Do you have any tattoos? Statistically speaking, if you’re under the age of 40, you probably do. Tattoos and their images have changed over the last 20 years, especially. Once, they were considered to be marks of a vagabond or person of ill-temperament, but recently they have made a striking comeback, even becoming more and more accepted in today’s work places (so long as professionalism is portrayed).
But what does a tattoo really mean? Tattoos can have individual meanings, some deeply rooted in emotion, others tributes to the past, or to family members. Some are scenes that depict metaphor, and some are chosen just because they look cool. Whatever your reason, the deeper questions to ask and their subsequent answers might shock you.
Consider the human psyche a moment. A few blog posts ago I talked about icebergs, or core value systems that influence surface actions and reactions to our daily situations. Who a person is will always be imbued on a task or situation they are involved in. The more customization and the more a person can offer individually, the more personality and unique flavor of their person remains. So then, think about what meaning tattoos can have, when the person is you and the ink is permanent.
For some, tattoos are nothing special. Some people love getting them because they love the process, so it’s a hobby. Others don’t care what it is so long as it’s new. Some get them as part of major trips or adventures they go on, and some use them to weave intricate stories of their past and the lives they lead.
Those who get them for the sake of getting them still tell us a lot about those people. What does it mean when a person discards the clear representation of permanence and subjects him or herself to the idea of getting permanently drawn on with haphazard disregard? Well, maybe it means they don’t take life too seriously. Maybe it means that the experience and the present moment of enjoying the time getting it is enough, and that the impermanence of life supersedes the supposed permanence of the ink. No one can fault them for this, and I’m certainly doing no such thing in this post. But it tells a unique tale about them and their perspective on life, doesn’t it?
Take they who use tattoos to weave intricate stories of their past and the lives they lead. Consider one such person that may exist in your life. A person who’s tattoos all retain deeply personal and intimate moments in their lives — moments that don’t just mean something to them because of their significance in their life, but also serve to remind them of a lesson they may forget. For many, this is the case, and perhaps is the most accepted reason for getting a tattoo in the first place. Clearly it means they are deep thinkers, or have a connection to their lives that can only be best represented in the immortal artistry of permanent ink. Even if you knew nothing about this person other than the story of their tattoos, imagine the true nature of their personality you could intuit from them with only that information.
Now, before you get all up in arms, consider that it’s never a good idea to make a snap decision about someone based on any one thing, no matter how intricate and revealing you think it might be. We are all onions, layered with simplicity and complexity abound, and the mixture of those two concepts in each of us varies — sometimes even day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, or across our entire lifetime. Psycho-analyzing someone based on this is probably not the best method, but for the sake of this blog post, considering that which is implied by tattoos may lead you to understanding a person’s point of view better.
I’ll wrap this post up with a small revelation — I have many tattoos. I feel like it might be a bit narcissistic to analyze myself using the methods above, but given the information that I have them, has your opinion or perspective of me as a blogger, writer, brewer, philosopher, creator, or person changed?
Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.