Recently, I added a new tattoo to my collection. Made with love and expertly itched into my skin, I was thrilled to get my first tattoo with a rotary gun – nearly silent, compared to the traditional buzz of a tattoo machine.
Sitting in the studio, I looked at the walls, which were covered in tranquil zen-inspired photography. The experience of getting a tattoo with little more than the sound of music was an incredible experience, which completely changed the moment of getting a tattoo.
In my experience, getting a tattoo is usually a really loud process. In a busy shop, you’ll hear the constant buzz of multiple tattoo machines as they start and stop for hours at a time. Without the drilling noise of the machine, I felt if I were able to better process the moment as it was happening.
See, every tattoo on my body has special significance to me. They’re one of the ways I reflect at my own journey as a human being.
When you’re in a chair for what can feel like an eternity, your mind mentally encapsulates everything happening in your life at that moment. To somebody without a tattoo, that’s unfortunately the best way I can describe the experience.
Looking at each of my tattoos, I’m able to instantly go back to that particular chapter of my life as if it were yesterday. Pairing this with my own practices of reflection and observation of my life, tattoos make for an incredible tool. They’re on your body for the rest of your life, after all..
When I was younger, I loved tattoos and really wanted to get one. I remember some of the elaborate sketches I imagined getting tattooed on my then pre-pubescent body. I’d dream about how cool they would make me look – at that time, I think I wanted to look tougher than I was.
Whenever I’d ask my parents about getting a tattoo, I was instantly denied.
“Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” my Mom said…
At the time, I was really intent on getting a tattoo. Or scuba lessons, for that matter. No matter how much I wanted to get a tattoo at that age, there was no way that my parents were going to let me.
I don’t think there are a lot of experts that would recommend my parents rethink their decision to prevent me from getting a tattoo when I was 12. In fact, I think a room full of competent Ph.D’s would strongly agree with my parents decision not to let their 12 year-old get a stick figure tribal tattoo running down his arm before it was capable of growing adult arm hair.
I’m 35 years-old now and can count 27 tattoos after this last one. That’s not a confident 27, mind you — after a quick mirror check, I can confirm it’s 27…
As a man with a full collection of tattoos, which has cost me thousands of dollars and years to accumulate with the collaboration of multiple artists, I feel quite qualified to speak on the matter of tattoos.
Were this academia, I’d say that proudly hold my Master’s in the subject of being tattooed, and probably have a doctorate in the works..
Given my present experience with tattoos, I can unanimously agree with the decision of my parents – and parents worldwide – to not allow a child under the age of 18 to get a tattoo, and I don’t know if there are many child development experts that would disagree with me.
In my entire life, there’s really only been a small handful of people who have voiced their disagreement with tattoos. Mind you, not my tattoos, but the idea of being tattooed.
Most of these disagreements stem from the idea that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
To that, I simply reply:
“Wasn’t the temple well decorated?”