tiresome, it’s boring and it’s not really helpful in any way.
I often want to say not as much as you’ll regret being an asshole but the truth is, that assholes very rarely realise that they are being assholes anyway.
And yes, you’re being an asshole if you say this to people with tattoos – because people with tattoos don’t care what you have to say, really they don’t. We KNOW that tattoos are permanent, we pay enough money for them to hope they bloody last forever. That’s the idea!!
We know what we are getting ourselves into I swear. So please don’t tell me that I will regret my tattoos… because even if I do, it’s not ever going to be your business.
“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself. ― Shannon L. Alder”
The reason I will never regret my first tattoo
When I was 19 years old, I walked into a tattoo parlour, picked a design off the wall and said, “I want that lizard on my back!” I paid for it and a few minutes later, I was sitting in a small room and shocks of electricity went zinging through my body. FUCK. This was a lot more painful than I imagined… “oh you’re done with the outline? Okay that’s cool, you can stop there… ” The tattoo artist was having none of it. So I sat there for a while longer and he filled in the colour. A solid black lizard tattooed on the right side of my back.
I left feeling empowered.
Why was this tattoo life changing for me?
It might seem like a silly thing to many but I grew up in a really strict home. A home where I didn’t get to make choices just willy nilly for myself.
I pierced my belly button when I was 16 and my father was none the wiser until I was 18 and I accidentally flashed it at him while sitting on the couch one day. He was unimpressed. I was big-mouthed and brave and when he asked when I got it, I said “two years ago, are you going to punish me now” and he said nothing but I knew he was “disappointed”.
I wasn’t allowed to do these things you see.
And when I left home finally, for university, the world was new and open and I was still a little girl, terrified of the consequences of not doing the right thing.
A month later I pierced my tongue. When my father saw it during lunch a few weeks later, he lost his mind and started screaming and shouting at me.
I walked away – defeated.A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world. ― Robert M. Drake Click To Tweet
I didn’t own the rights to me.
There I was, 19 years old, living in a new country all on my own and still just a little girl.
So you see, getting that first tattoo was my way of taking back me.
Taking ownership of my life. Stating loudly “this is me” – a girl who loves tattoos.
So when I got that first tattoo, I thought about hiding it for the longest time. In the end, I decided that the only way to really stand up for myself was to show it to him and make no apologies for it. So I did. He reacted surprisingly calmly. He didn’t say very much at all.
And when I got my next one, I would have shown it to him too but he died before I had the chance to. I remember standing next to his bed, in ICU as he lay dying – confessing about my tattoo as if telling him would absolve me of the guilt I felt for getting this done. To my own body. I guess I was still just his little girl.
As the years go by and I add each tattoo to my body, I think about what it means to own your own body.
I think about having the right to put each tattoo permanently on my skin and it empowers me more and more. This is my body and I have the right to do with it as I may.
And when you ask me “don’t you regret getting them?” the answer will always be no. I know what I’m getting myself into. I know what it means to have ink inserted into the layers of my body. I choose them.
Because as much as you may hate my tattoos, or they may not be “to your taste” they empower me and remind me that this is me, this is my body and I can do with it as I please. Some of my tattoos have meaning and others don’t. I don’t need to explain or justify them to you or to anyone.
This is my body.
These are my tattoos.
And no, I don’t regret them!
“Death is the easy part, the hard part is living and knowing you could be so much more then you’re willing to be. ― Robert M. Drake”