Tattoos: A Means of Artistic Expression

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Traditionally, there's been a stigma surrounding tattoos, but recently, it's become more widely accepted and appreciated as an art, and art it is! Now, don't get me wrong, there are some tattoos that you come across and wonder WTF the person was thinking, but each ink mark tells you a part of that person's story! I guarantee that if you looked at me and saw some of my ink, you'd have that WTF is she thinking moment, but I promise, mine are all a part of me, they give you an insight into my beliefs, morals, values, likes, etc. It's my way of expressing myself, so without further ado, let's dive right in. This project is called deaf, TATTOOED, and employed after all!

Tattoo #1 - A cross on the inside of my right ankle... A cross was something I always wanted. Yes, it has to do with my Christian faith, but more than anything it stood for hope and foundation. It serves as a reminder to stay grounded and rooted in my values. 

Tattoo #2 - The phrase "born believing" on the outside of my left foot... This is meant to be a general life mantra, as in I was born believing in something better than myself, born believing in something bigger than myself, born believing there is something out there for everyone, born believing we all have a purpose, you catch my drift? (and funnily enough, it was inspired by a misunderstood music lyric from the song "Colder Weather" by Zac Brown band. The lyric actually reads "born for leaving", so yeah #deafproblems ;))

Tattoo #3 - Music notes on the inside of my left wrist... My mom has this as well. Music has always been our bonding thing. She (and my grandma) introduced me to Elvis. She took me to my first concert when I was five years old (Hootie and the Blowfish, in case you were wondering), and has been my favorite concert buddy ever since. We wanted to get matching tattoos and felt that something simple with the power to represent so much more was the ideal way to go!

Tattoo #4 - Infinity symbol with family written in it on my right ribcage... As you've probably gathered by now, family is extremely important to me. I don't have a big extended family, but I have an tightly knit immediate family. My mom, sister, and I all have this on our bodies somewhere. Dad, not much of a tattoo person, but we still love him all the same!

Tattoo #5 - "I love you" in sign language on my right ribcage... I think this one is a little self explanatory at this point! I think having this permanently on me reminds me to love myself for this specific thing (my hearing loss). Also, growing up, my mom used to always flash me this sign when I would go to sleep at night or across the soccer field or wherever. It was her way of saying, "I'm here, and I love you."

Tattoo #6 - Tree with snake wrapped around it, sun peaking out, and peanut in the roots on my left ribcage... This one's definitely my biggest one to date. The tree essentially represents the tree of life, and each little thing represents a piece of my family. The sun peaking behind the trees is for my mom, her California sun. The snake around the tree is for my dad. He worked his whole life to be able to one day afford a Shelby Cobra (he has one now), And in ancient times, the cobra was known as a symbol of wisdom, and if you know my dad at all, you know he's full of it, my main source of it, really. The peanut in the roots is for my sister. Her nickname is 'peanut'. 

Tattoo #7 - Arrow with 3 lines and the number two on my left forearm... This one definitely looks like basic white girl tattoo, but I wanted something super simple to represent something super complex. Each part of the tattoo has a bit of a life meaning and a faith meaning. The arrow is pointing facing up as a reminder to always move forward. The base of the arrow is a cross to represent Christ, and the top of the arrow is symbolic of a roof, so being at home with Christ. Underneath the arrow are three lines that represent stairs. My dad always tells me how I want to go from A to Z without experiencing the steps in between, so this is a reminder to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the ride as it comes. It's also symbolic of taking the steps to being closer to G-d. The #2 underneath the lines represents this idea of being second to G-d and being okay with this idea of second best. No matter where you are in life, there's always going to be someone better than you and vice versa, you'll be better than someone at something, so it's about being content in the moment with who you are and what you have. 

Tattoo #8 - Line, circle, triangle vertically on the outside of my right wrist... This showcases my nerdy side. It represents the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. I got it done while I was in the UK where the books were written. These books were my childhood and gave me this belief that I have the ability to dream and create. 

Tattoo #9 - Dreamcatcher that breaks out into the words "forever young"... I don't usually like colors in my tattoos but the colors in this one are important. Some of you may or may not know that my younger sister passed away a few years ago. I had this tattoo done for her by her artist. She had a tattoo of a dreamcatcher on her ribcage as well. The full, purple feather represents me. The middle, partially open feather of a pink and purple hybrid represents my sister and I together (aka sisterhood); and the last, fully open pink feather breaking off into the words "forever young" symbolizes my sister. Growing up, pink was always her color and purple was always mine, so it only felt appropriate to include these details.

Tattoo #10 - Period (.) and a wave on the back of my right arm just above my elbow... Another basic white girl tattoo, but the meaning behind it is very much in line with my values. The period at the front symbolizes the end of one story, and the open wave following represents the unknown and unlimited possibilities ahead. You know, ride the wave?!

As for tattoo #11, well, that's still a mystery, but I'm sure it'll come around soon enough ;) 

So tell me, how do you express yourself!? How do you share your story?