My mother, father, step-father, sister, and elder brothers all have tattoos. It’s something that has been consistent throughout my entire life, and growing up I knew I would eventually come to have tattoos of my own, after seeing the love given to them by my family. My sister’s Welsh dragon, my brother’s calf shrine to the Nightmare Before Christmas, my mother’s reminder of family – all show personal journeys that are present and available to view on skin.
Growing up, I remember my dad keeping a copy of his own sketch of a tattoo that he had always wanted in his wallet. He only recently had this tattooed after a few of us decided to pay for it as a Christmas present to him – his first ever tattoo. I had my first ever tattoo the day after I turned 18. It sounds like a cliché to have had my first tattoo as soon as I was legally able to, but it just so happened to be a coincidence. I was visiting my sister who was getting a tattoo of the Welsh dragon on her arm. Her tattoo artist confirmed she had an opening in the afternoon if I wanted to get my desired first tattoo – a Tardis on my ankle.
Having been an avid fan of Doctor Who since the age of seven, it made sense that something Doctor Who themed would be the subject of my first tattoo. It emphasised something that has been a big part of my life and will continue to define me as a person, which sounds incredibly nerdy but, as a film and TV student, I guess that’s just my life. Etched with the word ‘Geronimo’ as a token to my favourite Doctor Matt Smith, my first tattoo was a symbol of who I was the day after I turned 18 – a huge nerd who was too excited to finally come to experience the pain of a needle piercing your skin over and over. I’m not actually sure if the pain is worth getting a tattoo, but it’s pretty, so it probably was. Last year I had it altered to include a galaxy sky as I thought it looked too blank. As of current, I only have the one tattoo, as I’ve been unable to find the time to book the next few I have planned. In the next few weeks, however, I will have a super pretty shark on my opposing ankle to match the colours I added to the Doctor Who tattoo.
For the last few years I have spent time planning each of my tattoos to every detail as I have personally always followed the motto that you should not get a tattoo unless you know exactly what you want. However, the emphasis here should be on the fact that I follow this advice, meaning other people are free to get whatever they want. Tattoos can either show a personal journey with a piece of art, or people just wanting something pretty to place on their body. I have friends who have both got tattoos because they mean something personal to them or, quite simply, they’re just nice. The key is that they can be anything you want them to be.
At work, a whole bunch of us have tattoos – most of which are visible on arms and all of which are beautiful pieces of art. Regularly we will talk about the tattoos we have, where we got them done and any tattoos we have planned, or ones we want to have in the future. We all find it incredibly easy to talk about and, on some occasions, we have discussed tattoos with customers and complimented them on the tattoos they have on show. Truth be told, I can’t think of an occurrence when someone at work has had to deal with negativity towards their tattoos.
I’ve always had a personal rule against having any tattoos on my arms as I don’t want to negatively impact any future job opportunities. While I still stand by this stance I feel that tattoos are becoming more appreciated and accepted in society. The rise of British and American TV shows such as Tattoo Fixers, E4’s Tattoo Artist of the Year, Tattoo Girls, and Ink Masters highlight the increasing acceptance of tattoos within society as they’re slowly creeping into the mainstream media. Quite honestly though, the refusal of inking my arms will mostly likely always stand – why put clearly noticeable tattoos on my arms when I can make my legs look pretty and surprise people when I tell them I have a tattoo? It’s great fun.
In essence tattoos can be whatever they want to be. They can be spontaneous or planned down to every detail. They show a part of someone’s personality and can be incredibly special, or can be completely unrelated. For me, it’s all about showing my personality without having to provide a description. Here’s to nerding it out with a pretty Tardis.
[Courtney Hughes – @iliveonwifi]