Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Some tattoos are better left in the mind

Tattooing has been a common form of body modification for centuries, and in many parts of the world it serves as a religious or cultural tradition.

Tattoos in America were once viewed as a form of rebellion practiced by criminals, young radicals and members of the military. Tattoos from these rebellious cultures often serve as pieces of identification. For example, one might get a gang-related tattoo to identify himself or herself as part of that organization; the same is true with certain branches of the military.

Although tattoos are still commonly thought of as rebellious, they are becoming more and more common in the American workplace and elsewhere. Tattoos are especially common among teens and young adults who are constantly seeking ways to express themselves.

Many of my friends and both of my roommates have tattoos, and they are often the topic of conversation, so I thought I would tell a little bit about the tattoos that I haven’t gotten.

The first tattoo that I have not gotten is located on my calf. It is the fine black signature of my mother, the tittle on the letter ‘I’ displaced to the right as it always ended up when she signed her name. This tattoo is in remembrance of my mother, who passed away this past February.

The next tattoo that I have not gotten is placed opposite of the previous tattoo and is located on my other calf. This tattoo is a thin outline of the state of Alabama. I do realize that this is a common staple in the hipster tattoo scene, but I like it because it serves to remind me of where I came from and what values I’ve learned from my past.

The tattoo on my left forearm that is not there reads, “To die will be an awfully big adventure. I love you.” These are the last words I whispered into my mother’s ear before she died. She was unconscious so I’m not sure that she heard me, but this tattoo is probably the most important to me. It reminds me that sometimes it is ok to be scared and to be uncertain.

It reminds me to be more understanding of people’s religious convictions, because sometimes it’s just easier to cope with the awfulness of life when we step away from reality.

The last tattoo that I don’t have is the deathly hallows symbol on my right wrist; that, or the dark mark on my right arm, because I change my mind about which I’d rather have almost daily. But these symbolize my childhood.

They remind me to be sensible in my choices and to be brave. They remind me what the entire Harry Potter series reminds me and that is to be principled in my actions. To act on what I believe.

These are the tattoos that I do not have, partially because I have commitment issues and partially because of my aversion to needles. I might execute these tattoos one day, but for now I will just continue to think about them. And honestly, some tattoos are best left to thought.

You should never, under any circumstance, get a lover’s name tattooed on your body. I used to work with a woman who had four different ex-lovers’ names on her body. You don’t need a tattoo constantly reminding you of an awful relationship. That’s what Facebook is for.

You should also avoid getting a portrait tattooed on your body. I realize that you think your two-year-old child is really cute, but cameras were made for this very thing. Tattooed portraits are hardly ever done well, so portraits are best left in the photo albums.

Greek letters also make for awful tattoos. Having your greek letters tattooed on your body is like constantly wearing your bid day jersey – tacky on all accounts.

And finally, you should always avoid getting phrases tattooed on your body in languages that you do not speak. I think it’s fantastic that you’ve managed to use Google Translator to learn to say “love” in Chinese, but that doesn’t deserve a spot on your body.

Tattoos are a great means for personal artistic expression, but you should think before you tat. Because after all, some tattoos are best left in the mind and not on the body.

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