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Today is National Tattoo Day, which of course is freaking AWESOME… because I’m an ink freak. I guess it goes hand in hand with the piercings, but we’re not discussing those.

I got my first tattoo when I was like 14 from some idiot – thread and needle style. There isn’t much to discuss, I was a rebellious teenager and my best friend and I got nicknames tatted on our arms. I don’t know how long it was before my parents saw it and freaked out, maybe a year or so. When I was 19, I had it covered up professionally with a small celestial design in pastel colors. At this point, it needs a touch up because the years have not been very good to it, and it has faded quite a bit.

My next tattoo was about a year later. A close friend from high school and I got matching tribals across our lower backs before she moved two states away. They have a heart motif and mine reads ‘Aphrodite’ while hers says ‘Venus’ – and although they now fit into the ‘tramp stamp’ category, they were done before the fad really hit.

I didn’t get another tattoo for several years, but then I had both of my shoulder blades done within a year of each other. I have a woman’s face/rose/butterfly design on my right shoulder blade. The woman is supposed to represent the mother spirit. Butterflies represent change and growth, and there is one for each of my boys. The color of the rose means I am proud of you. The tattoo was very personal and is one of my favorites. On my left shoulder blade I have a tribal angel/bible verse. Never mind that the angel has horns, I think it’s just a personal representation of my inner demons. Besides, every angel has a little devil in her eyes.

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On my right forearm, from wrist to elbow, I have a ribbon/feather/bird design with a verse. This is my cancer ribbon blended with a raven feather quill that turns into small black birds in flight. The verse reads ‘Write your own destiny!’ in a typewriter font.

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On my left forearm is my most recent tattoo, and another depiction of me as a writer/author (it is also another one of my favorite tats). Done in black and grey, I have an old fashioned typewriter with a tree branch growing out of it. There is a raven perched on that branch, representing me. Signifying my writing, you’ll find the first two lines of my poem ‘Bliss’ written on the paper feeding out of the typewriter.

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Currently, I have plans to update my first tattoo (the celestial design), a sleeve for my right arm, a design for my right leg – hip to knee, phrases for around both ankles, the back of my left calf, a small image for the back of my neck, and at least two more with questionable placement. You can check in with me in a year or two and see where things are at, since my artist is incredibly busy and I have to schedule each appointment with him several months in advance. If that wasn’t the case, I’d probably be in sitting in his chair every few weeks.

 

In addition, my love of body art has trickled down to my offspring. My oldest son, Calvin, has a memorial tattoo for his great-grandfather on his right forearm and a Disney inspired tattoo on his left shoulder for his newborn son. My next oldest, Dustin, has a tree of life pairing that covers both of his forearms – wrist to elbow – and is currently planning something to cover both of his calves. He’s been undecided for a while though, so it might be a bit before his next appointment while the rest of our family sits back collecting new ink. My son, Austin, who turns 18 in October, even has plans to get his first tattoo. I guess you could say the ink is in our blood since our artist is family too.

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So, here’s to my inked brothers and sisters. Be unique, be you, and keep making the world a more beautiful place with the art you wear every day.

Much respect.

~ Raven

#tattooedandemployed

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