Tats R Us

| T. Dill | PinkSandBermuda.com


I was going to start this week’s Tuesday Tune In talking about something to lead up to May 24th. In fact I had a whole line-up in mind. Best Soca songs (maybe next week), parade prep traditions, etc., etc., etc. But when inspiration hits, you better take those blows and pay attention. So she hit me. Therefore I’m not going to touch on any of that this week.

This week’s inspiration came in the form of more than one person asking to see my tats. Now I don’t have a lot and they aren’t enormous but I guess with the way I look you won’t expect me to have them period. I still remember the day I got my first one. 18 years-old, college Freshman on Thanksgiving break in Toronto. After weeks of deliberation and saying to my mom “I’m gonna get one you know,” totally psyching myself out, I finally decided to woman up and do it. So there I was at 6 am in down town T-Dot in the snow. My tattoo artist looked like something out of a movie. Tall, bald, small goatee, facial piercings, tattoo sleeves and genuinely a really nice guy. He spent the two hours it took to get my tat done talking to my friend who was there for moral support, while I took a nap from getting only 2 hours of sleep. I was, as most pre-tat enthusiasts are, a bit nervous. Would it hurt? Will I like it? Do I really want to do this? Well I did. The end result was amazing. I loved my new ink. I loved being the only one in my college circle with ink. Looking back my first tat is something I can only describe as “Me at that moment.” A little rough around the edges. A little not sure if I wanna keep it later. At that age I was still trying to figure out who I was. It was basically what a tattoo is: an outer representation of an inner feeling. Although it’s not my favourite of the bunch, I don’t regret getting it cause it’s a part of my journey. Of course when I returned with my new ink it was to mixed reactions. Some were amused, others thought I’d lost my mind, while a smaller percentage thought I was being a “normal college student.” Little did they know that that tattoo was just a stepping stone on not only a path of self-discovery but also another way I found to channel my emotions. Now here I am, 12 years and 5 more tats later, and still looking for room so I can place some more.

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So why tats? Well, why not tats?

Over the years they’ve become so much a part of our culture as Soca and fashion trends and using your manners when you walk into a room. You can’t turn a corner without someone sporting one. Some so large they have you thinking, “Seriously?” While others are so intricately beautiful they read like poetry. For some the process of receiving a tat is just as spiritually and creatively driven as painting, singing, and writing. For others it’s a way to immortalize a person or situation. And for others it’s simply the “it thing.” For me, tattoos are the first two. They’re a part of who I am. Each one providing a snapshot of who I was at the time when I got them. Each tat has a story behind it and each tat is reflective of parts of my personality. Of course, like anything else, there are risks involved. Am I getting the right one? Is this something I want on me for the rest of my life? Is it going to come out how I envisioned it? Either way it’s a permanent part of them, unless you get that real embarrassing one that needs to be removed (butt tattoo of Sponge Bob anyone?).

All in all tats are an expression of our inner most being. Of course there’s always “limitations” to every form of art. People with facial tattoos are less likely to get hired than ones who have those tats that are easier to hide. Some tattoos are often regretted, like your significant others’ name or a symbol that no longer means anything to you. Even “better” is when you get a tat and either you or your artist failed English 101 (don’t tats come with spellcheck?). Either way tats, like art, say so much about the person who has them. You can be covered in music symbols, paint brushes, fairies, or quotes. They are who you are.

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Love them or hate them, for those who have them, tats are the way we visually tell our story. The way we converse with the world. Tats R Us.