Senior Austin France expresses his love for his mother, his girlfriend and his brothers with a tattoo on his forearm.
“I have two roses on my arm that represent beauty,” he said. “One is for my mom and the other is for my girlfriend. It’s not finished yet, but I’m going to put rosaries around them to represent my brothers.”
To honor her lost grandfather, junior Baylianna Brink decided to get a tattoo of his favorite flower on her forearm. The sunflower helps her stay connected with someone whose loss shattered her world.
“My grandpa was a big part of my early life. He took care of me and he was my rock,” Brink said. “He lost his battle to lung cancer when I was four and I always remember his favorite flower being a sunflower.”
For some people, the tattoos’ meanings bring peace of mind and comfort through hard times.
“Whenever I’m upset, I still look at my arm and think of him,” she said. “It’s still my favorite out of my four. All because it’s for him.”
Tattoos have been popping up more and more on students and young people. Millennials, the generation born from 1982-2002, are skyrocketing these numbers. According to theharrispoll.com, almost half (47%) of millennials have tattoos.
Once viewed as a sign of rebellion, tattoos have become mainstream. The perception that people with tattoos are more rebellious has diminished 10% from 2003 to 2015. Additionally, the numbers of people who are comfortable with those with visible tattoos in different professions – including police officers and teachers – have increased.
Tattoos often reflect feelings for others.
“My Brothers Keeper” is scripted on senior Devonta Morgan’s arm.
“I’ve got family who’s not blood, but blood that’s not family,” he said.
Morgan uses his tattoo to express that his “brothers,” even those that are not related to him, are very important to him.
Junior Emma Torres got her tattoo in an effort to feel connected with her four other siblings who have the same tattoo.
“There are five arrows, each representing a sibling in my family (myself included). The fifth one is shaded because I was the fifth born,” Torres says.
Her other siblings have different arrows that are shaded according to their birth order.
“It makes me feel like I have support on the bad days,” Torres said, “and pushes me to keep moving forward.”
In many cases, those with tattoos find comfort in their tattoos because it has a special meaning to them. It brings the person something that they may have lost, or something that is far from them.
People who have tattoos have found a way to bring family and friends who may be far away, close to them. Permanently.
By Kendra McDaniel and Noah Snyder