Haters Gonna Hate Tattoos

Posted: September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student

When I was 16 years old, I drew out my first tattoo in a notebook in the back of my AP American Literature class. It was based off of a saying that my color guard instructor used to say to us before a competition. “Hearts on fire. Heads on Ice.” It meant perform with passion, but keep a cool head. The last part always made me think of a serial killer with a freezer full of severed heads, so I changed it a little to “Hearts on fire. Minds on ice.” I sketched out a heart: photo (51)not the silly little Valentine’s Day shape, but a real anatomically correct human heart. I did my research to make sure it was as close to correct as possible.

The idea of tattoos enamored me as an aspiring artist. I loved the idea of displaying art on my skin for the rest of my life, but as I got closer to finally getting my first tattoo I began to get a barrage of complaints and reasons why I should never get a tattoo. I was told I would never be able to get a job and never look good in my wedding dress. Or there’s the always entertaining question of “What is it going to look like when you are older?”

I reply, “Badass! I will be the most badass old lady around. Still longboarding and inked up.”

I put a lot of thought into my tattoos. They have great significance to me and I carefully select talented artists to ensure an excellent piece of artwork in the end. For my first tattoo, I made sure that I liked the same idea for 2 years! I made sure this wasn’t one of those week long obsessions like that weird rock collecting phase I went through. I finally made it official in March of 2011. I was 18 years old and had just finished a month long stay in the hospital at University of Michigan at the tail end of 2010. Basically I was feeling like I had not had the ability to fully celebrate my 18th birthday. A monumental birthday when people normally go to the club, buy lottery tickets, and register to vote. Voting is exciting, right?

I spent my 18th birthday in a recovering room after I had an emergency surgery, so when I finally got my first tattoo it felt like the perfect thing to close out an incredibly difficult chapter in my life. My tattoo was beautifully done by Fred Story in Davison, MI at Strange Daze Tattoos.

Since then I have had two more lovely pieces inked onto my body. Conan O’Brien’s famous pompadour is on my right wrist, reminding me of my inspiration in comedy and that he and I both went through shit in 2010. (See 2010 Tonight Show Conflict) His farewell speech from the Tonight Show really resonated with me, particularly the part where he addresses cynical fans: “I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you. Amazing things will happen.” At that moment in my life I was angry at the world and didn’t understand why my health took such a turn, photo (49)but those words were exactly what I needed to hear.

On my left wrist is my younger sister’s signature. She has my signature as a tattoo as well. My sister and I didn’t always get along the way we do now, but these days I feel like I can talk to my sister about things I could never bring up around friends or other family. My sister and I are currently very far from one another; she goes to school in Florida. My tattoo reminds me every day though that our bond is deeper than any friendship you make simply by happenstance. photo (50)

I do not regret my tattoos and I know that I will get more. I have a good job, I will look stunning in a wedding dress, and I will be an inked badass old lady. So, to all the haters out there: tattoos are certainly not for everyone, but just like politics and religion you are not going to change my mind about them.

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