Body Art – It’s Not For Everyone, But It Should Be!

Body art is not for everyone.  Many people tsk-tsk the symbols and flashy colors on every conceivable area of the body, shaking their head in wonderment at those of us who adorn our body with varying levels of self expression.  Perhaps it’s the perceived defacing of the clean slate of our skin that shocks them.  Perhaps it’s the fear of committing to something as permanent as ink nestled underneath the top layer of the skin.  Perhaps they feel it somehow diminishes a person’s worthiness.  I don’t know, and I don’t think they do either.  Whenever I ask the reason behind their reluctance to embrace the art of tattooing, the answer is usually “I just don’t like it.”

But every tattoo has a story.  Wherever a person was in their life,  they had chosen a symbol to reflect that particular moment.  It was the missing piece of the puzzle that fit perfectly into their soul at that moment in time.  Tangible documentation – something a person can point to, touch, and remember it by.  And I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who told me that they regretted their choice.

Jill, an incredible woman, very close to my heart, has allowed me to share the story of her tattoos with you:

"These represent my two sons, now both close to my heart. The cobra is from my beautiful son Jon, who passed away. The circle is from my oldest, loving son Raun. The meanings run deep in my soul." ~Jill

"Out with old, in with the new. Peony flower, just the beginning, soon to become a garden. It represents my freedom." ~ Jill

A good friend of my oldest son, got his first tattoo when he turned 17 – a tradition amongst the males in his family.  They’ve had the family crest inked onto their chest, reflecting the pride in their clan.

Starritt Family Crest

As for me, my first tattoo was about 11 years ago.  I had always wanted to get a one because I recognized I was reaching a point in my life when I was feeling a little bit bolder, a little bit rebellious, but was yet unable to make a stand.  An armband with the yin-yang symbol represented my emerging side, but the names of my sons and then-husband reminded me of the commitments I had made.

My second was about a year and a half ago, when I released my first novel, Again.  I had integrated the triskele into my story, and since the entire writing process was such a huge part of my life, I wanted to honor my efforts by having the same symbol inked on my right shoulder.

My third was actually yesterday.  The decision to get another tattoo came right out of the blue.  I was doing the day job thing, wishing that I wasn’t, sneaking peeks at Twitter and blogs, writing and reading comments – basically getting all wrapped up in the writing experience – and I was happy.  Really, really happy.  Not that I’m not normally happy. I mean, I have two incredible boys and a steady paycheck.  I live in a nice community with incredible friends and beautiful surroundings.  So, yeah.  I’m good.  But immersing myself in the world of writers and other artsy-type people just puts me in my really happy place and resonates deep within.  Like I was born to do this.  By diving into this world of writers, by writing my novel, I am one of them.

I write.

I wanted to stamp that on my hand, across my forehead, to remind myself of who I am,and to put it out to the universe and anyone else who will listen (anyone, that is, not already within my own circle of supportive, awesome, incredible brothers and sisters of Twitterville, Facebookland, and Blogopia).  Mostly, though, it was for me.  It was something I needed to do.  So I did it.   Thank you Crystalyn!

Crystalyn - Artist Extraordinaire!

I share with you now my journey of yesterday.  Photos, courtesy of my writing partner, Kathleen Mulroy.  Ink job courtesy of Crystalyn.

The stencil of my artwork

Inking the outline

Outline done

First layer of color done

Second color layer done - Finished product - Writer's quill - "Scrivo" - meaning "I write" in Italian

So stay tuned for my next story.  I’m in the process of designing my next tattoo, a symbol that is coming right out from my next novel.   I just need to figure out where I’m going to put it…

So, tell me…do you like body art?  Do you have many friends who have at least one?  Would you ever consider getting one yourself (if you don’t already have one).  I’d love to know!

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About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Human, Personal, Tattoo, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Hi Diana. So, I’m one of those ‘not a tattoo person’ people. (Meaning I don’t ever see myself getting one.) But I do appreciate the art and symbolism of tattoos that truly had thought and soul behind them, as yours does. So many tattoos I see are complete overkill and seem like the person wants to convey ‘something’ but is missing it. 😉

    Your tattoo is probably one of, if the the most, beautiful ones I’ve ever seen. So unique. Enjoy it and what it means to you! And thank you for sharing it.

    Ginger — who IS considering a very tiny, thin, silver ring through her bellybutton. *wink*

  2. It’s BEAUTIFUL! I love it!
    I have always wanted to get a tattoo across my lower back. I think it’s sexy and independent and wonderful. Had I found a design I liked, I have no doubt I’d have done it by now but as of yet, I haven’t had anything speak to me so….I wait…someday!
    Hubby wants to get one someday as well – a symbol (maybe celtic) for mother either on his arm or back.
    Very sexy!
    I love yours and I love your friend Jill’s – gorgeous!

  3. Those are incredible, Diana. You are beautiful inside and out, and your soul is reflected in your body art. I love the fact that you incorporate your love for writing in your tattoos.
    And now I finally know how triskele looks like! I’m almost half way through Again and I LOVE it! What an incredible story. Your voice is fantastic and I recommend this book to all my friends.

    As for the tattoos, I’m thinking about getting my first but I’m kinda scared. Not because I’m not ready. I am, but I don’t know the whole process, I need to research it more. I want a thin, beautiful bracelet around my wrist designed with my children’s name. My wrists are rather skinny and my veins are on the large side (a lot of weight lifting in my past) so I’m not sure how that would work.

    Great post! You are very inspiring.

  4. My strongest belief for my tattoos are “The biggest difference between tattooed people and non tattooed people is, tattooed people don’t care if you have tattoos or not.” I choose to look the way I do and don’t care weather someone else “get it” or not. Every tattoo I have, means something personal to me, and I’m not here to explain them to you. “Overkill” to one, may very well be personally important to the wearer. It’s wonderful to see you writing about this very old and cultured art, Diana. Thanks.

  5. You’re so brave! I can’t even commit to a bumber sticker! Gorgous work and I know what you mean about being in your happy place amoung other writers. I feel like I’ve found ‘my people’ when I’m reading/tweeting you all. 🙂

  6. Ha this is one of my favorite topics…. I LOVE TATTOOS. I love them so much I’m pretty much inked on 30% of my body.

    Some friends asked me why I so suddenly decided to cover my skin with ink for the rest of my life. It wasn’t sudden. I had three little tattoos since I was 20. My divorce triggered this reaction in me. I needed to express myself, and carry around beautiful designs that would never leave me. Sigh. So I did my research and I entered this tiny tattoo shop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. One of the artists was waiting by the counter, and I started talking to him.

    He has been working on me ever since. I got my entire back done, and the side of my right and left thighs. The tattoos are beyond gorgeous of course. And they’re true works of art. They possess a deep meaning, and show the true artistic side of my personality. I don’t necessarily show them off. I like to keep them to myself.

    Tattoos are not something I appreciate when they’re overdone, or excessive. I appreciate art in every form. I find it beautiful to be able to be a walking piece of art everywhere I go, but only the true people who understand me will see them for what they truly are. A reflection of my soul.

    Very nice post. By next week, I’ll have more ink on me. lol Yes, I’m addicted.

  7. I don’t really fall into the “I just don’t like it” group. I appreciate the art form, but I’ve just never felt compelled to get one myself. I’m not sure why, or why not. One of the few subjects I’m lukewarm about. Jill’s “Scrive” ink is pretty cool. Let us know when you go under the needle Diana. ~clink~

  8. I love your quill – it’s beautiful! I’ve seen some body art that I love and some that I hate. Like all art, it’s very much a personal taste. I don’t have any tattoos at present because I’ve always had a commitment problem.

    But I was thinking of getting one to commemorate the release of my first book (next week, woohooo!) I think it’s time…

  9. I LOVE that quill tattoo! If I got one, a quill would probably be it. I probably won’t, though. One reason is religious, the other is that I’ve had quite enough needles in my body, thank you very much. Don’t want anything that involves needles.

    Being yourself is important. Congratulations on allowing your real self out to play 🙂

  10. I love the writer’s quill! Very symbolic!

    I’ve gone from thinking tats are gross to having planned two for myself. I just need the $$ to get them done. On my lower back (tramp stamp, LOL) I want a Celtic Knot Maiden, Mother, Crone tat. And then I’ve got another knot-work design for my ankle with “charms” for each of the wee beasties.

    Great post 🙂

  11. Really cool post, Diana. I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but I can’t decide what I want. You’ve inspired me to start searching some pics 😉

  12. I think many tattoos are beautiful, and I appreciate the symbolism. (I love the Scrivo quill!) Some I don’t understand, and some locations I definitely don’t understand. I admit, I think single ones are prettier than an entire body covered. Then I just feel like it’s overwhelming and each of the pieces gets lost in the whole. But the tattoos are for the wearer, and if they know where each and every one is, then they’re only doing it for themselves and it doesn’t matter what I think.

    I’d never get one. I’ve entertained the thought, but I don’t like pain. I deal with needles enough in my daily life with diabetes; I don’t care to give one to someone else and let them have at it.

  13. I like tattoos and have had several inked and removed. Yeah, about the removal process – WAY painful and super expensive. If I’d had the Scrivo tattoo like you got, no way would I remove it.

    My daughter got a little octopus tattoo on her wrist and hid it from us for six months. I often wonder if she’ll come home with sleeves or a garden up her leg. If so, I think they are beautiful and an expression of the wearer. Tattoos are art.

  14. LOL. I laughing- not at you, Diana, but at my own thoughts when seeing your newest tattoo. It’s beautiful and leaves no doubt as to your love of writing. What I laughed at is– You must be a romance writer with such an inkwell hidden from view. Now don’t slap an old man. I really do like it!

    It took me 57 years to get my one and only. Not out of fear but bowing to my wife’s wishes. Now everyone in the family has at least one, except my dear soul-mate.

    I have a celtic Christian cross over my heart and my reasons might seem silly to some. While my daydreams flew to words and books a thought came to me. I wanted something that would announce my faith to my enemies. Something I couldn’t hide. Silly.

    I very much liked Walter’s statement!

    I’m always looking forward to your post. Sometimes I delay in replying due to distance and writing but your words always touch me in some way. Thank you.

  15. Oh, I adore the new tattoo, Diana! I don’t have any myself, but I have been dying to get one or two. I really want to get a peacock, maybe on my shoulder and/or back. I’ve been thinking about maybe getting a short quote on my inner wrist, maybe a wing or a feather behind one ear (I LOVE birds, and one of my WIPs involves a world where bird lore is central to the culture). My mom keeps making noises of disapproval whenever I mention any of these ideas, but if I can save up the money, and find the perfect design, I’m totally going to get started.

  16. This is a lot of courage Diana! I love the Indian Mehendi for body art. We draw it on our palms in various designs. Its not permanent, so we can change the design when it fades away.
    Thanks for sharing another intriguing post!

  17. I really like the quill tattoo. I’ve been toying with the idea of having a tattoo for a year or two now. I booked an appointment last year then cancelled it at last minute. I like Charisma Carpenters rosary beads around her wrist for nothing more other than they are pretty. I’ll probably still be contemplating having it done when I’m 65! 😀

  18. Although I wouldn’t dream of tsk-tsking a person, I’m in the not-for-me crowd. I associate them with old men who smell like cigars. 🙂 (My great-uncles who talked about their tattoos from the navy during WWII.) I do like your quill. That’s cool and can tell how happy it made you. 🙂

  19. Diana, it’s beautiful and I love hearing about the process step-by-step. I thought two things while I was reading this post:

    1) Dang that Diana has pretty skin!
    2) My biggest tattoo fear is that I’d get a pretty little butterfly and in 20 years it would look like a manta ray.

    I’m just sayin….

  20. I LOVE the quill! I’ve always wanted a quill and have actually set myself a goal for book sales to get my first one. Hoping it happens soon.
    Your quill is so beautiful!

  21. I really enjoyed reading all the comments. Interesting how many women are tempted by tattoos – even those who have never considered it in the past. Your tattoo is lovely and meanintful. The world is opening up for many of us, isn’t it? For another take on tattooing (from an as-yet-untattooed-but-who-knows-what might-happen-woman), see my blog: kathleenmulroysblog@wordpress.com

  22. I had always thought of myself as the “Not” type. But in recent years my ideals have been changing. I have been entertaining the thought of inking myself. But it would have to be the right symbol in the right place. I love the choices you have made, especially the quill and triskele.

  23. Love your tattoos Diana! I’ve thought about getting one for a long time, but have this thing about needles and pain. It is also a long commitment and I toy with making sure I’d choose a design that has deep meaning for me. I’ve thought about an infinity design I doodle, a phoenix, a butterfly or words. Tattoos are art to me and I love seeing creative ones on others. The tattoos I don’t like are the copycat versions (remember the barbed wire thing a few years back) or other designs that feel thrown on and that I can imagine the person regretting in a few years.

  24. Gorgeous ink! If my tattoo didn’t tell a story so deep, I likely would not have gotten it. But the motivations behind it were so strong that it simply had to be done.

  25. How long have you been tattooing?

    • Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I got my first ink job 12 years ago. The next six were put on within the last six years. This year I plan on two more – angel wings and a flame. Do you have tatts?

  26. My brother wants one similar to the Rocks but different! He wants hidden meanings but is not sure how he wants it to look, he wants it on his arm, part chest and neck. Family, his sons and his dog are important. Any ideas? Thank you

    • Hey, Dawn. Getting inked is such a personal journey. What I think would be cool may not be so cool for your brother. But, I’ve seen tatts of symbols to get the hidden meanings across. Japanese or Celtic symbols are popular types. Perhaps a favorite quote. Maybe a small vine or a tree to represent family. Have him shop around. My tattoo lady is an artist-turned-inker, so her concepts were unique as opposed to the clip-art kind of inker. I’d have him look for someone like that. Good luck to him!

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