My Second Tattoo
When I turned 18, I couldn’t wait to get a tattoo. I loved the idea of telling my story through art that I could literally wear on my body at any time. My mom never liked tattoos and wasn’t thrilled about my interest in getting one, so while I was in college, I sat in the chair for the first time and got my first tatttoo on my right shoulder, somewhere that I could cover it up with a shirt, or at least for the winter. I’ll never forget when it was summer, she surprised me at my work where I was wearing a tank top, and saw my first tattoo. She wasn’t happy, more like very surprised, and thankfully, I worked at a bar because she needed a drink. Since that first tattoo, I’ve had several more pieces added to my body, each showing apart of my growth in this crazy thing we call life. Today, I want to share the meaning behind my second tattoo, the little girl on my arm.
When I was a kid, this hung around my door.
I loved this piece of art if you can’t tell by it’s fading, tearing, and staining. I never thought much about where it came from or who the little girl is on the cover (I’ve been told that it’s Holly Hobby and since looked into it) but it always reminded me of my childhood room. My childhood room had rainbow swirls on the carpet that I would pretend were roads and rivers. It had a vanity with a beautiful old mirror. I would pick up my hairbrush, put on one of my two favorite CD’s into my boom box (Disney’s Aladdin or the Lion King) and use my head phones as a mic and sing and dance around watching my reflection as I turned into Jasmine or the Genie. I know, I was real cool.
As I descended into my second year of college at UW Madison, I became very homesick. I missed my parents, I missed my childhood room, I missed being young. All the sudden, I was “on my own,” but not so much. I was working two jobs, attending a full schedule of classes, and treated “like an adult” yet I wasn’t- I mean, I was only 19. I became fascinated with this idea of this limbo I was stuck in between being an adult or a teen and a lot of my art in college started to take on this theme as well.
I visited home at some point and grabbed the door hanger to bring with me back to my apartment. I remember staring at it one night and thinking, if this piece of art ever disappears, I would be so sad, and that’s when I knew it was a piece I wanted to remember forever.
I hate to play favorites, but I think this is my favorite of all my tattoos. It’s a constant reminder of the journey that is growing up, because even ten years later than this tattoo, I still don’t really feel like an adult. This little girl is the part of me that will always stay young and innocent.
For those of you with tattoos, what do they mean? How do they tell your story? I have been playing with the idea of starting a project about people and their tattoos—- if you are interested in being featured, drop me a line. Let’s collaborate.