Views / She Says

The girl with the regretted tattoo

There are only a few certainties in my life. All that stuff about death and taxes you already know, but there's also this: I will never, ever get a tattoo.

How can I be so sure? Firstly, I hate needles. Wait, hate isn't a strong enough word; I loathe needles. I cower at the mere thought of these torture devices necessary medical instruments. Last week I went for a routine blood test and wound up having an embarrassing fainting episode in the middle of a busy hospital clinic. So, no, I don't do well with needles.

But let's say the piercingly painful tattoo needle wasn't an issue. Even if the ink was drizzled on pain-free, I would never want to inscribe my body with a permanent keepsake. The thing is, there are many things that I care quite deeply about at the moment; yet, how can I possibly know those feelings won't change over time? I don't think I own one item of clothing more than five years old, I change my Facebook profile photo on a weekly basis, I've lived in over 20 different houses/apartments over the course of my 26 years - my life is all about impermanence. I can barely commit to a nail-polish colour for longer than three days; how could I ever commit to an ink stain on my skin forever?

Recently, a friend of mine announced that she was planning on getting her tattoo removed. You can take a wild guess where that lingering artifact from her teenage rebellion is located - her lower back, of course. At 18 years old, her body art (I refuse to call it a "tramp stamp" since sexual promiscuity and tattoo ink have no logical correlation) was accompanied by a navel piercing and a bad attitude.

She was a rebel, just like every other teenage girl, and her mom hating tattoos was just part of the appeal. Funnily enough, disapproval from an external source (this time it's her boyfriend's distaste for indelible ink) is once again a contributing factor in her decision. The irony is clear.

I am so happy that I will never feel the deep, remorseful kind of regret that only an inspirational quote in a foreign language scripted on my skin can inspire. However, I know I'm in the minority; my generation seems increasingly obsessed with expressing individuality by doing something that everyone else is doing. After all, tattoos can be many things - beautiful, painful, attention-seeking, sentimental, permanent records of a drunken night out - but they are rarely unique.

More on