How to Make Your Tattoo A Conversation Piece

11 Aug

This post is Day 9 assignment of the #31bnb or 31 Days to a Brand New Blog

If it’s one thing I know something about, it’s receiving attention from a strategically placed tattoo. I wear an Adinkra symbol, specifically, Sunsum, on my left shoulder. When the tattoo is displayed for all to see, I often get a LOT of attention from it. Everything about this tattoo was planned. From the what, the where, and the when.  In sharing my story, this post will help you to turn your tattoo into a conversation piece.

Conversation Piece: The What Where and When Matters

Choose the tattoo. Think about how this image will be with you for the rest of your life, hopefully. I’m not one of those people that believe in removing tattoos. You got it, be a big boy/girl and stick with it. Plus, who wants to go through all that pain only to go through more pain to erase it. Tattoo removal SUCKS, in my opinion.

I actually choose my Adinkra tattoo nearly 2 years before I committed to having it permanently put on my body. That way, I was completely informed about it’s meaning and was comfortable speaking knowledgeably about it.

That being said, do your research. What do you want your tattoo to say about you? What do you want it to say to other people?

Choose the Where. Where you decide to put your tattoo ranks right up there with what you decide to put on your body. Consider where you are in your life, personally and professionally, and if you can afford a publicly visible tattoo or whether you’ll need to be more discrete.

I got my Adinkra symbol at age 21 or so, around my senior year of college. I had an F-it attitude. But I didn’t completely disregard thinking about the professional world.  When it’s appropriate, in times of soulcialiting, I go out of my way to wear strapless and other off the shoulder fashions that highlight my body art.

Conversely, it has been only a slight challenge in the professional world. I don’t often wear strapless outfits to work, but the occasional sleeveless shirt can be problematic. My solution is to wear a blazer or light sweater, where appropriate.

Choose the When. When you get a tattoo can also be a great conversation piece and add to your greater tattoo story. I got my first tattoo on my birthday the first year of college. About four friends and I made it a rite of passage, so to speak. We packed into someone’s borrowed car, because we were freshmen, and didn’t have our own rides, and made our way over to a local tattoo shop. I think it was called Superman’s.

Well, I sprawled out on my side during this first and patiently endured the pain of my sun, moon, and stars tattoo. {this tattoo is located on the right side of my stomach, at my waist.} I remember the buzz of the needle and the individual punctures on my skin. I recall emphatically letting the tattoo artist that NO – he didn’t have to shade in the entire circle, that it was symbolic that only the moon side was shaded, lol. Wow. The memories.

But the symbolic timing of my decision played a huge role in this story. I was a college freshman, I felt liberated to get my first tattoo. And when I decided to get the Adinkra symbol, I had waited two whole years. And then one day, I went, all alone. I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t announce it, and I didn’t invite anyone along. It was me, and my decision. It was personal, just like the purity and sanctity of my soul, as sunsum has come to be defined.

Everything about getting an image permanently branded onto the body should be deliberate, in my opinion. It’s a commitment of time, money and to pain. So deciding the appropriate what, where and when are prerequisites for my tattoo adventures. When you can explain what you’ve chosen as a personal symbol, why you’re placing it on a particular part of your body, and when in your life that you’ve decided to commit to it is the basics to having a great conversation piece about your tattoo.

For my next tattoo, which I’ve already selected, I have two of my three prerequisites figured out.  I’ve got the what, and the when. (I’m ready at any time – my life has prepared me for it.) But I don’t have the where. So, I kinda don’t have the when either (in my warped thinking, all three need to come together in a trinity.)

I sure would like to know what my readers think about tattoos, if you have any, why you got them, any interesting stories behind them and what challenges they may have brought you professionally.


10 Responses to “How to Make Your Tattoo A Conversation Piece”

  1. ArtDeal August 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    I waited a long while to get my first tat and currently have two. My second one fits right in with your post as it a conversation piece. I am always excited when some one ask about it. Great post btw.

    • Najeema August 12, 2010 at 11:03 am #

      Thanks for your comments. I think waiting before committing to a tattoo is a good idea. Buyers remorse would be the worse in this case. I love when someone asks about mine. It happened just the other day and it was the inspiration for me writing this piece. I love when I can answer quickly and knowledgeably. Glad you like the post! Thanks for reading & commenting.

  2. tamara August 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    I really appreciate this post. I currently have three tattoos, but only one that people tend to notice frequently. Probably because I have it on my forearm. :o) I chose that location because I wanted it to be somewhere that I see all the time. In doing so, I also made it something that other people see and therefore feel compelled to ask about. Honestly, that annoys me. I really don’t feel like explaining my motivation for getting this tattoo to random strangers. Yet, I realize that it’s beautiful – and highly visible- and people will be curious. Oh well. Now if only one of these guys who asks me about it was dateable… I’d gladly converse about THAT!

    • Najeema August 12, 2010 at 11:18 am #

      I understanding your thoughts about your tattoo meaning being partially private. It’s a give and take, people are curious. They see it & they’re going to ask. Wishful thinking on the dateable guys. 🙂 Choose your words carefully you might just spark something great! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.

  3. EvolvingElle August 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! As many times as I’ve seen that tattoo while we’ve been out, I don’t think I’ve ever seriously asked about it! In any event, I don’t have any tattoos, but I do have one in mind and where I want it to be. I’m too much of a chicken to actually go get it done, though! But if I ever become brave enough, I know exactly what I want!

  4. Cho August 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    Good post! I have planned on three tattoos for over 10 years. When I was in high school and college, I’ve had friends who would just go out and get random tatts. I didn’t want to be one of those people who got stupid tattoos that didn’t have meaning to me. It’s something that you can not wash off! A tattoo is a permanent expression of yourself! My tattoos will be something that will not fade into my memories as a fad. I also didn’t want to spend money on something that would be a waste to me in the future. I like to make money but I HATE to waste money! I am planning on getting at least one of those tattoos before the end of the year. Most of my tattoos will not be visible to everyone. Unless, I walk around without a t-shirt! But I do admit that I want one on my calfe muscle! I’m also looking for the right artist to do it. I have a few people recommend some artist in this area. I have to evaluate their work and see if I get the right vibe from them before I let them ink me up! If you find more artist let me know. I can also pass along some that have been recommend to me as well. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Soulfull August 31, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Najeema! This story was so on-time for me. I never got a chance to have the HS-2-College experience (long story) so it was nice to read what that meant for you. For me, all of my tattoos have special meaning and have been purposefully chosen for where, what, and when. I have 4 tattoos all together. My first tattoo is the chinese symbol for ‘dream’. I placed this tattoo on my left shoulder because I wanted my life to mimic my dreams so instead of leaning towards the right way of doing things, I wanted the placement to represent a purposeful decision to ‘go left’. My second tattoo is an ankh symbol, which I placed on my right ankle (ankh/ankle, see the similarities) and I put it there as I wanted my steps to be ordered in the royalty of my egyptian ancestors. My third tattoo is on my right wrist. It is my pen name, Soulfull, with water waves for my astrology sign Aquarius. This tattoo was placed here to remind myself that my hearts desire belongs to writing so this tattoo reminds me that my hands are meant for prose. LOL! My last tattoo (for now) is on my left leg, at the calf. It’s a group of rising stars bursting up my leg. It reminds me to always rise above the bull. One rule of thumb for me is that I can only get a tattoo when I’m traveling, never in my home area. By doing so, it helps to keep the tattoo urge down, and it always brings me back to a special time/place (I’d have to tell you the background on the Vegas tattoo later lol). Lastly, all of these tattoos are black, naturally because black is beautiful ya know? 🙂

  6. Soulfull August 31, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    Okay that was supposed to be a smiley face!! LOL!


  1. Tweets that mention How to Make Your Tattoo A Conversation Piece « Hell In A Handbag -- - August 11, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Najeema, Adrienne Sheares and ms. rasberry, Tattoo Artist. Tattoo Artist said: How to Make Your Tattoo A Conversation Piece « Hell In A Handbag: When you get a tattoo can also be a great conver… […]

  2. commutiny - August 18, 2010

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    Thanks for commenting. I’ve added a Trackback to it on my blog :)…

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