I still don’t have any tattoos. I don’t really know if I’m supposed to get one.
The idea of permanence scares me. How do I know what I know now will remain forever? I feel like the upside of a good tattoo does not justify the downside of a bad tattoo. Maybe I have a narrow sense of taste and see options as purely right or wrong. In reality, perhaps there is good and better.
Sometimes anything is better than nothing.
Maybe my life would instantly improve if I had a tattoo. I’d be cooler, edgy-er, more decorated, right? Or I’d give the impression at least. I literally don’t know. I’m not sure how I feel, that’s why I’m writing this.
Let me think about this for a sec.
Well, if it meant something, I would like a tattoo. Of course. I don’t think I’m objectively opposed to the idea. I think I could handle the needle. Although imagining the process of arranging a tattoo might actually unnerve me. It seems obscure and risky. And obviously physically excruciating. Hm.
I don’t think I fear an external reaction as much. Like I’m not especially worried what other people would think. People have their own problems. I am more afraid of what future me might think. That’s the hang up.
I suppose we get tattoos for one of two reasons: meaning or aesthetic.
I cannot think of any other fundamental reason why a person would get something indefinitely inscribed on their skin. If I got a tattoo, it would have to have meaning and look good. Alright. I’m getting somewhere. If I check those two boxes, meaning and beauty, I can do it.
Here’s the actual problem: I have to permanently proclaim my current version of meaning and beauty — and engrave that on my body forever.
That’s not an easy thing to do.
Meaning changes all the time. At least that’s how I perceive it. What I know and believe today has manifested across 24 years. If I anticipate living into the future any further, that means I am susceptible to new information and experiences. Which brings new meaning. I am liable to update. Which could dramatically shift my perception of the ink beneath my skin. Or worse, stop me from progressing in a particular area of meaning.
I guess I question the certainty of my ideas. My beliefs. My motivations. Maybe that says something about me. I’m too skeptical. Overly cautious. A spineless nerd. Maybe I lack a strong sense of meaning or beauty because I don’t believe in my ability to discern good from bad. These are things.
Let’s Remove the Concept of Tattoo
If I put the injection of eternal ink aside, maybe I can formulate some ideas about what is smart, reasonable, and valuable across multiple domains of life and time. I’m thinking of a hand. And things I want to be or become.
Healthy — index finger.
Responsible — middle finger.
Loving — ring finger.
Creative — pinkie.
I feel like those areas of flesh and those elements of being go together. I do think virtues of health, responsibility, love and creativity can stand the test of time. Also, I wouldn’t want a large tattoo, so this particular placement on the body would keep things minimal. But this introduces the dilemma of where to get a tattoo.
Is it really “appropriate” for me to get tattoos on my hands? You had an opinion instantly, did you not?
To me, the hand makes sense though.
Hands enable freedom and control — they give us the ability to paint and function and produce and interact. They are within our line of sight. The hand provides a sufficient reminder for the sentiments laid out. To fulfill health, uphold responsibility, love intensely, and create courageously.
… But what if I lose a finger?