Tattooed Permanence

Last night, I got another tattoo.

I know, it’s an unusual way to start a post, but as I woke up this morning with the skin on my left pec still throbbing, it’s only natural that this tattoo is at the forefront of my mind. Yes, I admit, I was one of those douche bags who got a tattoo in Hebrew, but unlike Britney Spears, I made sure I got a decent translation. It’s Hebrew from a ring that was a gift from a friend that I’ve worn every day for the past 5 years so I figure, if I commit it to my body by wearing the ring everyday, what’s the harm in committing it to my skin?

I know, I know, some people don’t go for tattoos. I’ve heard all the reasons before. “Are you really gonna want that forever?” or “How do you think it’s gonna look when you get old and you start to wrinkle?” Well, to answer just those two questions, I wait a decent 6 months before ever getting a tattoo to make sure that I will want it forever and when my skin starts to wrinkle, well, I’m gonna be wrinkling anyways, so what’s the big deal?

As for the reasons that people don’t like tattoos? Well, they usually cite the aforementioned questions as the reasons they would never get them. Sometimes it’s the fear of the pain of needles or something like that, but mainly it’s the idea of the permanence. Personally, that’s the kinda thing I go for. I always tell myself, if it’s worth the “pain” (a relative term) of getting the tattoo, then it’s worth having a daily reminder on my body.

But back to this idea of permanence, there’s something so intoxicating about it. Because here’s the thing, the entire experience and the tattoo itself is something so indescribably personal. Sure, people see the markings on my body, but they don’t see the history behind every labor of love that I’ve had etched into my body. One of the perfect examples is my Batman logo on my ribs. Most people see it and think “Awesome, that guy must really love Batman” and being Batman fans themselves, they think it’s cool or whatever.

But what does Batman mean to me? Why would I get it tattooed on my body? Well, I was raised in a conservative household and one of our rules was no comic books. They weren’t substantial literature or whatever. So Batman for me is that mile and a half bike ride to the nearest comic book store. It’s buying the latest issue and stashing it under the bed so my parents wouldn’t find it. It’s reading the same issue every night over and over until the next issue comes out.

Batman isn’t “cool” to me, Batman is a part of my childhood. Batman is my first act of rebellion. And sure, I can tell you the story and you can read it, but it will never pack that same emotional punch as what it means to me. This is where my tattoos come back into play. I can tell you what they mean and you can see them with your own eyes, but there’s something intrinsically personal about my ink. So whenever somebody questions why I get the tattoos that I do, I can never quite explain it. It’s just a personal thing.

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