And I mean tattoos, more specifically. Do I have one? Why yes, yes I do. And I plan on having many more.
While there's always been debate about tattoos and other forms of body modifications (like piercings, for example), I honestly feel like the taboo on tattoos is dying down (at least, in my part of the world). I can't go a day without seeing at least five people with tattoos: friends, strangers, even professors. Not only are they becoming more accepted, but even more visible; sleeves and wrists, for example. In many books and films, as well, you can see a lot more characters as well as actors/actresses sporting some pretty cool ink-take Divergent, for example, where both Tris and Four sport some pretty fantastic artwork:
I approve. So, so much.
Tattoos, for me, are the prime way of expressing yourself without words. You can permanently put something on your skin, and it stays with you forever, something that you can look back on and hopefully smile, and something that others can look at as a much more obvious way of saying that there's more to you than meets the eye.
I mean, I don't mean those stupid tattoos that somebody got on a dare, or when they were drunk, or just being stupid. In all actuality, I hate those tattoos. It's disrespectful: to yourself, to the artist, to the world.
But when there's a story behind it? Je l'aime. I love it. They're beautiful and wonderful and every single time I find somebody with an eye catching tattoo, I will walk right up to them, compliment them, and more often than not ask why they got it. It's fascinating.
This is also the reason why a lot of my characters tend to have ink, if I can spare the characterization. Because it stands for something; because my characters stand for something. And not just tattoos, but many of them have eye-catching physical features that they weren't born with: Ronnie's got a bionic arm, and Moe has a scar that reads 'thief' on her forearm. Now, neither of these things are good, necessarily, but it's that sense of permanence that I feel really affects my characters and the choices they make.
So for the love of god (and unless you want me getting REALLY angry at you): if you ever get a tattoo, or you ever give your character a tattoo, make it mean something. Put a story behind it; it shapes yourself, and it shapes the decisions and opportunities you make and accept in the future. And as much as others might tell you not to do it, that you'll regret it in the future, it's a decision you have to make for yourself. And I feel like that's an important quality to pass on to at least one character in your book; the fact that they either chose to change their body, and did it for a reason, or that maybe it was forced on them, and that's what drives them in the future.
Thoughts or Questions? Let me know what you think!