The Fine Art of Choosing a Tattoo

Walk down any beach in America and you’ll see a fine assortment of tattoos. Biblical verses, crosses, flowers, you’ll see them all. Some you will love, and some you will hate and then subsequently judge the owner for. I’ve always been a big fan of tasteful, meaningful tattoos. A tramp stamp? No, thanks. I’ll pass. But something that holds meaning in your life? I dig it.

I’ve always liked the idea of getting a tattoo during an important period in your life. Whether it’s a period of change or growth, or even hardship. I think it’s an interesting concept to be able to look back on that tattoo and remember a certain time. I know someone who got a tattoo while we were abroad. I thought that was really cool. Going abroad is a huge time of growth and change. You experience so much. A tattoo marks that time in your life. E! News’s Catt Sadler (one of my favorite people I don’t know) explains that she got her dove tattoo at a time when she was craving peace and tranquility in her life. To me, that’s an important tattoo that

Catt's tatt

serves as a reminder of where you’ve been and where you want to go.

I’ve always had the tattoo itch, but have never really done more than daydream about it. There’s never been a real reason for me to feel compelled to get one. Either I didn’t have something I liked enough or I didn’t feel like the timing was right. But lately that’s changed. The past few months have been big for me in terms of growing and learning things. I’m trying to figure out my life and get settled. Even though 24 as an age isn’t particularly exciting (unlike, say, 18 or 21) I still think I’ll remember this time in my life. Combine that with the fact that I found a concept I really like and it’s got me thinking about a tattoo. My mom reads this blog and will probably flip when she reads this, but relax, Mom. It would be tasteful and not tacky. If I even do it. Thinking out loud here. For a while I was told by sources who may or may not have been my parents that you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery with a tattoo. I don’t even know if that’s what I want, but I’m a girl who appreciates options. This scared me away from the whole thing. Now I’m hearing that’s actually untrue.

I’m still close with my high school English teacher and I got to talking with him about the whole tattoo idea. He suggested that I write the potential tattoo on a piece of a paper and tape it on my mirror. He said I should leave it there for a long time. That way I have to look at it every day. I have to think about it, have to see the words written out. I have to think about their meaning. If I’m doing this a few months from now and I still like the meaning and the idea, then it’s meant to be. If not, well at least I didn’t get it inked permanently on my body and I can just throw it into the trash can.

I’m a little hesitant to share my potential tatt, because it’s still in the fragile early stages. But we’re all friends. So I will. Plus, I hate when people post on Facebook that they’re getting a tattoo and don’t say what it is. I’m nosy, okay? The tattoo I’m thinking of getting comes from french writer Albert Camus. I’ve seen several different translations of the quote, but here’s the one I like:

In the depth of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

I actually had this on a poster in my bedroom when I was in high school and I loved it. When I was going through high school level uncertainty it felt comforting to me. It was also good when I was home on breaks from college and trying to figure out what to do with my life. I rediscovered the quote via a print on Etsy (with a slightly different translation) and it made me remember how much I love the sentiment and the wording:

I also love that translation too, it’s just a bit longer. Takes up more bodily real estate. So right now I’m just sort of kicking the idea around, looking at the words a lot and seeing how I feel about them. More specifically, how I feel about having them inked onto my skin forever.

Do you have any tattoos? How did you go about choosing them? If you’re thinking about getting one, are you going through the same thought process that I am?

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  1. I have two tattoos and can’t wait to get more. My first I got in Spain when I was 19, it is a pretty decent sized rose on my right side. My middle name is Rose and so my Spanish name is Rosa. I am American but I love and speak spanish and even though I wasn’t even planning on getting a tattoo before I was in Spain I knew it was what I wanted once I got there. It’s been three years and I still love it. I thought a little longer about my second tattoo, it is the words “i love you” on my left wrist in the handwriting of my boyfriend Daniel who died September 3 2011. I wrote it on my wrist for months until I couldnt stand it not being there anymore. I should have waited a little longer though and gotten a better artist! haha if u do get your tattoo make sure you know someone who has gone there before AND their tattoos look good… even though I did that… so it still could go wrong. I thought even if he wasnt good anyone could do script but its the little details that matter and that will bug you with you tats. Good luck!

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