Tattoos: Taint or Trademark?

When you look at me or meet me for the first time, you’d probably never guess that I have a lot of tattoos (unless you could see them, of course). But I do.

I have twenty tattoos spread all over my body; primarily on my arms and legs. They’re all relatively small, so they’re easy to hide with long sleeves or pants, which I do when I have job interviews or go to gatherings that include older people. Not because I’m ashamed, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten them, I just know that some people have prejudices about tattoos and tattooed people and I don’t want them to write me off because of that. For someone to judge me based on my tattoos says more about them than me, of course, but that is undeniably the way it is. It might not be that way in the future, but until then, I’d rather keep it this way.

With that being said, I’ve always known I wanted tattoos. I loved, and still do, the way you can adorn yourself with ink the same way you can with jewelry and at the same time express yourself personally, artistically and aesthetically.

Although tattoos are a great way of showcasing your individuality and originality, some people find mine “cliché”. And yes, I did find most of my tattoos online, but I don’t think that’s any different than being inspired by everything else online – except, mine may become the tribal tattoo of the future!

Anyway, without further ado, let me introduce you to all my tattoos.

  1. Butterfly (2007)

    My first tattoo! I went to Madrid with my best friend from school in 2007. After having wanted a tattoo for years, I decided to get it during our stay, because it was cheap and would make for a cute souvenir.
    I already knew that I wanted one on my wrist, and that it had to be a butterfly – no particular reason, I just thought they were cute. My friend and I walked around the city trying to find the perfect outline for my butterfly, and when we found it on a shop window, I took a picture of it and showed it to the tattoo artist the next day.
    I remember being surprised that it didn’t hurt more than it did. It was just like being pinched and only took 10 minutes. The guy added a smiley face on the butterfly without asking me first, and I wasn’t overly happy about it. When I showered the next day, I thought “What the hell have I done?” But that thought quickly disappeared and, since then, I’ve never had negative thoughts about that tattoo.
  2. Malm (2010)

    An ode to my father, who died when I was 13. My last name, Malm, comes from him.
    I once worked with a girl who had a tattoo on the side of her foot like this and I loved it, so I decided to get one in the same place. Mine didn’t turn out as cool as hers, but that’s what you get for rushing out on your lunch break from work to get a tattoo in a place you know nothing about!
    Also, I didn’t treat it so well during the first 24 hours, so it faded a little bit.
  3. Quote (2012)

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” – on my left rib-cage.
    I’d just gone through my first treatment for depression and wanted something that represented the struggle and the light at the end of the tunnel. I found this quote on Pinterest, I think, and thought it was ridiculously suitable.
    Now, I regret getting it in such a thick font, because it’s starting to get all blurry, which makes it hard to read. But other than that, I still like it, and the placement, a lot.
  4. Arrow (2013)

    Copied from an image I saw online, probably on Instagram, that said:An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.” Again, I feel like it represents my life and what I’ve gone through really well.
  5. Hearts (2013)

    This is a sister tattoo. My older sister, myself and my younger sister each drew a heart (in that order to resemble our place in line) that we all had tattooed in the same place. We weren’t allowed to redo it, which is why they’re all a little wonky. One of my favorites because of its meaning, simplicity and placement.
  6. Rose (2013)

    This was my first (relatively) big one. It was inspired by another rose tattoo that made me want one of my own. I think it’s very beautiful, and the details amaze me!
  7. Owl (2013)

    One of my best friends from high school and I call each other “Uchel” (It means owl in a southern Danish dialect), so we each got our own owl tattooed in different places on our bodies.
    I found the drawing online with the headline “owls that scowl”, and we immediately fell in love and went and got one each. The owl is meant to look grumpy, because, well, that’s life.
  8. Camera (2013)

    Obviously a testament to my love of photography! Also inspired by the Internet.
  9. Lips (2013)

    I’ll leave you guessing.
  10. Birdcage (2013)

    The bird represents me and my escape from my own cage: my social heritage.
  11. Wing (2014)

    Kind of like the birdcage. My upbringing has made me aware of what I don’t want myself and my life to be like, but to strive after something bigger than what I come from. My past has given my wings to pursue and become something better.
  12. 28 (2015)

    My favorite number, because it’s my fave boyband member’s birthday! It sounds ridiculous, but it has brought me so much luck throughout life.
  13. W (2015)

    Stands for Westlife. You know, the Irish boyband from the early 00’s. They were my LIFE back then – the reason my English was so good at an early age, the reason I’ve been to Ireland so many times and chose to live and work there. I’ve seen them in concert more than 15 times, met them several times, wanted to marry one of them, spent fortunes on posters, CD’s, singles, all kinds of merchandise. I couldn’t NOT get a tattoo dedicated to them!
  14. Cassiopeia (2015)

    I have these little birthmarks that constitute the constellation Cassiopeia, so I just had them connected with little dots. What I like about the story behind Cassiopeia is that she was put in the sky as a punishment for being too vain. So, a reminder to not be vain!
  15. World map (2015)

    Obviously dedicated to my passion for travel! People constantly ask if I’m gonna get pins or color in the places that I’ve been, but no. It’s not detailed enough, and I don’t want colored tattoos.
  16. Line (2015)

    I liked the thought of getting a simple line that followed a natural line in the body.
  17. Moon (2015)

    I saw a really cute moon tattoo on Instagram and thought it would be fun to get. Do you hear me laughing? This is definitely the tattoo I regret the most!
  18. Wave (2015)

    Dedicated to my love of the ocean. Made in Long Beach, California.
    My very best memories are of being on or in the sea. My Dad had a boat when we were kids, and I have so many good memories from trips we made. Later on, my Mom and stepdad bought one, and we only ever really get along when we’re at sea! I didn’t realize how much I loved the ocean until I moved to Australia, I think. I could stand in water to my neck on a perfectly sandy beach and let the waves lift me off the ground for literally hours. Some of my favorite animals are ones that live in the ocean.
  19. Coordinates (2015)

    These are the coordinates to the library at California State University Long Beach. The place I spent the most time, while living in California! Also made in Long Beach, California.
  20. Semicolon (2015)

    A semicolon tattoo is part of a movement that shows support of those who suffer or have suffered from mental illnesses or attempted suicide. The semicolon represents the life that could’ve ended but didn’t. And if that isn’t my life, then I don’t know what is.

As you can see, I haven’t gotten a new tattoo in three years. I thought I’d had enough, but I have a few ideas in mind, so stay tuned for potential updates 😉

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