I’ve been seeing quite a few people explain all of their tats, and I love reading about them. It’s so fun to hear about the thought process behind each one, whether it was to commemorate a special event like a birth or death, or whether it is something as simple as their favorite food.
And according to an instagram poll, this topic seems to be one that other people feel similarly about. So here we go.
I got my first two tattoos the summer before my third year of college and I had just turned 20. I had gone on a mission trip to Swaziland the summer before as well as this summer, and felt a very strong connection to the country. Leading up to the trip, whenever I prayed over Africa or it’s people, Isaiah 6:8 was always heavy on my heart. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Fast forward a few weeks. I was spending the night at my friend Bailey’s house and our other friend Alex was with us. We were having a last little hoo-rah complete with Bridesmaids & powdered sugar waffles when we decided to drive up to the Lawton mall (LOL) and all of us got a tattoo. It was a really memorable night. Plus mine didn’t turn out super awful… you can’t tell but I’m rolling my eyes.
Outline of Africa on my right hand.
“SEND ME” on the backs of my ankles.
My next one was very thought out, and it was one of the first I ever wanted. When I was in high school, I watched a documentary called “Furious Love” and it completely wrecked my thought process on people… in the best way. I decided then that I would spend my life loving people furiously. Fervently. Passionately. Sincerely. With everything in me. Even when it was hard, even if it made others uncomfortable. I wanted people to feel how powerful the love of God is. I got this the summer before my last semester, and it was for my 21st birthday. It was done by Caleb Lyons at Beauty From Pain in OKC.
“love furiously” on my left arm.
These next two were incredibly spur of the moment. I was at Bailey’s bachelorette party and we all were talking about going and each getting something small. So we get to the tattoo parlor around 10 or so (the only place that was even still open… I’m talking bars on the windows and everything). When we walk in and we’re looking through the books and the art on the wall and EVERYONE BACKED OUT (I’m still bitter, ya’ll) except one of her cousins. I ended up getting an outline of a circle and an outline of Oklahoma. The circle represented that last year of my life. It had been the biggest year of change, and God was the only constant. ……..but 50% of it was that I also looked on Pinterest and really liked how minimal it looked. STOP JUDGING.
The outline of Oklahoma….. in case I ever forget where I was born or where I live I guess.
I regret nothing.
Outline of a circle on my left bicep… bicep is used lightly here.
Outline of Oklahoma behind my right bicep, above my elbow.
The sixth one was also spur of the moment. It was the end of my last semester of college *tear.* Aaron had just come back from Australia and we were having a day date in the city when we talked about getting a tattoo together. I had the idea of getting something to commemorate Narnia for a long while. I loved the books and the movies, and something about it felt very magical. After some thought (not a lot of thought, because we decided literally that day), I wanted to have a lamppost inked on my wrist. “I have come,” said a deep voice behind them. They turned and saw the Lion himself, so bright and real and strong that everything else began at once to look pale and shadowy compared with him.”
It needs to be touched up something fierce, and honestly isn’t the best looking thing in the world BUT it holds much meaning and memories with it.
Lamppost on my left wrist.
My biggest piece was done a few weeks after the lamppost. This is my favorite one, and the only one I’ve gotten for other people. I had saved up for this a long time and debated about the placement, what it would look like, the colors, everything for over a year. The heart with flowers is meant to represent Isaiah 61 ; For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.
Each flower though represents a member of my family. Daffodil for my mom, larkspur for my sister, Lily of the Valley for my dad, and then a rose for me. I wanted the whole piece to look very much storybook-ish. I’ve had SO many people ask if I’m getting the heart shaded or filled in and the answer is no. I like the line work and it reminds me of stained glass. It was done by Caleb Lyons at Beauty From Pain in OKC.
Heart with blooms on my left forearm.
Next up was one I made an appointment for quite awhile in advance. There was a girl that had been apprenticing at Beauty From Pain and I absolutely loved the artwork she had showed me. She seemed to specialize in floral line work so I decided to get this piece from her. It’s nostalgic for me because it reminds me of my aunt taking me camping when I was a little girl. I loved picking up leaves and wildflowers, and journaling about everything I saw or smelled or touched.
This one was done by Lauren Miller, now about to open her own shop in OKC!
Indian blanket + wheat stalk behind my left bicep, above my elbow.
I got the last two at the same time, and they were my first ones after being pregnant and having Holland. I almost didn’t because I was breastfeeding, but the person I went to I trusted 110%. I went in wanting my dream piece. The one piece where after I get it, I would be happy never getting a tattoo again. BUT long story short, it didn’t work out with the piece I wanted and the placement I wanted it at. It’s all good. Still wanting to get that soon.
What I DID get were little ones that had been on my list for awhile, so it all worked out.
The glyph represents the word “create.” I tend to get in my head more often than not, and I’ll talk myself out of doing things if I can’t be the best at it right away. I get really discouraged and then I’ll give up. The past few months have shown me that creating things with my hands and doing it for other people is incredibly therapeutic. I truly believe it saves my sanity sometimes.
The last one is powerful. The last three words spoken by Jesus when he was on the cross. They hold so much life. Translated from Greek it means “paid in full.” All debt that we ever owed is irrelevant now because of His perfect and untarnished love. Even when He was hanging there, struggling for breath, He was asking God to forgive. Ya’ll that gets me all kinds of emotional trying to comprehend how much He cares about you and I.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
Both were done by Lauren Miller, who was then at BlackMint Collective.
Glyph on my right forearm
“it is finished” on my left forearm