In my opinion: Tattoos

My "IMO" series or, "In My Opinion" will tackle all things pop culture, style, music, trends and more!

In my opinion, tattoos are awesome

I'm excited to kick off my first "IMO" post with one of my favorite forms of art: tattoos. I've always had a huge appreciate for ink. As I kid I would reach out and touch and visible tattoos I could see. It's hard to know where my initial fascination came from, but today I can say I love tattoos because of the unique and highly-personal form of expression that it is.

The earliest example of tattooing we've seen on humans was on the 'Iceman' discovered by archaeologists near the Italian-Austrian border in 1991. The Iceman has a series of tattooed dots and crosses on his lower spine, right knee and ankles, corresponding to areas commonly affected by straining joint pain. Specialists theorize that the practice of tattooing in those times, almost 5,200 years ago might have been used to alleviate joint pain. Essentially the practice of tattooing in its earliest forms was therapeutic. Later examples of tattooing were discovered on ancient Egyptian remains, Japanese men dating to the late 3rd century A.D., Native American remains from the late fifteenth century, and on Polynesian cultures documented by James Cook's expeditions to Tahiti in 1769. It's from the Polynesian culture that we have the term 'tattoo' from. 

In earlier, pre-modern times tattoos were used for a huge variety of reasons. Evidence from royal Egyptian tombs shows tattoos were predominantly drawn on women, thought to be a therapeutic practice for childbearing and birth. Among the Greek and Roman examples of tattooing, it seems that they were used as a means to mark someone as belonging either to a religious sect or to an owner in the case of slaves or even as a punitive measure to mark people as criminals. It wasn't until the eighteenth century that tattoos became fashionable among Europeans, particularly in the case of men that were sailors and coal miners. Tattoos among these men in high-risk jobs included anchors and miner's lamps that served more as an amulet and were commonly placed on the forearm.

In more modern times, there are many reasons people flock to tattoo parlors to have works of art drawn on their skin. You could even say there's a sort of psychology around tattoos. Is it art and self-expression, is it rebellion, maybe it's a reminder? Johnny Depp has said, "My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story." Whatever their reason, it seems that tattoos have become more and more popular.

My first tattoo

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As I stated earlier, I love tattoos and have a huge appreciation for the art form. I personally, as I write this, have one tattoo on the inside of my left bicep of two Koi fish drawn and shaded in multiple red and gold colors. I chose to have the permanent drawing on my arm for a few reasons. First, I love the symbol of Koi fish. According to Feng Shui, a fish represents wealth and prosperity because the actual Chinese word for fish also translates to "abundance". A pair of golden fish is also one of the eight Buddhist symbols, representing tenacity. As with other Chinese symbols, the carp, according to legend, is noted for its strength and bravery because it swims up the current. When the carp makes its final leaps over the current, it thought to turn into the iconic Celestial Dragon. Second, I feel it helps me express myself. It shows my love for color, art, and in a way a little fearlessness to commit to a permanent drawing on my body. I have a hard time wearing bright and colorful clothing, so I typically resort to wearing blacks, grays and whites. I'm also pretty self-conscious when it comes to clothes. I am most comfortable in the least amount of clothing - either yoga pants, a crop, or a bathing suit. I put on well-together outfits and rarely do I find something I feel is perfect. 

Whatever your opinions are on tattoos, there is a rich history behind them and I don't think they will ever cease to be a powerful form of art and self-expression. I see mine every day and it makes me happy.

Do you have any tattoos? Are you planning on getting a tattoo? I'd love to hear!