With just about everything in my life, I, for some reason i take the controversial side of things. Call me the Devil's Advocate. I hate whats popular and tend to scold people for not being authentic. I am opinionated and experienced in regards to tattooing. I worked in the industry with many other tattooers and alone for over 26 years. I first started questioning the spiritual, physical and social dangers of tattooing in 2004, when one slow night a beautiful young woman and her mother came into my shop. I hadn't done a tattoo in a few days and was worrying about bills. The young woman had a huge word tattooed in black scrolling script on the side of her neck. Her mother was going to pay for it to be covered. “Price is no issue, just cover it”. I knew from the word and symbolism on her tattoo that she was most likely a recovering stripper/prostitute and her mother was being supportive in helping her erase this part of her life. I took a picture of her neck and went in the back to start drawing something that would cover it. I knew that it would be at least $600 and the tattoo itself would be bigger and blacker for her to wear on her neck for the rest of her life. I couldn’t do that to her but I really needed the money. But I just couldn't do that to her. So, I took a card out of my desk for the local laser center at Johns Hopkins and went back out front. I handed the card to mom and said, “anything any tattooer does to that tattoo will be bigger, blacker and for life. If I were you, I'd have laser surgery”. Long story short….mother and daughter both seemed relieved and mom even started crying as she hugged me and said, “thank you so much”. I felt good as they left my shop, although I knew I may have just sealed a new fate for my earning potential in the tattoo industry. Two weeks later her mother called me and thanked me for referring them to a laser surgeon. The young woman was having it completely removed.
After I realized I was questioning the act of giving and receiving tattoos, I began dreading doing my job. I began reading books about self harm and the spiritual ramifications of causing pain and suffering on any level. So, anyway….I started writing what will someday be a book on tattooing, a different perspective. My perspective that is seriously not inline with whats popular. From the fact that all pigments tattooed into the dermal layer are toxic and full of heavy metals and nanoparticles to the fact that by adding more pointless pain and suffering to our human condition only perpetuates and evokes the parts of life I personally don't enjoy; pain and suffering.
Let me be The Hundredth Monkey.
Here's a little free written excerpt from the chapter called “why” in the book I'm writing….
"…..People have been getting tattooed since the first stick was sharpened in a fire and big brother cave man stabbed little brother cave man in the ass. This is my belief, anyway. We would tattoo each other to identify with our tribe, show status in our tribe, mark a place to direct healing on our bodies or mark criminals and those to be banished to wander the steeps. There are many reasons why human beings have adopted the act of tattooing themselves. In today's western world of superficial trends and popularity it's now more rare to NOT be tattooed than to be tattooed. I think that due to our predatory profit driven lifestyles that have trained us to adore pain and suffering on reality TV and superstars out doing each other, people today get tattooed for totally different reasons than just 20 years ago.
My first tattoo I got tattooed because of peer pressure. My best friend wanted to commemorate a dead friend by getting matching tattoos. I was completely uninterested but willing. I simply went along with her and did what she did. It was fun. It pleased her immensely, which felt really good. My dead friend could care less but seeing how this tattoo pleased my living friend made me feel a part of something. It made me feel like I did a good thing by pleasing my mourning friend. It was definitely more about pleasing my friend than memorializing my dead one. My second tattoo was also to please someone. A boyfriend of whom I was very hung up on after we broke up had been getting tattooed so I went to his tattoo artist and got a tattoo that reminded me of him and it helped me feel closer to him. After that experience I met a tattooer who wanted a cover girl. So again, I got tattooed to please him. I remember thinking to myself that I must be insane for tolerating the pain I did; tattoos hurt really bad. From then on after deciding to be a tattooer, I got tattooed to fit in, to compete, to complete and to represent my craft. A sense of duty; pleasing others and hoping to fit in.
In today's world people get tattooed for a variety of reasons;
They either want to fit in, prove something to someone, punish themselves, never forget, but it all does the same thing, it redirects emotional pain into a manifestation of pain. As Eckhart Tolle would say, “it evokes the pain body, the ego”. It's pain we seek and our tattoos are the proof that we're willing to tolerate a lot of it in order to prove to you that we can tolerate pain. It's my understanding and belief that there is no tattoo that isn't seeking attention and inflating a fragile human ego.
People do self harm in a variety of ways. But in the wild kingdom when an animal is busy inflicting pain on itself, generally it either has a brain eating parasite or it's gnawing it's paw from a fucking trap. Either way, animals in the wild don't purposefully inflict pain on themselves unless there's a fear of death. Humans? We do it for entertainment with extreme sports, cutting, body modification, plastic surgery, you name it we love pain. In fact, it's my understanding that our human experience here in Earth realm is all about pain and suffering and how we deal with it, create it, manage it, respond to it and so on.
Tattooing is an acceptable form of self punishment. Why is that? Unlike cutting, tattooing is creative and constructive. It's productive and shows a commitment. It requires the cooperation of another person, unlike cutting or self inflicting other injuries, tattooing requires the cooperation of another. We put our bodies in the hands of another in hopes we can trust them. By doing this we are honoring them, giving them the privilege to mark us for life. Again, here we are trying to please another.
The tattoos permanence hardly matters for the majority of people getting them, or at least not at the moment. I never cared about the permanence of my tattoo choices until now. The 23 year old biker beauty wasn't thinking about being a 55 year old spinster with ugly tattoos that don't match her personality anymore. My tattoos have made me who I am, good and bad. My tattoos have been a constant source of regret and annoyance. They are not me anymore. I think I would be less insecure around others now because for some reason, most of my closest people have no ink at all. As much as I'd like to say it does not matter, similar to how being black or Asian doesn't matter, it does matter. Your tattoos matter. It's like a whole other ethnicity, the heavily tattooed.
Please, before you get tattooed or allow your children to get tattooed, please for the love of all that is natural and beautiful the way it is, please research the pigments and from there decide if you should be allowing someone with literally no training in skin histology or chemistry of pigments to inject it under your skin for life. You can be an incredible artist who can do beautiful tattoos and know literally nothing about skin or the lymphatic system. There are new articles out about the toxicity of tattoo ink. Do your research.
Toxic pigments is the main reason why you should not get tattooed.
Stay tuned for my book….