Every year since I was 18 I’ve been getting tattoos. I got my first one in 2010 just before my 19th birthday. I wanted to get it when I was 18 because that’s how old you have to be where I live. My tattoo artist was nice enough to come into the shop early so that I could get it before my birthday. My tattoos usually represent where I’m at that year, or things that have happened since my last one.
The first one I got is spirally yin yang with a sun around it. I thought about it for years before I got it. I figured the first one I got should be just for me. It was kind of like my coming of age gift to myself. I had a rough childhood and this was my way of saying that I’m in control of my life now. I have always loved intricate designs and the meaning behind the yin yang. To me it means that without the bad you can not appreciate the good, that everything is connected and happens for a reason. I chose to get the sun around it as a reminder that even though the good and bad come together; that one can’t exist without the other, I should always try to focus on the positive. I have a tendency to focus on the negative, so the yin yang is a reminder that there is always good and bad but to look for the good rather than the bad. To this day I’m still so in love with it and I get tons compliments on it.
The second tattoo I got is “δύναμη” which means strength in Greek. 2011 was a really hard year for me. I lost my Great Grandma. Even though I knew it was for the best because she was in a lot pain, it’s still really hard to let someone you love go. I had a lot of time to mentally prepare for it, but you’re never ready to say goodbye. In the long run I knew it was her time and that she was ready. I was super sad to see her go, but I know she lived a long life and it was just her time. Shortly after that, I lost my Grandma suddenly to a heart attack and that was really hard for me. I was not prepared at all and thought I had way more time with her. I felt extremely guilty that I didn’t spend more time with her when I could. I know she knew that I loved her, but I still wish I made more time for her. I got that tattoo on my wrist so that I would see it often and never give up and to stay strong. When you’re in such a dark place sometimes the simplest things seem impossible and it’s a struggle to just get through the day. Eventually things got better and I’m thankful for the people I have in my life that help me get through those dark times.
My third tattoo is my maple leaf. I got it just before I left for New Zealand. I wanted something to remind me of home. I didn’t want to get the same leaf that everyone one has. (The one on our flag.) So I decided to get a more realistic one. It’s the only colour tattoo that I have and I love it. It’s a fall leaf because autumn is my favorite season. One of my favorite things in the world is to step on crunchy leaves. I also love the colours of fall, the smell, the crisp air, bundling up in toques, scarfs and warm sweaters. There’s not too much more meaning to this tattoo other than I love it, Canada, and Autumn.
My fourth tattoo is what I like to call my “taco”. Funny stories behind that one… I had drawn it out many times and showed it to my boyfriend and he thought it was really cool. When I stood up to look at it and ask him what he thought, he just started laughing and then every so lovingly pointed out that it kinda looks like it says taco. The + looks like a T but means positivity, the △ is an A and a mountain, the C is for confidence and Christin, and the ♡ is obviously love but kinda looks like an O. Also, I got it on my shoulder while backpacking in New Zealand. Didn’t think that one through. My backpack was rubbing on my tattoo all the time, so it didn’t heal properly. But even though it look like it says taco and it’s worn out, I still love this tattoo. It’s a reminder of a huge change in my life. Moving across the world on my own, falling in love, and for the first time experiencing true happiness.
And my fifth and newest tattoo is “Wanderlust” on my ribs. First off, OUCH! This one hurt, the others not so much. In English wanderlust means “A very strong desire or impulse to travel the world”. Which I undeniably have. Another reason why this tattoo is so perfect for this year is because it’s actually a German word and I spent the last year in Germany. Surprisingly, it means something else in German. “Wander” comes from the verb “Wandern” which means to hike and “Lust” means desire. So it actually means desire to hike, which I’m 100% okay with because I to hiking is one of my favorite things to do.
People get tattoos for many reasons. Sometimes none at all, other than they are pretty. For me, all of my tattoos have significant meaning. Many people ask “Aren’t you worried you will regret them when you’re older?” And my answer is NO! They are a part of me, they represent different times of my life. To me, regretting them would be like rejecting whole parts of my life that have shaped the woman who is here today. I have always loved tattoos and wanted to be covered in them. Maybe one day I will be. I still have many tattoos that I want to get, I’m just waiting for the right time. Of course I’m aware that having tattoos limits job opportunities, but I honestly don’t want to work for a company that is too ignorant to think that having tattoos makes me less of a person. Also, I can hide all of them if need be. All in all, I think tattoos are beautiful pieces of art that are very misunderstood but I think that’s changing. Our generation is much more open minded and realizes that a bit of ink doesn’t change who a person is.