There are many ways to express feelings and some help to bite away at the pain. But how do you replace someone who was a part of your life? Senior Jackson Stephens thought about this question for a long time and finally decided came to the conclusion of a tattoo to commemorate his friend Tyler Rathbun. He consulted his parents and at first, the conclusion concerned them. But after a detailed list of pros and cons he was able to convince them to agree.
“Just like venting to a friend helps when you’re feeling sad or screaming helps when you’re hurt, this tattoo helped me express my emotions I felt without putting others through the hassle of trying to comfort me,” Stephens said.
Stephens no longer has the memories flood back every time he sees something that reminded him of Tyler. He has his tattoo that allows him to look in the mirror and not only see Tyler standing next to him, but as a part of him — plus all of their jokes.
“When I see it I think of World of Warcraft (WOW),” Stephens said. “I can’t tell you how many hours me and Alduine (Tyler) sat side by side playing WOW. I see me and Ty larping at soccer practice. When I look at it, I don’t see anything, I see Ty.”
Tattoos are a family tradition for senior Gabby Magalski. She grew up looking at the black four-inch scorpion tattoo climbing her mother’s forearm. This is not her mom’s only tattoo either, she has another one of a mountain and stars in a circle that represents her youth.
That’s why when Magalski turned 18, the idea of receiving a tattoo wasn’t foreign.
“I made sure it was exactly how I wanted [the tattoo] before I got it,” Magalski said. “I had this tattoo idea in my head for about six months and so I knew I wouldn’t regret it.”
Magalski and three friends went to Timeless Tattoo after looking online for hours for different versions of the astrological sign, Scorpio. She finally decided on a cursive-looking version of the sign on her left forearm.
“[My mom and I] have a tattoo in the same place,” Magalski said. “So it kind of represents her because it has the same meaning but is a different symbol.”
Magalski believes her tattoo tells her story — along with the connection to her mom, it represents where she comes from.
“Mine shows who I’ve been since birth so that’s why it’s my first because it’s like the beginning,” Magalski said. “Your astrological sign is based upon the time of year you were born so it’s my first tattoo and its who I’ve been since birth.”
Senior Kelsey Scott may not have her father’s approval, but her mother is a different story.
“My dad isn’t too fond of [my tattoo],” Scott said. “He thinks tattoos are kind of trashy but my mom handled it differently. It made her want to get one that means something to her so my mom and I are getting the ‘hakuna mata’ symbol and ‘mother-daughter’ in chinese.”
Scott is a fan of tattoos, thinking they can represent a whole story in someone’s life.
“I actually think tattoos are amazing to look at,” Scott said. “I love seeing other people’s tattoos and it made me want some as well.”
This amazement led her to the permanent star between her index finger and thumb.
“The exact symbol is just a star, and it reminds me more of my childhood before I actually knew what stars were, and when I thought I could make a wish on a star and it’d come true. So it was kind of symbolizing that my wishes will come true throughout my life.”
Scott was only 16 when she received this wish.
“My friend Jordan gave [the tattoo] to me,” Scott said. “Sometimes I wish I would have gotten it in another place besides my hand, but other than that I love it.”
Unconventional is the way junior Evan Warren decided to go with his tattoo. The tattoo was given at a friend’s house dot-by-dot rather than with a tattoo gun, which vibrates and gives multiple dots at once. The needle had to be dipped in the ink every time for individual pokes to make lines.
After the third session of reinforcing the ink with junior Gaby Azorsky, the plus and minus signs on his hands were finally done.
Warren had been contemplating the idea with junior Caroline Roe for a while before going through with it. He wanted to make sure he had a reason for the tattoo — which he found through many life events.
“I suppose it wasn’t a single event but a continuous stand of bad choices until the debts got too heavy,” Warren said. “I basically collapsed and rebuilt myself the best I could. It’s your cliche ‘learn from your mistakes’ type of deal.”
Warren was finally feeling self-satisfied and prepared for the worst in life. He didn’t want to lose that mental state, so he got the tattoo as soon as possible.
“Like most people, my tattoo is reflective of an experience in my life,” Warren said. “For the most part it reminds me that I have ultimate control of the choices I make regardless of third party suggestions.”
Warren chose the signs because they were simple enough to do with a basic sewing needle in a minimal amount of time while still getting the point across. This point was to encourage him to retain the disposition of making the right life choice regardless of the circumstances. They’re adequately concise.
“[The tattoos] symbolize the factors I couldn’t control in my life so when I’m overwhelmed I simply lock my fingers together and figure it out,” Warren said.