Tattoos: An Art

David - muncie, Indiana
Entered on April 12, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in tattoos as a means of portraying an important personal belief. I was eighteen when I got my first tattoo. It is the Japanese symbol for strength. To me this symbol represents both physical strength, and mental strength. This strength is something I am proud to display on my body for the entirety of my life. I plan on getting at least one additional tattoo, although this one has special meaning with regards to personal beliefs and the memory of a loved one.

When I was a child my family would often spend days at my grandparents house. These trips were always long drawn out days where I ceaselessly asked, “Are we leaving yet?” I grew up thinking of my Grandfather as a boring old man with whom I would spend endless hours watching television or playing golf. Into my teenage years nothing changed until my Grandfather was admitted to the hospital. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. Both my Mother and other Grandfather had survived bouts with cancer so I thought it was only a matter of time until he recovered. Days turned to weeks as my Grandfather’s health continued to decline until he was no longer breathing unassisted. I remained positive of his full recovery despite the poor percentages the doctors gave. Finally my Grandfather came off the respirator, took his first steps in weeks, and ate solid food! The night following my Grandfather’s sudden recovery while my Father and I watched football, he took a phone call. As soon as he picked up the phone I knew…my Grandfather had passed away. Just like that the truth struck. I would never see my Grandfather again. I would never learn about his past, his wisdom, and his knowledge. I never took advantage of the opportunity to learn about my Grandfather, how much he cared about me, and everything he had to offer, until it was too late. I finally realized the importance of life and living every second of it like it will be your last.

I am getting another tattoo. This tattoo is a cross with the Latin phrase carpe diem arching over the top along with the letters V and M on either side of the base of the cross. The cross represents my Christian beliefs, but my Grandfather inspired the rest of the tattoo. Carpe diem is a Latin phrase meaning, “Seize the day”. The letters are the initials of Voris Miller, my Grandfather. This tattoo will serve as a remembrance of my faith, a reminder to live every second of my life, and a memory of my Grandfather.

Tattoos are not some crude disfiguring of the body. Tattoos are reminders, memories, beliefs, and commitments. Tattoos are a perfect way to preserve something meaningful for the entirety of one’s life.