Behind every tattoo, there lies a story. Whether it is good or bad, it is a personal story that only the bearer of the artwork can distribute. I do not think I have ever come across a person who did NOT have a tale to share, especially when it came to their artwork. It is still awkward when wanting to display your tattoos, since there are still connotations trying to link tattoos with unscrupulous people.
My stepfather passed away in 1994. This left my mother numb, and searching for anything to alleviate such numbness. Therefore, at the age of forty-four, my mother got her first tattoo. It was a flower-entwined design of thorns and roses, which signified the good times (roses) and the more horrible moments (thorns) of her lifetime. For her, it took the numbness away, and made her realize she could still feel. I, myself, also received my first tattoo with her. I was twenty-one, and at a very self-hating point in my life. I have always been told how beautiful I was, but – like many insecure young women my age – I did not believe it.
So, what better way to feel beautiful, than to put a picture of beauty on myself? I chose a fairy – a passionate-looking woman who was not only nude, but also stood upon a rose – wings unfurled. Better yet, the tattoo looks like a butterfly from further away. The next time I got a tattoo, I wanted another fairy. However, I could not find an etching that I liked. Luckily, one of the tattoo artists happened to be a graduate of The Art Institute of Chicago (I grew up in a suburb of the Chicagoland area).
The tattooist took an original design of a fairy, and elongated her body, making the design go from a cherub-looking, child-like figure, to a voluptuous, breath-taking raven-haired beauty. She, too, is a nude fairy, but all of the “bits” are covered very artistically. I once had a six-year-old student of mine point it out, exclaiming, “Eww – she ‘s naked!” Without a pause in my reading lesson, I commented, “That’s art, honey. ” (I was wearing a Halloween costume that did not cover my upper calf – where the tattoo resides. ) Later, my co-teacher pulled me aside and commented, “I love the fact you pointed out that a tattoo is art!”
You do not need a book to tell you what a tattoo means to you. The total tattoo art experience comes from within you. I no longer feel the same way I once did. A decade of life experiences has given me the self-confidence I was once deficient. However, for the time I lacked the self-esteem to adore myself, I let my tattoos do the talking for me. I still love both of my tattoos, and sometimes wonder if there are any more tattoos in my future. Rest assured I would have a story behind the next one as well!
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