Tattoo planning
June 23, 2018 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Hello! My birthday is coming up, and I'd really like to get myself a new tattoo, but I need a little help figuring out what/where. Details/preferences inside.

Okay, so I spend a lot of time daydreaming about how my life could be better, or how I could be better. I'd like to get a tattoo that either says or represents the thought "Be the you you want to be." As a reminder that all I have to do to be better is to DO the thing (whatever it is; I tend to get caught up in perfectionist thinking and then don't do the things, I just wish I could. Well, I CAN! And that's why I want this tattoo).

The problem is, aesthetically, I'm not wild about the two "you"s right next to each other. I'm not positive text is even what I want; it seems kind of personal and I don't necessarily want to be explaining it to everyone. Maybe in a different language? But then that might invite more questions? An image that represents that thought? I don't know! Help!

Which brings me to the second question. Where can I put it that I will see it but is slightly private. I don't have a problem with visible tattoos (nor does my job) but again, it's kind of personal and I don't want to explain to everyone. Otherwise, I'd want it on my wrist. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
posted by Weeping_angel to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Also, if anyone has an awesome tattoo artist in Phoenix, AZ they'd like to recommend, I'm all ears!
posted by Weeping_angel at 6:57 PM on June 23, 2018

Sankofa which means to "go back and get it". I like this sentiment in that it is action based as well as containing an element of forgiveness in that perhaps you didn't get it before but you can always go back and get it (or do the thing).

There are two representations of Sankofa. One is a stylized heart.

My favorite representation is a bird with its head reaching back to get an egg from its back. "It symbolizes taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge."
posted by Sassyfras at 7:35 PM on June 23, 2018

A few thoughts:

People will ask you about your tattoo, regardless. Even if your tattoo literally says 'Please don't ask me about my tattoo", they still will. People will also grab your arm to look at your wrist. People are weird, but it shouldn't stop you from doing what you ultimately prefer. I suggest you think of a couple of deflecting lies about what it means for when you inevitably get asked. I have a very personal tattoo on my forearm near the crook of my elbow so I usually say something like 'It doesn't mean anything, I just picked it off the wall of the tattoo studio because I liked it' or 'It means I lost a bet with a friend' etc.

Personally, I think unless the non-English language is one that you have a tie to, it can be a bit weird to get a tattoo in that language. It feels mildly appropriative to me, but this is just a boundary I have created for myself, and I wouldn't necessarily think less of someone else for doing it. Also, if anything you'll probably get more questions.

Last tattoo I got, the artist mentioned that he doesn't love tattooing words on people because he has found they lose their power once they become part of your body. I'm not saying this to scare you off getting those words tattooed on yourself, but it's food for thought.

Wrist is good because you can cover it with a watch/bracelet on those days you just can't be bothered, but I think you'd experience more tattoo 'wear and tear'. I have found having one on my upper forearm really good because it's easy to cover but also have on display if I want. UV radiation is not great for tattoos which is another reason to have them in a place you can cover them.

Hopefully this was helpful. I think your idea is really nice, I love the concept.
posted by BeeJiddy at 7:54 PM on June 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Do the thing" gets my vote, or maybe just DtT. That was an important part of a the eulogy a friend's son-in-law gave for her daughter. He talked about all the amazing things they had done throughout her long illness, and all the wonderful memories they'd created. His advice, since we don't all know when death is going to come knocking, was to go out and do the thing, whatever the thing is. That resonated then and still does. I've got my tattoos on both the top and underside of my wrist. Lots of people notice the one on top. Very few notice the one on the inside of my wrist if I don't show it to them.
posted by kate4914 at 7:54 PM on June 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

One idea I've been considering for a while (and you are free to use, of course): "What you give."

My personal inspiration is the Tesla song, but it totally doesn't have to relate to that--there's also the quote (falsely attributed to Winston Churchill) "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give," and others with similarities.

As for location, I've felt cautious about this myself, but as mentioned above and based on what I've read, a lot of people do find that wrist tattoos are reasonably easy to hide and/or unnoticed.

A couple other quotes that to me seem perhaps a bit cliched, but at second glance make me think "Hey, there really is something to this": "Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken." and "Be the change [you wish to see in the world]."
posted by Carouselle at 10:56 PM on June 23, 2018

"Become who you are" is a kind of rewording, and ribcage text is a thing these days.
posted by rhizome at 11:27 PM on June 23, 2018

As a Somewhat Tattooed Person...

1) Yes, people will ask about it if it's visible. No, you don't have to tell them the truth.
2) The more tattoos you end up with, the less they may ask about that one.
3) The upper/inner bicep is more hidden but still viewable for yourself.
4) It doesn't have to be words. Something could have immense meaning and the image could have little to nothing to do with the meaning behind it. It's sort of like a bookmark or stamp on your life.
5) Put your ideas up on your mirror/refrigerator/phone screen to see them often. That way you can decide if you love it or want to change it before you get it done. You can also photoshop them onto your body.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:09 AM on June 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'd like to get a tattoo that either says or represents the thought "Be the you you want to be."
There are such a lot of ways for a tattoo to represent this or any other thought. Actual words are one way, but they're also kinda limiting & prone to misunderstanding. They're also not always visually very interesting.

I just got my second tattoo a week ago, and as far as anyone else is concerned it's a squid. But for me, and for anyone that I want to share something personal with, it also represents a bunch of other stuff.

It's your tattoo. It can represent whatever you want. Just its existence already represents a bunch of stuff.

get caught up in perfectionist thinking and then don't do the things
The whole reason I now have tattoos is to prove to myself that I can act in the world. The key to it, for me, was to dump all the thinking & planning that I'd been doing about what they should look like & what they should "mean", and just to get any tattoo. The first one I got was a picture of my cat. For me, that represents the idea that I can do stuff & it's real & it's in the world.

Having made that first step - now any future tattoo can mean anything I tell it to mean.
posted by rd45 at 1:16 AM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you do decide to get that specific text as a tattoo, you can run it around a circle like this example on the right. “Be The you” on the top, “You want to be” on the bottom, and the two you’s won’t be next to each other. You can also put a little icon in the center of the circle.
posted by ejs at 7:13 AM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

for some reason, the mental image i see when you are describing your idea is the "walk man" you see on street crossing signs. Nothing says "GO NOW" (or do it, cross the street), like that dude lighting up. IS there an image that pops in your head for you when you thing of your idea?

rd45, that squid is nice!
posted by WeekendJen at 7:24 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older how can i easily swap between three computers...   |   Name of queer-centric indie artist/talent agency... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.