I have a love of tattoos. I can't get enough of them. If I could sit for it, I'd have a full sleeve on one of my arms by now, but unfortunately, my nerves don't feel the same way.
I have only one tattoo, a small sun about an inch in diameter located just above my left foot on the front of my leg. It's a tiny little thing, with four rays surrounding the circular sun in the middle. It probably should have taken about 15 mintues to complete. But that poor tattoo artist had no idea what he was getting himself into.
The whole thing was a roughly 45-minute ordeal that included at least one forced stop by the artist when he saw the blood rush from my face and several requests for a break after that from me. I mean, the man brought me a Sprite to help me recover from that initial wave of nausea.
It hurt. It hurt bad.
But I love my tattoo. I've had it for almost 10 years and I know that 10 years from now, I'll still love it because it has special meaning to me.
So when I see people with tattoos I want to ask about them. They can tell you so much about the person who wears them.
I find myself recording tattoo shows on my television as of late. Mostly, I've saved full seasons of the show "Ink Master," in which a number of great tattoo artists compete for $100,000. It's classic reality TV that includes all the dramatic sideshow stuff, but I don't watch it for that junk.
I watch it for the tattoos. They're stunning.
Society's view of tattooed people has grown more accommodating in recent years. You're allowed to get inked pretty much anywhere on your body without catching the ire of potential employers, except for easily visible places like your neck or your face.
I agree that there are places that should remain tattoo-free zones, like faces, necks, fingers, hands.
One guy on the show had a neck tattoo that appeared to be a giant eyeball emerging from a forest. Ouch. No thank you.
The thing about tattoos is they last forever. You're going to be wearing whatever you decide to get on your body for the rest of your life. For me, that makes the choice that much more important.
It took me months after deciding I wanted to really get a tattoo to research designs and find something I loved. It was a calculated decision, my tattoo, not a whim.
It was also a decision I'm glad I made each and every summer day when I look down at my flip-flopped feet and see my little sun shining away.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackie Stark is a Chocolay Township resident and a staff reporter at The Mining Journal. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.