Tattoos: Needles and ink turned into meaningful backstories

Don’t judge the crazy tattoos you see, instead, ask about them

More stories from Bri Hageman


I’m all about those “on a whim” moments. Live for the now, as my 80-year-old grandma would tell me.

As a tribute to her life motto, I decided as I was walking along the streets of Ireland just a few weeks ago that I was going to get a tattoo.

Flash forward a few hours and I find myself sitting in a chair surrounded by pictures of dogs, listening to a playlist consisting of Bob Marley, followed by Metallica. (Weird combo, right?)

The guy who was giving me the tattoo was this adorable Irish man who told me stories about his “kids” who I later found out were actually his dogs. As he was inking my back, I heard “hmmm,” “uhhhh,” and “yesssss” as I laid flat on my stomach for an hour. That was not particularly calming, so I stared at a picture of a puppy in a teacup to ease my mind.

Once the process was over, I absolutely loved it. However, the controversy to follow is a bit of a struggle.

Getting tattoos is rough. People are not as accepting as you wish them to be. You are asked questions such as: “What if you grow out of it? What if you hate it ten years from now? Won’t it look awful when you get older?” Followed up by small comments insinuating the design I just permanently inked on my body was trashy.

Oh, the controversy.

However, none of those passive aggressive comments will stop me from getting a billion more tiny tattoos throughout my lifetime.

Tattoos are a form of expression. You can get a billion, or refrain from even getting one. But if anyone out there is willing to spend the money, endure the pain and take the time to ink a design on their body that will lie on them for the rest of their life, then it must be pretty significant to them.

I think it’s a beautiful thing when people can find something they love so much that they engrave it onto their body permanently.

The tattoos on people tell stories, which I find utterly captivating.

The guy I got mine from had a giant picture of a sheep tattooed in his arm. From the outside eye, you could assume this is a little strange. However, the story with it was amazing.

He got that tattoo for his fiance, who grew up down the street from him. They lived in a town with a sheep farm split across the neighborhood. So, they would always meet in the middle. where the sheep were. She passed away a few years ago from cancer, so he got that as a tribute.

That is why tattoos are so amazing. It can tell a story; it can give you insight into the deepest part of a person’s life.

So what I leave you with is the advisement to refrain from judgment. Let the negative connotation with tattoos be abolished, because they are pretty freaking cool.

Whether you want to get the entire solar system tattooed to your back, or even a unicorn tattooed to your face, don’t let anyone’s judgment stop you from doing so. Do it for you, that’s all that matters.