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Tattoo Culture: A Form of Expression and Empowerment

Misha, Gabby and Natalie
One of her last tattoos can be seen in this photo with her two best friends. Words to express her thoughts and feelings written on her body. It says “dance like no ones watching, sing like no one can hear, love like you’ve never been hurt and live like its heaven on earth”

There it was peaking above her bikini, barely noticeable. A tattoo that I had said she could not get. It was  open defiance of my wishes. She had asked for a tattoo and my answer was when you are eighteen, then see how you feel about it.  Well, after that first tattoo she continued getting tattoos up until her death. I now realize that this was an expressive way for my daughter to show her thoughts, to have control over her body. The funny thing is a couple of years later she talked me into a tattoo also. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and am grateful for my tattoo I got with her as it will always be there for me to look at and remember her by. It was another one of my Misha moments in time that I hold close to my heart and will be there to make me smile for the rest of my life. We both had doves inscribed on our body, mine on my ankle hers on the wrists.

My Tattoo’s which are forever in my heart with the daughter I lost. She had doves on her wrist like I have on my ankle.

I always felt my daughter had too many tattoo’s. I was worried that when she grew older she wouldn’t want them anymore. Now I realize they made her happy. They were a celebration of life to her. She spoke whimsically through those tattoos. She was making statements that empowered her. I read a lot about the young generation now. I want to understand her reasoning about many things. I see photos shared on the internet of women who have had a mastectomy and decided to show their journey with meaningful pictures tattooed over their scars, I see girls who have gone through tremendous trauma like depression or abuse that have a tattoo somewhere because they have survived. I see names of loved ones that a person has tattooed in memory. I understand there is much to the art of a tattoo now. I am reminded of my daughter every day when I look at my own.

As I grow older I don’t regret my tattoo of the doves. In actuality they remind me of hummingbirds now. I feel a special connection with hummingbirds since I have moved to Colombia. I will always remember the last time I looked at my daughter before she was cremated; there were her doves in full view for me to see. I often think of that day when we both decided to get a tattoo together. It was a fun time with her best friends who showed up to see us get tat’s together.J=Tattoo I am still very close with both girls and we laugh a lot about various memories we all share of my daughter. Her one friend has a tattoo in Misha’s memory on her side that is quite intricate with a hummingbird and flowers. I love that she did that. My tattoo on my wrist is because of the other friend who had the same tattoo on her ankle and I loved it. I tell my granddaughter that the hearts represent all the loved ones in my life. My tattoos  have become a reminder of my strength and the journey I’ve been on since Misha left this world.

A tattoo is a reminder of events in our lives that are meaningful. They serve a unique purpose for the person who has decided to imprint their message on the body. They are a personal choice that is not about what others might think. They are for the person alone who has one. Some people don’t like them, I understand that. I don’t think a huge amount of body art is necessary, but I understand the thought process behind the tattoo culture now.  A tattoo is a  personal decision that we make. A tattoo comes from a place of wanting to share something essential about ourselves with the world.

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I am an American who moved to Colombia to find peace after the devastating loss of my daughter. I bought and renovated a Villa, am learning Spanish, and writing as catharsis. This blog will be like a book with chapters. Each blog will be about my life in Colombia and my adventures. I hope you will enjoy the many new discoveries I am making every day about myself and another culture.

2 thoughts on “Tattoo Culture: A Form of Expression and Empowerment

  1. I totally get Tattoos although I don’t have any myself. I was angry at first when my son got his but then realised its his body and his choice.I understand many tattoos have a deep message and why not do what you want with your body


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