Getting Inked

Everything and everyone has a story. Often, these stories are expressed through ink. Here I hope to share some experiences stated through the ink of tattoos and the ink of poetic writings. Some will be personal, and some will be through the lives of others.

If you have an inked story to share, let me know ( Send in a photo and your story and I will feature it here.

Even after the ink dries, the meaning underneath runs.



Change is Constant

Dana's (NC) story of her first tattoo:

Ever since my rebellious times in undergrad when I got my tongue pierced and did some crazy things, I've wanted to get a tattoo. What I wanted, I wasn't exactly sure, but I knew I would know it when I saw it.

Fast forward to 4 months ago. I was chatting on the phone with my bf,Kristi (who already has 1 tattoo) and telling her about my "secret" of wanting to get one. I told her about how I was thinking about getting some inspirational quote on my wrist, but I was nervous that it'd be seen at work. She told me how she wanted to get "one step at a time" on her foot. Our convo was something like this:

Me: yea, I was thinking about believe or something like that on my wrist..
K: thats cute, I thought about that too, but I think I want "one step at a time" on my foot. I really want something on my wrist tho, but it'd be stupid to put that on my wrist...
Me: (not really understanding why that would be stupid) Oh yea. that's dumb.
K: Yeah, so anyways, I think I'm going to get it on my foot. I saw one online I really liked.
Me: Yea, I dont know yet...
our convo continues to talking about recent sales at Express then 5 minutes later...

Anyway, after she told me about that, I really thought about it and really liked it. My best friends and I planned my 25th birthday weekend in Myrtle Beach and Kristi and I decided to get our tattoos together. For weeks, I asked everyone to show me what it felt like because I was so scared and nervous that it would hurt so bad. Well, there's nothing that really can compare to the feeling of getting jabbed with a needle for 20 minutes, but I feel like it was well worth it. It's a constant reminder to me that I need to just take things one step at a time. Life is always crazy and changing and its best if you just take it slow. I often get caught up in the moment and need to learn to appreciate things more often, so this is helping me get to that point. It is also very meaningful to me because of the great company that I got it with. I've been best friends with Kristi for like 13 years and wouldn't want anyone else sporting the same thing ontheir foot then her.

Even when you think you know what you want, meaning can come from anywhere. Know who you are, what you want, and cherish those who get that about you.


Global Ink - Tattoo Hunter

Tattoos have histories and meanings that span the world. So many cultures share their stories through ink, and each is of course unique. I have watched the series "Tattoo Hunter" on Discovery Channel where tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak visits different cultures to learn more about what role tattooing plays in their lives. He not only learns about it but lives it to truly understand how ink is embedded in who these people are and how they live. Then, if he is lucky enough, he has the privilege of getting a unique tattoo from each visit. All these different people, cultures, and beliefs in the world, yet if we look hard enough, a thread can connect us all. In this case, it is the sanctity of tattoos. If you can, I recommend checking out the series, or visit Krutak's site: Tattoo Anthropologist. It is all about understanding.


Never Forgotten...

Tara's (GA) story of her first and very personal tattoo...

April 16, 2007 is a day that I will never forget. On that day, Virginia Tech became a world-wide name. On that day, 32 members of the Virginia Tech community were shot. On that day, 32 lives were ended too soon.

Ever since that day, I have tried to live my life to the fullest... if for no other reason than to memorialize the 32 lives that were lost. About a year and a half ago, I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo for my 25th birthday. I knew exactly what I wanted and where I wanted it. The tattoo was to say "LIVE FOR 32" and it was to be on my left wrist so that I could see it everyday and so that it could serve as a constant reminder to me.

I ended up not getting the tattoo on the exact day of my 25th, mainly because I didn't know where to go and didn't have anyone to go with me (and I just knew I couldn't do this alone). A few weeks later, while on a professional conference, I was reunited with some of my closest friends from grad school. I felt it in my heart, this was when I was supposed to get my tattoo. My 3 friends, Alicia, JK and Susan, came with me to be my support and to share in the moment with me. It couldn't have been more perfect of a time, and I couldn't have asked for better friends to be with me. Yes, it was a little random to get a tattoo while on a professional conference, in a city that is 3 states away... but that is what makes the story that much better.

This is for you, my Hokies...

1) Ross A. Alameddine
2) Christopher James Bishop
3) Brian R. Bluhm
4) Ryan Christopher Clark
5) Austin Michelle Cloyd
6) Jocelyne Couture-Nowak
7) Kevin P. Granata
8) Matthew Gregory Gwaltney
9) Caitlin Millar Hammaren
10) Jeremy Michael Herbstritt
11) Rachael Elizabeth Hill
12) Emily Jane Hilscher
13) Jarrett Lee Lane
14) Matthew Joseph La Porte
15) Henry J. Lee
16) Liviu Librescu
17) G.V. Loganathan
18) Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan
19) Lauren Ashley McCain
20) Daniel Patrick O’Neil
21) Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz
22) Minal Hiralal Panchal
23) Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva
24) Erin Nicole Peterson
25) Michael Steven Pohle, Jr.
26) Julia Kathleen Pryde
27) Mary Karen Read
28) Reema Joseph Samaha
29) Waleed Mohamed Shaalan
30) Leslie Geraldine Sherman
31) Maxine Shelly Turner
32) Nicole Regina White

I will neVer forgeT... 4/16/07

I was privileged to be with Tara on this adventure, and I join her in sending my thoughts and prayers to all those who will never forget. (tattoo done at Great Southern Tattoo Co. in Alexandria, VA...thanks for great quick work!)



I had my sixth tatoo planned out already. But this was not it. So I guess it will have to wait to be number seven. This tattoo was much more spur of the moment, but no less meaningful. Three stars on the back of my neck. Initially, this was to represent my mom, my sister, and myself. Me and two women I could not live without. Each color represents I used to represent us are colors I have always used in my mind.

Of course, there are deeper meanings. The power of three is everywhere. Things come back to you threefold. Events happen in threes. The occurrence of three in many major religions. Three as a source of power and connectedness. Within and outside of oneself.

On a more simplistic level, I went with a new friend in a new town. He was going to treat himself to a birthday present and I tagged along. I think this is a good way to mark a point in my life. Starting a career in a new town and being on my own. No matter where I go from here, I have something to remind me of the great people and experiences I have already have and will have here. So maybe in a few years when I move who knows where, I will do this again.

This one was done at No Regrets Tattoos in Tallahassee. No better way to connect with friends than through some ink!



The clouds are moving awful fast
I wonder if we can catch them -
What once looked like a koala bear
Now looks like a dragon.

I want to pull them from the sky
To keep them by my bed -
Still just like a photograph
To keep inside my head.

But they will play so far away
In a place apart from ours -
Shifting in a sky of blue
Until we find the stars.

~JK 2/8/09


When Under the Influence (of Friends, of Course)

Carrie's (NC) story of her first tattoo:

My first tattoo was done when I was 26 years old. I had it done at Myrtle Beach by a guy named Shane at Elite. I always wanted one but was too scared to go through with it. But I went to the beach with a bunch of my friends who all had tattoos already and wanted new ones. So I went with them. When I got there I was looking around and was like “I am not going to get one.” However, my friend told me that if I didn’t get one that he wouldn’t get his. So I watched another one of my friends get his done that same day and I decided okay, if I don’t do it now then I won’t ever do it.

So I got a butterfly. I love butterflies. At first when I sat down I was so nervous that I was biting by nails. It was crazy, but I got it on my right leg and I love it. I am ready for my second one already. I am planning a trip back sometime in the next month to get another one. He was great and I love his work.

Lessons to be learned from Carrie: 1) friends are persuasive, but only when you really wanted something in the first place 2) make sure you get something you will continue to enjoy, whims often become great memories 3) get one, you will likely want more


The Tattoo I Can Show You

Steve's (SC) story of a young dragon:

I got my dragon tattoo as an homage to Bruce Lee. Simple as that. I originally wanted to have it done on the inside of my forearm (like David Carradine's character on Kung Fu), but I allowed myself to be talked out of it by the tattooist. (So it is on top of the forearm.) We went to the field for 3 weeks immediately following. So I was unable to properly take care of it, causing premature fading of the colors. In the years since, I have learned quite a bit about my dragon: My dragon has arms and wings, but no legs, making it a hybrid between a Chinese and a European dragon (or a landmine victim). Chinese dragons are provided locomotion via magic. European dragons have arms, legs, and wings to get around with.

Important to note: this tattoo was done while in the Marine Corp. Always take care of your investment as best you can. As it should, it will become a part of who you are as your ink grows with you. Unique creation as extension of self and stamp of time.