for tattooed people, and those who want to be

The new visibility


When I got my tattoos, I was employed.  Where I worked when I got my first tattoo, the dress code said that tattoos were not to be visible (although I never knew of anyone getting disciplined for breaking that rule).  The second place I worked had no specific rule about tattoos, but the general feeling among our managers was that “professional attire” did not include visible ink.  So I chose to have all my ink placed where I could easily cover it up with clothing.My seven stars

Now, however, being retired, and being the age that I am, I am thinking seriously about getting another tattoo that will be visible.  I’m leaning toward an elaborate bracelet, or maybe a half sleeve that ties in with my first tattoo, my seven stars.  I’m not sure exactly how I’d go about that, but I have been mulling over asking my favorite artist, Kythera of Anevern, to draw me a mythical being of some kind that would work well with stars.  I’d get the colors touched up on the stars at the same time, since over the last 12 years they have faded quite a bit.

The stars are visible already if I wear the right neckline, and when they are visible I get asked about them a lot.  I like that.  I’d like to have something else that’s easy to display, which is one reason I’m thinking bracelet.  The first time I really notice how great a tattoo could look was when I saw a picture of the bracelet Janis Joplin had done. Up to that time I was still just drawing a little green flower doodle on my ankle.  🙂

If you have visible ink, where do you have it, and why did you choose to have it visible rather than hidden?  I’d like to hear what other people think about this particular issue.  And I’m still mulling over my designs.

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  1. JM, isn’t it amazing what a tattoo design can have in it that we don’t realize is there when we choose it? And yes, something that profound is best discovered oneself rather than by some stranger or armchair psychiatrist.

    I chose my dragon to honor my grandmother (who ran a corporation called Draco) but I didn’t find out till after I got it that my great-grandfather (after whom my son is named) had a dragon tattoo as well. So there is an even deeper family connection that I hadn’t known was there.

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  3. I’m bass ackwards in being one to reply since mine are covered, but perhaps in looking at the opposite side, you may get a ‘photo negative’ perspective. I am overall a bit introverted. I don’t mind being friendly with strangers but would not want to have a convo about motherhood/womanhood/personal growth/change, which is what my tattoo is all about, with a complete stranger. At the same time, I don’t want to come up with a quick, light reply that cheapens or minimizes the importance of what my ink means to me. There are years of planning, envisioning, hours and hours of pain, blood, sweat and mental struggle (it’s been xx hours, can I go another one?); I didn’t anticipate my tattoo would become such an intimate part of who I am. I went into it thinking I’d get a beautiful image, but instead, there were many beautiful lessons that were literally ‘imprinted’ in to who I am now.

    Another surprise is that new parts of my self that I’m exposed to fall right in line with some aspect of my tattoo. It had been pointed out to me that I often give conflicting messages in relationships (come closer, but stay away). One morning while putting lotion on looking at my tattoo, I about fell over with shock – not that I hadn’t seen it a million times before (the image itself is a tree-trunk is a womans body and her hair and arms/hands morph into branches), but in the image, one hand is touching the body/trunk and the other hand is stretched forward, almost like a police officer at an intersection motioning you to stop. This was one aspect of the design that the artist came up with, not me. Yet it was a perfect representation of that conflicted part of who I am. I was glad to be able to piece this together for myself instead of having someone else point it out for me, which could have come about had my ink been in a more visible place.

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