Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tattos: Your Ink and Your Kids

When I was 19 I got a tattoo, it is duck on my left shoulder. I love my duck and now have a ying yang surrounding the duck. For years whenever I taught swimming at least one kid would ask about it. They touched it, asked if it hurt when I got it, and would tell me they are going to get one or that their mom said bikers have tattoos. In an attempt to clean yesterday, I came across a picture Thing One told me months ago was going to be her tattoo when she got old enough. It is a huge multi colored cloud with paisleys and a ying yang in the middle, it is hideous.
I have always told the kids when they are 18 and have the money to pay for it themselves they are welcome to get a tattoo or do whatever it is they want with their bodies, but be warned, a tattoo is there forever. I think about all the people I watched get their tattoos that first and second year of college, it almost became something to do to prove your independence or coolness, I think about the rugby guys I played with wanting me to get some huge rugby scrum on my back, I think about all that and am thankful. I am thankful I got something with meaning to me, something relatively small and easy to hide, and something that I am not paying to remove right now. I was a bit of a dork for a bit by everyone’s standards because I waited so long to get mine, about 9 months after the rest of the gang got there’s, and I didn’t do it in the dorms but actually went to a reputable place.
I am watching people pay more that it cost to get a tattoo to have them removed, and I think how I can make the Things understand all this and the permanence of a tattoo, and do they really need to? Is this one of those mom things they will never hear you tell them about, and encourage them to do the opposite so they end up with a spider web on their face at 16? Is this something that discussing at 8 will fade in the 10 years it takes to get to 18? I am totally unsure.
I plan on getting more ink, not sure about the specifics yet but it will happen. I like my tattoo, and I want something I just need to find the right something. When I do get around to getting that tattoo I know all the questions will come up again, with new ones, like do people your age get tattoos. I don’t see this as one of those do as I say not as I do things. I see it more as what is the best choice for you and long term, what do you want on your body that represents you.
I know, I know, this won’t come up for years, but the Thing’s daycare has a lot of young women tattooing their bodies daily. Every few months some question comes about, why do tattoos hurt, why do you get one if they hurt, can they tattoo anything on a person, like swear words?
I may point them to the ugliest tattoos website, or tell them the stories of friends who have had tattoo nightmares, like the girl who got the Pieces symbol around her belly button and then got pregnant; her tattoo looked like spin art after. Though I will also tell them the right tattoo may help them always remember who they are and where they have been, too.
If you have any ideas for a new tattoo, or what the Things shouldn’t get at 18, let me know, and yes I need it touched up...

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