Tattoos: Expressing My Identity


Sara Cawood, Reporter

I scheduled my appointment for my first tattoo a month before I turned 18. If I’m honest, it was partly because I was excited to finally get something I had wanted for so long and had to wait for; I went in for my appointment on December 7th kind of nervous, and walked out beaming. Not just because I’d just gotten a beautiful piece of artwork on my arm, a moth, a tribute to my parents for guiding me in the right direction, and a reminder to always follow a path of positivity. The real happiness came from an expression of my identity; and the first piece of my journey with tattoos. It’s exhilarating to know I have the power to express myself, my interests and experiences in a way that is so empowering.

Soon after my first appointment I booked another one – which I ended up cancelling upon realizing it was made out of pure impulse, and that I didn’t actually know what else I wanted. It’s true what they say about tattoos being addictive!

I did get another tattoo, however, a matching tattoo with my best friend, Hailey Vanderweele, in honor of her battle and survival of cancer. It’s a beautiful little flower with the signature of Casimir Pulaski, a polish Revolutionary war hero, underneath it. There is a song by artist Sufjan Stevens called “Casimir Pulaski Day”, which is a holiday celebrated on the first of March in Illinois is honor of Pulaski. Stevens wrote this song in honor of someone he loved who died of bone cancer. In July, Hailey and I saw him in concert and he played this song – which led us to realize that two years ago on that day, Hailey had been diagnosed. We shared such an emotional moment together upon realizing that we decided to get a tattoo together – another way to express the deepest of connections with someone.

Although I’m tempted to, I’ve tried hard to keep myself from making any more appointments. I’m still young, and my first tattoos are a representation of the first phase of my life. I don’t want to fill up too quick. My personal journey with tattoos is a quest to show the experiences that have left and will leave an impact on me.

That’s not to say everyone who gets a tattoo should have some deep emotional meaning to it; as I said, it’s all about the expression of one’s identity which everybody has a right to. I’d encourage anyone to get a tattoo they’ve put some thought behind. Our society is changing and the presence of tattoos really doesn’t impact someone’s chance of a job as much, assuming they’re in a conservative place.

My tattoos have gave me a better sense of self and feeling of individuality we all seek, and I wonder what works of art will be with me by the time I’m older.