Memorial tattoos – that is, tattoos dedicated to the passed on – are a delicate and sensitive thing. For many, they are far more than a tattoo, even far more than a dedication; the process of choosing, getting, and healing a memorial tattoo is a ritual – personal, private, and of great significance. Their history goes back as far as tattooing itself; several ancient cultures had a version of the memorial tattoo, from a single dot or dash to represent the deceased to complex and highly detailed designs. Modern innovations have given us almost unlimited options, making the decision of what to get even more difficult than it already would have been.
When choosing a memorial tattoo, there are several things you want to keep in mind. Aside from the normal tattoo considerations such as placement, size, and detail, you’ll also want to ask yourself what you want this piece to represent. Obviously, it is in memory of a loved one, but what kind of memory? Are you wanting to symbolise them as a person? Do you want to immortalise an inside joke or special moment between you? Is there a specific object or activity connected to your memory of them? Do you want the piece to have meaning only to you, or do you want everyone who sees it to know who it’s dedicated to?
Once you’ve decided what you want your tattoo to represent, you’ll want to think about the design itself. The go-to for many is a basic name, date of birth, date of death piece – straightforward, simple, and to the point. But many others want something a bit more artistic, a bit more symbolic. Consider who they were as people, what their passions were, what they stood for, and what your relationship entailed. Think about what they would want you to get – would they appreciate a beautiful, elaborate expression of your love, or would they prefer something funny and lighthearted? How did they see themselves? Were they a musician, deeply religious, obsessed with Star Wars, extremely political? Choosing a piece that speaks of who they were, how you connected, or a particularly meaningful memory you have of them assures a memorial you will be proud to wear.
This is, of course, just advice – ultimately, you are the one who needs to be satisfied with your tattoo. But like funerals and wakes, memorial tattoos are, in the end, not just a ritual of passing, but a celebration of life.
“Good luck getting a job!”
Anyone that has a visible tattoo has likely heard this more than once. And, once upon a time, it was a somewhat accurate criticism – in days past, those with obvious tattoos couldn’t hope to be much more than a circus sideshow or part of a criminal enterprise. What many have not seemed to have noticed, however, is that times have changed. A lot. Here are 5 jobs that love your mods: a couple of which may surprise you.
1. The arts industry. This one may not be surprising at first – afterall, tattoos are art, and the art world has always been a bit weirder and more liberal than many others. But when we look at the full scope of jobs included here, we realize that many are jobs that used to oppose visible tattoos. Floor staff and cashiers at bookstores and libraries, music and instrument retailers, art teachers, professors, dance instructors, and curators were at one time expected to have a more “professional” look, which meant a clean-cut, blank-canvas appearance. Recent years have seen a great change in attitude, however, and more and more art professionals are showing off their ink with no great consequence.
2. The medical field. While mods are still largely frowned upon for doctors, views are rapidly changing for many others in the medical field. Nurses, ultrasonographers, pharmacists, and various medical technicians are reporting less and less stigma surrounding tattoos. This is likely helped by a growing support for medical tattoos, such as allergy warnings, medic alerts, and cosmetic tattoos for cancer survivors.
3. Healthy/alternative living companies. Because the general philosophy of alternative living, whether related to groceries, medicines, clothing, or homes, is that one needn’t adhere to tradition to live a good life, these companies tend to be a lot more accepting of alternative appearances as well. Businesses such as Trader Joe’s, Nature’s Fare, and similar outlets, have been praised in body-mod circles for their openness to mods.
4. Food industry professionals. And no, I’m not talking about people with tattoos having to work at McDonald’s. Chefs, restaurant owners, professional bartenders, wait-staff, grocers, and food suppliers are all welcome to have tattoos.
5. IT/Technical careers. It may not be surprising that those who work behind the scenes more often than with the public are allowed more leeway in their appearance, but it’s important to mention, as there is still a stereotype that heavily tattooed people can’t get a “good” job. IT/technical careers are often very lucrative, and happily allow mods of all kinds. This is just one of many industries that prove being tattooed does not have to mean being broke.