Let's just jump right in! I got my first two tattoos when I was 16yo... no, it wasn't technically legal, and I should have practiced patience and waited the two
years to get them legally. With that being said, the first tattoo I got was the serenity prayer on my left forearm. Though the act of getting it was impulsive, it's still probably one of the most meaningful tattoos I have. Shortly after that tattoo, I got a tattoo on my upper right arm. This one has absolutely no meaning behind it. I just thought the design was pretty, and I wanted it tattooed on me... forever haha! It's true when they say after your first tattoo, you'll keep wanting more.
The following three tattoos I got when I was 18yo, in a legit tattoo shop, the way it should be. The chakra symbols down my spine were something I'd been contemplating getting for several months. I knew I wanted something down my spine but wasn't quite sure what I wanted the actual design to be. I'm honestly not quite sure why I chose chakra symbols , but I like them. I forget I have them most of the time, but it's always a nice surprise when I remember. This tattoo has always been more about the memory of getting it than the meaning behind it.
The tattoo on my right collarbone was one I got in the same session of my spine tattoo. "In amnia paratus" It's latin for "ready for anything" and something I picked up from Gilmore Girls. Yes, my dedication to that show when I was 18 was that strong hah! In all seriousness, I got the saying from the show, but my reasoning for getting the tattoo was actually because I wanted a saying like
Carpe Diem on my collarbone. My little hipster self thought Carpe Diem was too mainstream and "basic" though, and I needed something more "original". Haha, oh the mind of an angsty high school art kid.
My third tattoo I got when I was 18... the one that looks like an ugly pencil doodle on my right forearm. This is another incredibly meaningful tattoo as well. At this point I have five tattoos and have only labeled two as meaningful haha! Anyways, this tattoo is from a workshop I did when I was 15yo at all girls boarding school in AZ (a story for another day... maybe). That workshop was eye opening and life changing, and all of us gals when through it. I like to think of this tattoo, not as a dedication to my time at boarding school, but a symbol of sisterhood for all of us gals.
This next tattoo actually goes along with my last. The tattoo on my left forearm is a silhouette of a buffalo with Arizona nighttime inside of it. The buffalo is from a saying that I learned in that workshop I just spoke about. "Be a buffalo." When there's a storm coming, buffalos are strong and smart and gather together to run through the storm while they're strong opposed to running away until the storm inevitably catches up to them, and they are too weak to survive it. As for the night sky, being so far away from home and my parents was really difficult. Sometimes the homesickness was so painful, but it always comforted me to remember that no matter how far away we were form one another, we were always looking at the same moon and under the same sky.
(Emily Snow in Minneapolis is the talented artist who created this perfect design)
It was my 20th birthday when I got the tattoo on my right forearm, also done by Emily Snow. It's of an anatomical heart with poppies blossoming from it. The flowers were Emily's idea, and I'm so happy she suggested it! Her reasoning behind the poppies was their symbolism for resilience and peace. The anatomical heart placed on my forearm can be interpreted as wearing my heart on my sleeve. The truly personal meaning for this whole piece is actually about the act of placing beautiful artwork on my body where there used to be so much pain and hatred.
By this point I have seven tattoos all placed on my upper body, so naturally I had to get one for my lower half, specifically my left thigh. Kyle Mack designed and did this tattoo for me. I didn't give him much direction as to what I wanted it to look like. I simply stated that I wanted a horse jumping over a jump, and whatever creative additions he felt like adding, go for it. I LOVE this piece so much! It hurt like heck to get it but was 100% worth the pain. As some of y'all know, I was in show jumping from the age 8-16, and once a horse gal, always a horse gal.
My final two tattoos are little impulsive walk-ins. The one on my left forearm that begins to creep up my hand has absolutely no meaning. I saw something like it on Pinterest and wanted it. The little coffee mug on my right forearm, that ones special. My friend has the same one on her arm. Yep, that's right. My friend and I got matching tattoos... not only that, but we had only known each other for a week prior to getting them. The first time we ever hung out we decided to waltz into a tattoo shop (Guns and Needles in Minneapolis) and get ourselves matching tattoos. Fast forward to the present day, she's one of my best friends and I love having a matching little coffee mug tattoo with the sassy gal.
Soooo, yeah... I'm clearly not the poster child for how to go about getting a tattoo. I think one of the reasons I can say whole heartedly that I love every one of my tattoos (despite having been rather quick to get them) is because I'm a pretty emotional person and place sentiment in/on literally everything haha. So even if the tattoo itself doesn't have meaning to me, I still treasure the memory of getting it or phase in my life I was in. My tattoos are kind of like a timeline of my life... just permanently tattooed on my body haha!