Tattoos serve many purposes and carry significant meanings for everyone. Whether to remember, inspire, or honor, tattoos are the ultimate commitment. Featured below, guest author Jasen Beemer shares his views on body art and their symbolism.
Que Significa Tu Tattoo?
What do tattoos mean? I get asked this all the time and contemplate it myself from time to time. The truth is, a tattoo signifies different things to everyone who adorns their bodies with one. Over the years, I’ve had countless conversations with those who wanted to know the underlying meanings behind my 16 and counting, tattoos while also inquiring to them the reasons why they pursued a certain type of design in their specific bodily location.
I have had the pleasure of interviewing many folks from all walks of life, and most have mentioned that their body is a canvas that tells their life story.
More or less, they wish their bodies to be a kind of mobile advertisement of who they are as individuals while simultaneously showcasing a variety of themes that are important to them. In a nutshell, it’s a way of defining oneself symbolically and relaying a few, or several, of your more intriguing attributes to others without even speaking a word. For me, though, this reasoning is not the case – or at least not the whole case.
For me, my tattoos are like memories. During times of introspection, I find that when I’ve been through a rough patch and make it through to the other side unscathed, I generally have the desire to memorialize my “accomplishment” with some form of symbolism. These reference points scarred onto my body often remind me of the 2000 movie mystery/thriller, Memento. For those of you that have not yet had the pleasure of enjoying this particular flick, it involves a man who suffers from short-term memory loss. The main character, played by Guy Pearce, employs the use of both Post It notes and tattoos to hunt for the person who he believes killed his beautiful wife.
Now, for the record, I’ve personally never suffered anything as serious a rough patch as dealing with a close, loved one’s murder… or even natural death for that matter. But, like the rest of us, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs over the past 37 years. That said, my tattoos and I are a real, live personification of those times when I was at my lowest but did not give up. Instead, I choose not to be defeated by whatever circumstance I was currently in and figured a way out to resolution.
Memories – some are outrageously positive, others less than good. And not all my tattoos represent a trial or tribulation where I was forced to suffer through a negative event or experience. For example, the inscription of my son’s name across my lower ribs: every time I see this writing in the mirror in front of me it reminds of the greatest feeling I’ve ever had which coincides with the best night of sleep I can remember ever having – the night of his birth.
So, upon looking back, I’m afraid my tattoos do not tell my life’s story as much as pick out very specific instances that are super-relevant to my continued growth as a man and future as a son to my mother, entrepreneur, lover, husband, and father. Certain items, these memories, I need to remember and constantly keep fresh in my mind, for they are partially responsible for molding me into the person I have become. In this way, even though the event(s) may have passed, the impressions left on me never leave. Only fade in time…