The Story Behind the Ink
People have been drawing on themselves since the dawn of civilization. Sometimes tattoos show obedience to a religious deity, sometimes they are to woo the ladies, and other times they strike fear into foes on the battlefield. Each tattoo, regardless of what it depicts, has a story behind it and a meaning for the person who had it done.
Junior video student Kathie Green has one tattoo. She describes herself as a plain clothed, “natural” kind of girl. She has never even dyed her hair, and she is proud of that, she says. Thus, an outline of the world map on her left forearm with the phrase, “What’s stopping you?” engraved above it is not something everyone would expect from her.
“I decided to make my body an inspiration. I decided to put on my body what I could be inspired by,” she says. Coming from a family born and raised in Indiana, Green always wanted to know what else was out there in the world.
This desire for adventure and exploration has led her to documentary film making, a degree which she plans to use to travel and share the world with those who cannot see it for themselves. Her tattoo serves as a reminder to her that she needs to get out there and “do it,” she says.
Caterina Fedyk, a sophomore double majoring in photojournalism and public relations, has seven tattoos. Coming from a conservative family, Fedyk’s mom was worried about visible tattoos preventing her from getting a job, but to that Fedyk says, “The more I grow up, the more I realize that I don’t care what people think.”
Fedyk got her first tattoo when she was 18: a word on her ribs. Now, two years later, Fedyk thinks she has spent a total of six hours getting her tattoos.
“I don’t think tattoos have to be a 5-year process… I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, so what’s the point of waiting?” she says.
Fedyk also has a world map tattoo, though hers is located on her thigh. Other tattoos include the numbers “538212” on her wrist, a camera with an eyeball inside the lens on her other wrist, a compass on her thigh, a single work on her ribs, and a dragon and phoenix on each of her feet. She says the two foot tattoos represent yin and yang. She got them to commemorate a trip she took last summer to Vietnam.
Freshman Cassie Gabriel has 5 tattoos. Her first tattoo, which she got on her 18th birthday, was of a large infinity symbol on her arm. For her, this symbolizes her relationship with her grandmother and some challenges she has overcome in her past.
Later, she got the first chakra tattooed on her right arm. Chakras are balls of energy circling in our bodies, representing different things, that need to be aligned for the body to be euphoric. There are seven chakras, two of which Gabriel has gotten tattooed so far. She says she plans on getting the rest finished as soon as she can.
“All my tattoos pretty much have to do with getting over past experiences and making me a stronger person. (They remind me to) keep going, don’t focus on the past, and keep an eye on the future,”she says. “I have tattoos and they have meanings and it’s journeys that I have gone through.”
All three of the girls had similar advice when asked about tattoos. Green encourages people to “definitely think it over, because it’s going to be on your body the rest of your life.”
They all agree that tattoos are a big investment, but none of them have regrets when it comes to their ink.