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Tattoos and Image

I got my first tattoo when I was 17 and in my senior year of high school.

That started my love affair with tattoos over the past five years. After I got my first tattoo I kept going back for more and more! I have 8 tattoos at this present moment-- I have had to talk myself out of getting more recently! I have come up with a reward system for myself so I don't just splurge and spend all my money on tattoos hahahaha.

Let's dive in and talk about my tattoos and what they mean to me!

My first tattoo was the tree on my side going through the seasons. It was given to me by my youth leader's son in law and it is his original art that he worked on for weeks before I came in! This tattoo probably means the most to me and is my favorite piece of art that is on my body. The tree is intricate and going through the seasons while having the delta symbol carved into the trunk of the tree. Delta stands for change over time and when I got this tattoo it was a reminder that we all go through seasons of life, things are always changing over time, and to never lose hope. The quote "The Great Perhaps" is from Looking for Alaska by John Green which was and still is one of my favorite books. The full quote is, "I don't have to until I die to start seeking a great perhaps." For me, this quote was an important reminder that I shouldn't wait my whole life to become who I am supposed to be. I shouldn't wait to start seeking the things that I want out of my life! I need to do the things that I want to do., Which is when my love affair with myself really started. When I was in high school I took to cutting myself on my hips as an emotional release and it really helped me work through my emotions. Cutting is not a healthy way to deal with your emotions and this tattoo was a reminder for me to remember that I am strong, and that we are always moving through seasons of life. This too shall pass. Change does occur over time. Always.

The next tattoo I got was the summer after high school and I got a giant century plant on my back. My second semester of my senior year was the best time of my life. I was a part of a program called Senior Field Studies that was an experiential education program that taught you a ton of outdoor and real life skills. We went backpacking for 10 days through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and we spent over 24 hours alone in the desert as a solo experience. Century plants grow in the desert-- they are agave plants that grow and grow for one hundred years and then they sprout a big stalk, seed the area around them, and then die. For me this tattoo was a reminder of the time I spent alone in the desert. It was also another reminder that I can't waste my life not doing the things that I love and yearn for.

The next tattoo I got was a Latin root-- egredior-- on my ankle! It is actually my grandfather's handwriting. My grandpa has always been one of my best friends. He is amazing and has always made me feel loved. Having his handwriting on my ankle is such an important reminder for me. Egredior means to wander, to go, to land, and to exceed. For me this was a reminder to go forth in my path but not forget to enjoy myself along the way. I will get to where I am going in my own time.

After that tattoo I got a flower on my finger! This was an homage to my time that I spent in Kansas going to school and the people I met and the ways that I grew. I miss Kansas everyday but I know that I belong in a big city surrounded by mountains and that Colorado is my home. This is a nice reminder of the friends I made though and their connection to me.

Later on, I got a small circus tent behind my ear. This was inspired by the book the Night Circus. The tagline for the circus was that it was the circus of dreams. I have always struggled with night terrors, weird dreams, and restless sleep for as long as I can remember. This circus tent is a reminder that my brain is the circus of my dreams, it is the ringleader. And I can read those dreams and utilize them in my everyday life. I honestly forget I have this tattoo a lot of the time since it is hidden.

I got another Latin tattoo on my forearm that says exhalant plurima naribus. This means to inhale and exhale-- as someone who quite frequently forgets to breathe this is a good reminder that I need to take a few minutes every once in a while to just breathe and let go!! It is so important especially for someone as high strung as myself!

On my 21st birthday I got a cairn on the back of my neck. For me, my 21st birthday was a huge milestone for me. I was so much farther in my life than I had ever imagined being and making it to real adulthood was a big marker in my life. A cairn is a rock stack that marks a trail. It is a milestone along in your journey to let you know you are on the right path. This is a reminder that I will get to where I need to be. And to look for reminders in life that reassure me of the path I am on.

The last tattoo that I have gotten is a quote from my favorite book as a little girl, Stargirl. It says, “ you’ll know her more by your questions than her answers. Keep looking at her long enough. One day you might see someone you know.” For me this was a tribute to the ways I have grown and changed. A tribute to my self-reflection. A reminder that I will learn more about myself from questions than their answers.

My tattoos are a vital part of my being. They have become one with my soul.

I have resigned myself to the fact that some people probably will not support me, hire me, or care for me because I have tattoos-- but those people know nothing about me or what I am capable of. Those people are missing out on the talents I have to offer. If they are judging me based on my tattoos we are not meant to work with, be with, or interact with one another. My tattoos are a statement to the world that I can be rebellious, carefree, free spirited, and get my shit done. They always will be.

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