If your question is, “What are they going to look like when you get older?”, my reply is “I am older. I have never been as old as I am today.” But your question is this, really: “Won’t your tattoos look worse as you age?” Maybe, maybe not, but are you grading this on the opinion that you think people look worse as they age?
That’s your real issue here, isn’t it? Not the artwork but the skin. I’ve got news for you: You’re going to age, and unless you get some tattoos, you’re going to look eighty years old, but you’ll also look like you never took a chance in your entire life. Tattoos are scars with intent. They show that you meant something, even if your only meaning was beauty. That’s enough, by the way. It beats the hell out of going through life with nothing to say.
This is tattoo number five for me. I can already tell you where six will go and what it will be. Every time I have sat under the needle I’ve emerged from the other side more of who I was than when I began. I like the pain. I like the way it feels. Scared of needles? Don’t like pain? You’ll be exactly that when you get older; afraid and you’ll have nothing to show for your fear.
I’ve been bitten by dogs more times than I can count and I still rescue dogs. I’ve been bitten by two dozen different species of non venomous snakes and I still rescue snakes. I’ve stubbed my toe in the woods but I still walk in the woods. Pain teaches you to be careful with your skin, and tattoos do, too. What have you got to say that is so totally you that you’ll wear it until the day you die? Hmmm? Anything? Nothing? You’re saying it.
“I am alone here in my own mind.
There is no map
and there is no road.”
I got this quote inked on my left arm on 9 November 2014. Considering Anne Sexton killed herself, some people think it’s sad, or even fey, but to me it’s the condition of the creative. You have to find your own way in your own mind.
Last Tuesday, I got the Oscar Wilde quote, “Never regret thy fall O Icarus of the fearless flight, for the greatest tragedy of them all is never to feel the burning light”.
According to legend, Icarus was trapped on an island. He made wings out of the feathers of birds and attached them with wax. He flew too high, too close to the sun, and the wax melted and Icarus fell to his death. But at least he flew, and flew high.
Oscar Wilde was ruined as a playwright and a poet because of his sexual orientation. For being who he really was, his art meant less to the public. He had something to say, he said it, and even 119 years after his death, his words still speak to us, or at least to some of us.
You don’t have to get a tattoo to express yourself. You don’t have to do anything other than what you want to do. Play music, write, act, do good deeds and never tell a soul if that’s who you are, adopt a stray dog, pay for someone’s lunch who is hungry, build sandcastles that will last only until the tide comes in, it is entirely up to you to live your one life the way you want.
But do not bad mouth people who get tattoos out or ignorance or fear or, most likely, jealousy.
If I fall, I fall. But I will crash into the ground, as hard as possible, with wings that I made, and I will not regret anything that makes me more of who I really am.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.