Inked Memories.

I sometimes see photos of people with amazing tattoos. Tattoos which just look incredible; a detailed mural, an intrinsic pattern, a print decorating someones skin. I occasionally have this urge to get something similar, to get an addition; a picture, a design, a sketch of something which I like at this moment, something which will make people say wow and have lots of tattoo lovers fawning over.

But that’s always the argument people have against tattoos, “Ach, you like it now, but what about when you’re 40? Or in a few years time when your taste has changed? What will you do then?”

And I agree with them.

Unfortunately I do have a couple of tattoos which I got…a fair few years ago, which I don’t really like now. They are tattoos where I decided that I wanted one and picked a design as it was something which I took a fancy to at that time….a star tattoo was my first *sigh* it was 10 years ago, just before all the Emos’ started getting stars, so of course I instantly took a disliking to it! Luckily for me I don’t regret having tattoos in general so I will be able to cover it up with a different one!

Thankfully I learned from those mistakes and I started putting more of myself, more meaning, more thought into the tattoos I have decorated myself with. Instead of designing something by taste alone, as after all taste changes so regularly, I started using tattooing as a way of commemorating a time in my life, or more specifically it worked out as a place I’ve lived in.

They are now tattoos that may not seem to go with me according to my current personal style but are seeped in meaning and memories from that time that I could never regret them.

When I look at my arm, I don’t see the tattoo as a picture in ink, I see the African sunset, I feel the baobab bark, I remember the Bushfire festival where I got it in Swaziland.
Tattoo Africa

When I see the anchor on my thigh, I see the friends I had in Melbourne, I remember getting it a few days before I left and the sadness but also the conviction in the personal development I had made there.
Tattoo Anchor

The paw prints always remind me of the shelter I volunteered at in Manchester and when I adopted my dog Piper.
Tattoo paws

So in tradition, a few days before leaving Scotland I imprinted on my skin a new collection of memories.
Tattoo leaf

I look at it and see the veins of experiences running through the leaf, the people lost and gained, the academic triumphs and losses, my health battles. I see aspects which only make up part of the whole, a leaf in itself is wonderful, but it only a part of the whole tree. And of course some blue tinges for Scotland 😀

We are constantly acquiring new memories, new experiences, facing challenges, making progress, changing. For me, my tattoos are a way of stepping back for a moment and taking stock of what I have gained or lost, before moving on. They help me appreciate my journey.

-Auburn xx

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