Monday 30th September, 2013

Don’t Ink it, Say it

The press has picked up on the interesting trend for longer-form tattoos.

In the past, people have more commonly chosen an image to express a thought, feeling or ideology through body ink.

Now, as gravestones – where we used to publish our epitaphs posthumously – are falling out of fashion, more and more people are choosing their own bodies as the medium through which to express their characterising thoughts and passions.

I have friends with tattoos and know they feel very strongly that their tattoo is just for them, and doesn’t carry a message they wish to share with the world at large. Many chose to get a tattoo when they recovered from serious illness or lost a loved one. Their tattoo represents their experience in a very personal way.

In this article by Tom de Castella, we learn that increasing numbers of people are choosing to express themselves by inking their skin with extended quotes that have some personal meaning to them.

Here’s my problem…

- if you feel strongly about something, inking the sentiment on your skin means only people whom know you intimately will ever see it (there is always Instagram, I suppose);

- when you die, your tattoo dies with you;

- unless you plan to add to your tattoo collection on a regular basis (bearing in mind that the amount of skin available is finite) there is no room for growth or amendment. How I felt at 18 is not how I feel at 42.

I am not anti-tattoo. But before you go to ink, think. Is there a more permanent and far-reaching medium available to express who you are and what you’re about to the world?

If you have something powerful to say, I implore you, don’t keep it to yourself.

Instead, speak.

When you speak, you have an opportunity to reach and affect more people than will ever see your tattoo.

I have no immediate plans to ‘get inked’; I change my mind about things far too readily.

My medium of choice remains the spoken word because I know that speaking to a hundred people has far greater and more positive repercussions for those people than a solitary tattoo ever could (though perhaps I’m just not famous enough!).

The trend for longer-form tattoos is doubtless just that: a trend. I personally hope for a return to speaking not inking. After all, if it’s important to you, the chances are what you hope to express will also inspire others.

Categories: Big ideas

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