By Jane Bowden and Mansi Bhargava
Managing Editor and Correspondent
Rising up, Kayleigh Soucy didn’t like her physique. She was bullied for being chubby, however when she began to reduce weight, the compliments from her household and friends solely fueled an eventual consuming dysfunction and physique dysmorphia. That’s why final February, she walked into her native tattoo parlor and was decided so as to add one thing stunning to part of her physique she spent years attempting to shrink.
“My flowers are on my abdomen, as a result of I’ve all the time hated that space of my physique, so I put one thing there I’d love and would make me really feel stunning,” mentioned the junior arithmetic main.
And Soucy isn’t alone. Many students at the College are getting tattoos as a type of self-expression, turning what was seen as an act of rise up right into a celebrated norm.
“It’s a bit of your id displayed in your pores and skin as artwork,” mentioned Julia Gladstone, a sophomore nursing main.
Gladstone, who has a tattoo of the letter “I” adopted by a larger than image, an up arrow after which a down arrow on her wrist, mentioned her tattoo signifies that she is bigger than her highs and lows. It additionally pertains to her diabetes and portrays “what life is like.”
Very like Gladstone’s, many tattoos function an indication of hope that floor individuals throughout a troublesome interval of their lives.
Soucy sees her tattoos as a day by day reminder that she’s been by struggles which have solely made her stronger — the semicolon on her wrist symbolizes suicide prevention, the quote “Even the darkest night time will finish and the solar will rise” on her ribs is borrowed from her favourite e book, “Les Miserables,” and the flowers on the aspect of her abdomen signify magnificence and progress.
“My tattoos remind me that I’m right here, I’m human and I’m worthy of happiness,” Soucy mentioned.
One other widespread pattern for college students on the Faculty is getting a tattoo that honors a member of the family or fond childhood recollections.
When Samantha Allen was a sophomore in faculty, she bought her first tattoo on her left wrist of a small seashore scene and the phrase “shine” in her mom’s handwriting. The tattoo reminds her of the time she spent as a baby at Island Seashore State Park together with her household.
Since then, the senior advertising main has added two extra tattoos: an edelweiss flower on her ribs and an Aries constellation on her proper wrist.
John Brezina, a senior scientific psychology and counseling main, additionally has a tattoo that pertains to his household. Positioned on his chest, Brezina’s tattoo is a self-designed household crest that resembles the Porsche brand, as his ardour for automobiles is shared by his father and brother. Within the brand are the colours of his household’s birthstones, music notes and the phrase “Consider.”
“I wished a tattoo that I’d be in love with aesthetically, but in addition one which was laden with that means, so I spent quite a lot of time working with it,” Brezina mentioned. “I made a decision to place it proper over my coronary heart, in order that if I ever dangle my head, I’m instantly reminded of why I all the time push on.”
Whereas many younger individuals are fast to affix the ink pattern, others chorus from having tattoos altogether as a result of its permanency, a scarcity of design concepts or the worry of disapproval from their dad and mom.
Though many fear about this destructive response, Zane Thompson-Bradley, a junior interactive multimedia main, mentioned his household loves his tattoo of the phrases “Ceaselessly Love Grandma Doreen,” which he bought in honor of his grandmother who died in 2013.
“It represents how I’ll always remember her, what she taught me and that I’ll all the time love her,” Thompson-Bradley mentioned.
Though tattoos have been historically seen as unprofessional, many employers have gotten open to the idea of hiring employees with tattoos. Based on a 2018 study by the College of Miami Enterprise Faculty, 40 p.c of younger individuals with not less than one tattoo will not be at an obstacle relating to employment.
Tait Algayer, a junior biology main, has a tattoo of an endangered species of chicken at a seashore she grew up close to and labored at as a lifeguard for 5 years. Immediately, she works at that seashore as a biology technician and mentioned that tattoos are extra tolerable within the office than she anticipated, as one among her colleagues is roofed with them.
As society turns into extra accepting of tattoos, individuals appear to specific extra freedom and autonomy relating to selections about their our bodies.
“I used to be so near taking flight after I was sitting within the ready room earlier than getting my first tattoo, however the second I bought it, I’ve spent daily interested by my subsequent one,” Brezina mentioned. “It’s an absolute obsession I can not escape, and I can’t wait to get extra and proceed to show my physique into my new canvas.