For someone that runs a tattoo blog, I don’t have that many tattooed friends at all.
I think that’s what makes my outlook so special – I am truly on the outside of this industry and can look into it with fresh eyes. The aim of Inkluded is to make the tattooed world accessible to anyone – tattoo artists and ink collectors but also EVERYBODY ELSE. My distanced viewpoint means I can try and see things from different angles.
This week, I’ve had an encounter with a non-tattooed group which has really made me realise that anyone can engage with tattoos.
This week, I left my job. I have been working for a theatre in London for 18 months, and I’m practically the only person in my office with tattoos. Apart from 2 or 3 people with smaller pieces, no one else has any large visible tattooed artwork. That leaves a group of at least 10 individuals who have been interested in and hugely supportive of my desire to get inked, despite having no want to do it to themselves. Most of them follow this blog, chat about my articles the next day at work, and they ask questions about my tattoo plans over lunch.
As we gathered this Friday afternoon to say our goodbyes, my boss gave a few words about the first time he met me, and this “girl with tattoos” leaving an imprint in his mind. The rest of the day, I was continuously overwhelmed by lovely words from everyone and my leaving present took the form of tattoo vouchers. As a final surprise for the day, everyone revealed they had adorned their bodies with temporary tattoos of our company logo and had been wearing them all day.
It’s quite an emotional moment to see other people engage in a hobby of yours which is actually so personal to you. It’s not like being a footie fan and being given your team shirt, or being a music fan and being given a CD… it’s something more. When I ink myself, it’s part of my personal journey, each tattoo has a deep importance to me and my collection of tattoos have helped formed my personality and the actual, physical person I am here, right now. To experience a group of people (without any tattoos) understand that importance, and replicate it… it’s pretty awesome.
I’m one of the most sentimental people you’ll meet. I attach meaning to everything. I can’t switch my brain off. I try and pretend that every single thing we do in this world means something. That’s why I get tattooed, and why I write about it.
That’s also why my leaving present to these guys was in the form of my own tattoo (by Charles at Diamond Jacks). It was the word Soho to honour the time I had spent working in one of the most buzzing, crazy, memorable places in the world. I will look down at that little tattoo and remember my 18 months of working there. But actually, now, the most strong emotional memory I have will be those last 2 hours.
As a blogger, I would sit here and write that this story is a metaphor for something larger. A larger concept where non-tattooed and tattooed communities come together to appreciate good art, have fun, and understand together why people get inked. I would sit here and write from an industry viewpoint, about a realisation of acceptance, understanding and friendship.
But actually the truth is, that wasn’t my realisation. It was just about me. It was about myself, who I am, and how people perceive me. When people reveal how the outside world sees that “girl with tattoos”, it hits you hard in the face. Why? Because we are all constantly obsessed with how we are seen by others (either consciously or subconsciously) – we dress a certain way, we act a certain way, we talk a certain way. Not because we are vein or insecure, just because we don’t know what it means to see ourselves from the viewpoint of others, and we never will.
But whilst that’s true, my tattoos are only ever for me. The impact they might have on others literally never crosses my mind. So to see some people spend time, money, effort and emotion celebrating that aspect of you… it blows you away.
I didn’t need the ink. I’d trade my little Soho tattoo for that feeling any day.
Categories: Tattoo Thoughts