I have been seeing tattooed bodies being celebrated more and more, and it makes my heart sing. Obviously, I believe all bodies are beautiful, but tattooed bodies don’t always get a good rap. Body ink seems to be getting more popular and acceptable as time goes on, and I’m here for it!
When I was a teenager and got my first tattoo, I remember having teachers tell me to cover it. I also remember hiding my growing collection of tattoos at my various jobs through high school and college. Now, I see them being hid less, and that makes me want to celebrate even more.
My Ink Origins
Growing up, my dad would constantly say that women’s bodies were works of art and they should not have tattoos on them. He would complain and ask why someone feels the need to clutter up artwork. Of course, I would roll my eyes while looking at his tattooed arms.
I used to admire my dad’s cursive tattoo with my mom’s name. Every time, he would try to convince me that tattoos would take away from my beauty, it went in one ear and out the other. I got my first tattoo a week before I turned 18.
I have a family member on my mom’s side, who also happens to be my dad’s childhood best friend, and he owns a local tattoo shop. Anytime I wanted to experiment with piercings, he would also let me go a bit wild without calling my dad. I have had my tongue pierced, multiple lip piercings, a septum piercing, a standard nose piercing, my belly button pierced, and my ears pierced. My real love was always with tattoos though.
My first tattoo was a simple black peace sign. It’s on the right side of my chest, slightly below my collarbone. This tattoo is also slightly tilted. I didn’t just want it to be perfectly upright. I wanted to show that while peace is an ideal and an incredible concept, it’s hard. Total peace and getting to a place of complete peacefulness isn’t easy, so it’s at an angle. It made sense to 17 year old Jenni, and I still adore it.
Started with One
When people say tattoos are addicting, they aren’t kidding. I did get some flack about my first tattoo from teachers, friends, and obviously my father. But I didn’t care, because I loved it so much. From there, I kept steadily getting a tattoo every year or so until I had kids. Currently, I only have 7, but I definitely want more.
Not all tattoos have to have a giant philosophical meaning. My tattoos do all have a special meaning though. I also always think for while before just choosing a design. Honestly, I wanted to have a half sleeve or cuff before I turned 30, but life happens. Plus, tattoos can be expensive. Honestly, the tattoos I do have keep me pretty content.
After my peace sign, I got a purple and green flower tattooed on the back of my left shoulder. There’s a small peace sign in the middle of the flower too. Then, I added a symbol from my favorite tarot card on my right wrist. I also have a Harry Potter tattoo on my left forearm. As the years went on, I added smaller tattoos as well.
I have the National Eating Disorder Awareness symbol behind my right ear, and a semi-colon on the second toe on my left foot. These means so much to me. As someone who battled an eating disorder for many years, I wanted to show myself that I’m proud of my recovery with the tattoo behind my ear. The semi-colon has multiple meanings, because it symbolizes my survival against a suicide attempt, depression, and anxiety. I also have a degree in English, and it’s my favorite punctuation mark.
Not All Perfect
If you look closely, there are imperfections in my ink, especially as I get older and my body changes. I think I love this the most about them, because they are growing and changing with me. I also don’t really have a cool story or meaning behind my Harry Potter tattoo.
Harry Potter was series that I read a lot growing up. It really helped me when I felt alone. Honestly, it’s also something me and my husband both love, so I knew I’d get one at some point. This was a tattoo that a friend bought me, because she wanted one too. Our friendship didn’t last, but that doesn’t change how much I love and appreciate this tattoo. Those imperfect moments and backstories are another aspect to tattoos that I genuinely enjoy.
Beauty in Tattooed Bodies
In college, I tried out to be a Suicide Girl, which was kind of like Playboy on a smaller scale but with tattooed girls. Back then, I was in the thick on my ED, but I still always felt that my tattoos were beautiful. Even when I didn’t have confidence in my curves like I do now, my tattoos gave me some semblance of confidence.
I’ve always admired the ink of others. Tattoos are like snowflakes, and I love that diversity. Even if two tattoos are matching, there aren’t two people with the exact same skin, so they are all different. I love that, and I love to celebrate differences.
During my body acceptance and self-love journey, I’ve seen so many women with tattooed bodies celebrating themselves and their tattoos. It makes me incredibly happy. Tattoos add to our individuality, and the idea that beauty is beyond a set of perimeters.
I love the permanence of tattoos, and even though you can get them removed, it’s not easy. To me, they are works of art that take dedication. They can reveal so much about a person, or they can just be something cool that someone wanted. The variety in what they can be is something else I adore about them.
Works of Art
Now, I tell my dad that tattoos are artwork just like our bodies. Having multiple pieces of art is never a bad thing, and he gave up arguing with me when I kept getting tattoos despite his disapproval. I love seeing others express themselves and being unapologetic in who they are, and tattoos are apart of that.
My next tattoo, although I have a few planned, will be the word warrior on my arm. The “a” will be the NEDA symbol, and the “i” will be a semi-colon. Again, they help tell my story and mean so much to me. I also want my kids names and a few that are dedicated to them. Mountain silhouettes are another tattoo that I will eventually get, because the mountains are my happy place.
Honestly, I could go on and on about tattoo ideas. I think they are an incredible way of celebrating our personalities and great loves. They can also just be cool to look at, and that variety is why I think I’ll always be fascinated with tattoos.
I’d love to see your tattoos. Share pictures and comments, and tell me all about them.
Here’s a few more of mine.