Tattoos have always had an important role in every society.
In some societies, they were used for communication, in others they were used as a blessing, and in some societies, it was seen as a shame for a person to have a tattoo.
In American society, tattoos are becoming more and more common and, while some people remain of the volition that tattoos have no place on the body of respectable people, many people tattoo themselves for sentimental and even religious reasons.
Freshman Caitlin Shaw’s tattoo was inspired by her best friend, Kylie Wright. Best friends since they were young, the summer after Caitlin’s sixth grade year, Kylie had a seizure that put her into a coma due to a heart issue that she’d had since birth. Shortly after her seizure, Kylie was taken off of life support. “My tattoo is on my lower left back, and I know everyone always says ‘tramp stamp,’ but to me, it’s not,” Caitlin said. “I had it done there because I was too scared to get it done on my ribs and did not want to show it on my upper back on my wedding day,” she said.
Junior Rachel Peterson also got her tattoo in memory of a close friend. “Jenna VanBuren and I were friends who had a really close bond. I struggled for a long time after she died because it was hard for me to process the death of someone so similar to me who was such a part of my life. God really came through for me at this awful time; I learned quickly how fragile life is and that everything in life (even the things that are impossible to understand) God can use for his purpose,” Rachel said. Her tattoo – the word “trust” – is located on the inside of her ankle.
Although both of the girls have gotten some negative comments about the placement of their tattoos or the fact that they have a tattoo at all, most people are supportive and understanding of their reasons.
Junior Adam Liker has had nothing but positive comments toward his tattoo. “Everyone thinks it is really powerful to have something so meaningful on my body and seem to be almost proud of the fact that I did it to honor those family members,” Adam said of his blue and green cancer ribbon tattoo located on the inside of his right ankle. The blue is in memory of his grandmother Alice who passed away from colon cancer when he was ten, and the green is for his grandfather who is suffering from chronic liver disease.
Val Burrola, a senior social work major, has a large cross in the center of her back with dog tags hanging from them. Above the cross is written the phrase, “Un dia a la vez,” which is translated to English as “One day at a time.” The cross is in memory of her grandfather, a Bataan Death March survivor. It is also in honor of her fiancé, currently completing his first tour in Afghanistan. “It represents me giving over my worries to God, putting things in His hands and taking it one day at a time.”
All three of sophomore Jen Angus’ tattoos also serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to get her through anything. Lined up from left to right on her shoulders and back, one says, “Con Dios, todo es posible,” the second is of three roses, a butterfly and the word “peace,” and the third is the English translation of the first: “With God all things are possible.” These tattoos echo Jen’s love of the Hispanic culture and the faithfulness of God in her life and her actions.
While some people may not find beauty in tattoos, many people use this body art as a form of worship to God or remembrance of special people or moments. It is a daily reminder to them of who they are, or who they seek to become.