Do tattoos need a story?

This is a important topic for me, that’s why I want to talk about it. I collected tattoos for the past few years and got quite a lot of them now. How many exactly? I don’t know. Actually I never count them, only if someone asks. But back to the topic of tattoo stories. Well, I would like to start with the backstory of getting tattooed in the first place. Btw that’s just my personal point of view, as I can’t speak for every tattooed person.

getting tattooed

For me, getting tattooed, is a ritual. A ritual that includes a long period of letting the piece I want to get sink in. Being really sure I want to get the tattoo. After this I choose the artist I want to get the tattoo done. The design/style which fits perfect and of course I also try to get the message behind the tattoo to them, so they can work with this information too. Than there is also a ritual on the day of the actual appointment. I try to prepare my body the best way possible. Sleeping a lot the night before, drink a lot of water on the actual day and of course shower and maybe shave (depending on the placement).

Arriving at the studio, we talk about the design, change something if needed, talk about the placement and size and prep for the tattoo. Putting on the stencil for me is the moment why I normally get a little nervous, at my first two I got nervous because of the needle, but now I don’t. And than, when the actual tattooing starts, I wait for the first line. That’s when I try to rate the pain level throughout the tattoo process. After that it’s only sitting still, a little talking and waiting for it to be finished. I must say, the last few times I kind of zoned out. It’s like I went into another mental state.

the story

Is there a story behind every tattoo? Sure, there is. Sometimes the story is a simple one – the story I told before – the process of getting tattooed and the fact that you had a idea and wanted it on your body. Sometimes it’s that simple. For me it’s either this or a real story behind the tattoo. But guess what, that’s not a thing you would tell everybody. On some tattoos you can guess the story, for the most, you realize it if you know the person. But for me that’s nothing I would tell someone I just met.

I would not tell everybody my meanings behind most of my tattoos as they are all kind of personal. You wouldn’t ask any person you just met about the last 10 years of their life the first five minutes you meet them, so why do this with tattooed people? Only because we may be showing a bit of this story on our bodies?

For me tattoos and the process of getting them is a really personal thing, as it’s not only bringing a part of my life onto my body or something which helps me or maybe only something I simply like. It’s also, at least for me, making me happy and it’s shows me what I accomplished. I like to look at them and think about my history, which not a lot of people know and not every person should know. It’s simply personal and people without tattoos sometimes don’t get that.

story or not?

So I guess, yes, they have a meaning for me, but they are for me, not for everybody. I also sometimes realize, that I hide them without trying to and only notice it, when people who know me for a while see them the first time and say something like “Wow, you have tattoos!” haha. But I don’t get tattoos for anybody but me, so I guess, I’m not the kind of person noticing if I hide them, because I simply see them as my skin and not as tattoos on my skin.

People asking the story behind tattoos may not notice that they maybe asking somebody they just met about real personal stories. Stories which happened to be as important to stick around and be noticeable not only as tattoos but also in the character of that special someone which happens to like tattoos and let an artist paint their stories on their bodies. So I don’t really have a problem with the fact that people ask me, if they have a meaning for me. But also, don’t believe, that every tattooed person will tell you their stories behind the art on their bodies, because, as you might have guessed already – sometimes they are really personal and private.

I don’t know, if this post makes any sense to you, but maybe, if you also have tattoos you might have the same thoughts and can relate to this. If not, maybe leave a comment with your thought on this topic. I would love to read them!

Photos: Solymár Photography