Under the Ink – How Tattoos Tell Our Story

We live in an era of self-expression on numerous levels. Whether it’s through your career, hobbies or your style (although likely a combination of all three), we strive for authenticity and ways to make ourselves stand out in the ever-growing crowd, both online and offline. And imagine the struggle, compared to people who used to only have their occasional phone-calls and written correspondence, whereas we now find ourselves connected in a multitude of social networks that we use to shape the perception of who we are.

The sheer volume of choices can be staggering, so it’s no wonder that the number of people getting inked is continually growing, especially in developed countries such as the US and Australia, although many others aren’t far behind. But how do tattoos play a part in shaping our identity and what significance do they bear in terms of preserving our authenticity?

They Embody Our Struggles

Not every suffering in life results in a visible scar, and yet, we as humans feel the need to put our pain in perspective, no matter its source or cause. And this is where tattoos come into play. A perfect example is the semicolon tattoo, which serves to bring out onto the surface the deep struggles of depression and the relevance of suicide prevention, through support, love and acceptance.

Now that’s not just a profound message, but a commitment and an act of choosing life, as well as inviting others to do the same despite their invisible strife. This simple punctuation mark is a way or reclaiming life, establishing a promise and celebrating victory – all of which started as a movement in the US and has turned into a global, world-changing movement that empowers people not to give up.

They Celebrate Our Strength

Nowadays, people often choose a tattoo when they want to commemorate an event, an important emotion, a crossroads in their life, to serve them as a permanent reminder of their achievements. It can be as simple as a date or a name inked into your wrist, or as elaborate as an entire sleeve of intricate symbols to represent your success.

Whichever may be the case, it’s not uncommon for individuals to use an image on their body to express a form of self-acceptance, and a way to embrace even some of your deepest fears and overcome them through ink. They can even be used to turn a seeming failure into a success, for example if you are ashamed or dislike a part of your body, a tattoo can empower you to learn to appreciate yourself on a new level.

They Encourage Self-Love

Since they’ve long been accepted as a mainstream trend in many parts of the world, tattoos now also serve as an aesthetic and deeply spiritual form of self-expression, self-adornment, and a way to improve and express our confidence. And as such, it’s now possible to get the best tattoos in every major metropolises in a matter of days, which makes inking a socially acceptable, widely-accessible way to express yourself.

It may begin as a coping mechanism to overcome our deepest insecurities, but inking evolves into an indelible part of our identity. It’s a way of gaining a level of control as to who we are and how we present ourselves to the world, and finally, how we shape ourselves for the sole purpose of loving our unique qualities more than ever.

More Than Meets The Eye

While we try to gain a deeper understanding of this increasingly popular behavioural pattern, we should not forget that there are probably as many reasons, stories and purposes as there are tattoos. From those who choose an image that will help them cope with loss, illness or change, to those who turn their bodies into artistic canvases for solely aesthetic reasons, ink will always be a powerful language of its own, and perhaps our last refuge from conventionality.


Mia Taylor is a fashion and beauty enthusiast from Sydney and writer for www.highstylife.com. She loves writing about her life experiences. Traveling and enjoying other cultures and their food with her husband is a big part of her life. She is always on the lookout for new trends in fashion and beauty, and considers herself an expert when it comes to lifestyle tips.
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