It starts with a flittering thought at the back of your mind . . . a wish to have a mark placed on your body. What drives this wish? Any number of things: a genuine appreciation for something that can be beautiful and artistic; the wish to have something symbolic and personally meaningful commemorated in a permanent way. It can be a statement: I am my own person; I don’t follow the rules of who you think I should be. This is my life and my body and I am in control of both.
I was 32 when I got my first tattoo. When I got that first tattoo, the tattoo artist said to me, “You’ll be back.” I scoffed. I had only ever intended to get one tattoo. And yet, just a few weeks later, I was back.
There is something about getting another tattoo. Slightly rebellious, a little anti-establishment. There is something about being willing to make that permanent committment to having a mark on your body. There is the slightly nervous buzz as you enter the tattoo parlor, the rush as the sting of the needle enters your skin and you know that there’s no turning back. The cringing through the pain, and running your fingers lightly over the raised, swollen skin afterwards, knowing the mark is a part of you now, forever.