Hey guys, welcome back to TNTH!
A couple of weeks ago, I read some old TNTH posts and came across one that I wrote last year entitled “First Tattoo: Story + Meaning”. I was very fortunate to get a first tattoo that I really cared about and never had second doubts getting it. The story behind it was one that I wanted to explain because “home was us” wasn’t a common phrase like “stay strong”. In other words, I had (and still have to) explain to everyone what the story behind the tattoo is.
Since then, I’ve got another tattoo (only took me three years to do) and the story and meaning behind this one are much more simple than the first:
On October 6th, 2017 around 12:30ish, I got my second tattoo.
Even before my first tattoo, I wanted something that would be in a typewriter font for as long as I could remember. To me, they looked clean and carried such a writer’s aura that I know I wanted to have whatever word that I was going to get. Coming to a word was hard; I wanted to get a word that meant more than just one thing. I wanted something that represented who I was as a 23-year-old grad student growing up. I played with many different words that I thought was the one, and when I got to “write“, I didn’t hesitate to choose that word.
Despite common belief, I didn’t get the tattoo to symbolize that I am a writer. I got it because of where I was (and currently am) in my life. During my first year of grad school, I began to feel this division between those in the program who were “readers” and those who were “writers”. My MA program was predominantly a literature program and I felt like I was in a place where I felt misunderstood and constantly put down because I wasn’t like the majority of the students in the program. One class I had my first semester in grad school taught me a lot about writing and the writing universe I never knew about because of literature is the one that is always deemed “more important”. For the past two years, I worked on my thesis with the professor who taught that same class, and as of now, my thesis is completed, passed, and archived at my college’s library. That thesis even allowed me to speak at my college’s graduate conference in early May about the same division within student writers in college classrooms, and for once I felt proud and just as important being a writer. It’s a label I don’t think I’ll ever scratch off, no matter what type of job I get and where life takes me. I write because it is my way of speaking.
I got this tattoo to remind myself that all I gotta do is write whenever I am feeling or thinking something that I cannot put into words properly. I’m not the best speaker; I’ve dealt with a speech impediment for most of my life and it’s sometimes hard to express good ideas verbally. I feel like ever since I started to use writing as a form of expressing myself, I was able to reach out to an audience much more efficiently than just speaking to them. A lot of the ideas I had for school papers of creative pieces would be so intricate that explaining them out loud didn’t give them the justice it deserved. I use writing as my form of expression, and I take it very seriously because it has not only gave me a platform to express myself but it in a way saved me from myself. It saved me from being in my head on restless nights. It saved me from making extreme decisions out of pure emotion I was feeling at that moment. It saved me from saying and doing a lot of things to myself. It gave me a reason to live, in all honesty.
So yeah, I wish the meaning of my second tattoo was just as interesting as the first one, but this experience was a lot less nerve-wracking than the first! This time, I went to get this tattoo alone on a Friday, autumn afternoon (one in which felt like it was still the middle of the summer) and went to the same tattoo artist who did my first one (which btw if you’re in the Bay Ridge area, I highly recommend Matt at Brooklyn Ink!) It took him a while to get his station set up because I was one of the first people to even enter the shop that day so in the meantime, we spoke about random things like college, the commute to CSI, how that bus is forever crowded (the bus stop is down the block from the tattoo shop) and the reality of people wanting word tattoos to face them so they can personally read them, which I find hilarious. I mean, a tattoo is a piece of art on your body, show it to the world! Anyway…
I had also asked my tattoo artist if it was alright if he touched up my first tattoo. Like I said in my first tattoo story, I was 20 and wasn’t really careful with my tattoo during the healing process, so it was extremely patching for three years. He kindly touched it up, and had asked me the actual meaning of my first tattoo. When I told him, the other guy in the shop at the time chimed in and said, “You’re a fan of The Killing? Bro, how great of a show was that shit?”
When I say I thought I was the only other person in the world to like The Killing… it was amazing to find two other fans of the show! It was honestly the second time someone had asked me what the tattoo meant and actually knew what the hell I was talking about. After the touch-up, both of my tattoos were now wrapped up, and I left to go home. I was really happy to have a second tattoo on my body; I honestly thought I was only going to have the one for the rest of my life…
… but let’s face it, getting a tattoo is addicting, so see you guys for the potential third story in the future. 😉