My Body

Tattoos say lots of things, but do they really scream, “Psycho?”

December 31, 2012

I’m a huge fan of tattoos. I have three myself. My third was added this past Thursday.

Tattoos mean a lot more than pain and ink. Personally, I hate the pain that accompanies tattoos. If the tattoos could somehow magically appear on my skin without the stabbing and eye-wincing, I’d choose that option. I’ve even asked for numbing cream. That failed.

But what do these tattoos mean to me?

They stand for memories. They hold memories. My first tattoo was a birthday gift from a dear friend whom I’ve slightly lost contact with but could never forget. This tattoo ensures that. My second tattoo is a puzzle piece that matches one with my best friend. The best friend who moved in the middle of my senior year in high school. She’s one of my dearest friends and someone I miss everyday. This tattoo stands for our friendship. No matter if she’s a few blocks away or in Kansas, we’ll forever hold a piece of one another.

My most recent tattoo is a quote from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. “And in that moment, I swear, we were infinite.” This is another tattoo my best friend and I share. However, it doesn’t stand solely for our friendship. It stands for the infiniteness of countless moments in my reckless (yet incredibly exciting) life.

The problem is not all who see me see what these tattoos truly stand for. Some like Simon Doonan find tattooing as a “culturally sanctioned form of delicate cutting.” So what he’s trying to say is that I enjoy tattoos for the pain that accompanies it. Again, I do not enjoy the pain. Sure, there are those weirdos who talk about, “I love the pain of a tattoo.” That’s pretty weird. I don’t like pain. I don’t even like getting pinched. And I sure don’t like self-inflicting pain, which is what cutting is. Cutting is on the verge of suicidal. This place is a shitty one, but I’m not ready or willing to leave it yet.

Doonan blames tattoos on the desensitization accompanying society’s loss of reality due to social media and “screens.” He even recommends buying Ed Hardy shirts instead. I don’t want skulls all over my body. I want what I have: a dandelion, puzzle piece and infinity sign. I want something meaningful that I’ll be proud of 20 years down the line. That’s the beauty of a tattoo. It’s forever. I change my shirt everyday. That’s why Doonan discourages tattoos, however.

Besides his close-minded ideas, his writing isn’t quite up to par, either. Anyone in the magazine business has been taught to stray from the lulling “according to.” And though he introduces an interesting statistic in his lead (more than 45 million Americans are tatted), “according to” are the wrong words to introduce that stat. Let’s try to personify the FDA a little. “The FDA says” would work a lot better. I can’t deny that his use of adjectives and verbs is interesting.

Today I saw a superannuated South Beach swinger boasting a tarantula on her right shoulder. Every time she hoisted her sippy cup to her lips the spider jiggled.

The words bolded are some I enjoyed reading. This guy needs to work on the basics of magazine writing. He ain’t too shabby, but he sure needs to open his eyes to the reality of tattoos: They’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

So he better get used to them.


  • Reply Desiree Gonzalez September 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

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    • Reply Desiree Gonzalez September 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      I love your blog Yessenia! I definately have to agree with you about tattoos because I myself have 4, and each of them have a very specific meaning to them. Some people might not get it, but as long as your tattoos mean something to you, then that’s all that matters. I have one on my stomach that’s a Leo sign with a heart in the middle because obviously I’m a Leo, and I’m obsessed with horoscopes and all that good stuff; I basically live by them. The reason for the heart is because I am also a hopeless romantic, so love and astrology are two of my biggest interests and hold a lot of significance in my life. I have another on my back, that I got when I was 16, but even now I don’t regret getting it because it’s basically the Puerto Rican flag, with my name and some wings. My nationality is something I am very prideful about and has a huge influence on the person I am today. Without being “NewYorican,” as I like to call myself, all of my accomplishments would just be normal, but for a young Latina woman whose mom had her when she was 16, being “NewYorican” couldn’t be more inspiring. Being a minority has pushed me to work hard and spread those metaphoric wings to break out of the stereotypical molds we are put into as Latinas in our society. Which is why I got my last two, which are on each of my sides. They’re the most recent ones and are both the same thing: a bunch of stars going down my ribs with this cool design, colored in red, black silver and gold (my sorority colors.) The reason I got these wasn’t just because it looked cool, it was because education is literally all that have; my parents have nothing for me. So the stars represent me reaching for the stars (my dreams.) Being a dreamer is the only thing that gives me hope that I will come up in this white mans world and not be just another statistic…When I was a freshman, I joined my sorority, but now as a senior, I didn’t realize how much impact my sorority would have on my academic/personal life. It has shaped me into the outgoing, hard-working, strong woman that I am today. Surrounding myself with women who have the same goals as me is really empowering, and you know what they say, “you’re a reflection of the company you keep.” (Or something like that, you get the point.) So, without meaning, my tattoos would just be graffiti or meanlingless body art. With meaning though, my tattoos are symbolic glimpses of self expression. However, I personally love the pain of tattoos, which is weird, I know, but hey everyone is different. I plan on getting my next one soon, which is going to be a dreamcatcher on my left shoulder blade. I’m excited about this one because it’s going to be pretty big and is going to have the most meaning. It will probably be my last one before I graduate in May, so I have to carefully craft this one…I don’t think tattoos are to blame for “society’s loss of reality,” like Doonan said, I think reality television and society itself is to blame for our “so-called” loss of reality. But like you said, tattoos aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, at least not for me anyway. Thanks for the insight! Feel free to follow my new blog, which I had to make for Interactive, but I actually think blogging is a lot of fun. It allows you to vent and put your thoughts out there in a way you can’t really do anywhere else:

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