I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to get a tattoo when I was 16. I used to draw a design on my skin every day–a little doodle of a flower on the inside of my left ankle, where the eagle-eyed enforcers of the dress code wouldn’t be likely to see it. (Yes, folks, in those days back in the stone age there was a Dress Code and if you didn’t adhere to it in every particular you would be sent home to change, if not some worse punishment.)
Nowadays, of course, there are no dress codes in school (or at least not the do-or-die kind we had) and it’s possible for a person to be legally tattooed at the age of 18. I was reminded of this yesterday when I went to my niece’s high school graduation and noticed what appeared to be a tattoo of an ankle bracelet on one young lady as she stepped down from the stage with her new diploma.
My niece wants to get a tattoo herself, and wants to start off with one on the top of her foot, going up the ankle on the outside. She’s 18, and can get one legally if she wishes, but she hasn’t gone ahead with it yet.
On the one hand, I would like to encourage her to go ahead, but on the other hand, is a design you choose at age 18 going to be something you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life?
If I’d had that little flower permanently inked into my skin, I don’t know how I’d feel about it today. I might just show it off as an example of what my younger self thought was worth keeping. I might have had it covered up with something much more elaborate later on. I don’t think I would have had it removed, because it would represent something that once mattered to me very much.
How old were you when you got your first tattoo? Is it something you want to keep for life?