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Tattoo Tuesdays: Carly Laird

Sharlene Oong
Student Writer

laird1Tattoos carry different meanings for everyone. They capture memories, tell stories and represent different parts of an individual. For this week’s edition of Tattoo Tuesdays, I sat down with junior English major Carly Laird to hear about the tattoos that represent her faith and her story.

How many tattoos do you have and where did you have them done?

Four. Three of them I got at a shop near my house, and the other one was from 717 Tattoo in Harrisburg.

Which tattoo hurt the most?

The one on my back shoulder because it has a lot of shading, and it took like an hour and a half.

What is the most common question you get asked about your tattoos?

What does it mean? Did it hurt? Why did you get that? You end up getting a script for each one in your mind and saying the same thing when someone else asks them.

What is the most common misconception about people with tattoos?laird2

I think this is starting to change because more people are getting them, but there is still the stigma of marking you as a rougher person, particularly as a woman who has tattoos, people expect the little anchor or cross that is dainty—I have some of the big ones; that marks you as being edgy.

Which tattoo means the most to you?

I think my first one, the dove on my wrist. For me, I got it to remind myself of my faith, and when I got my tattoo, I was very, very strong in my faith. Now that I’m even less so, I still don’t regret having it. It reminds me of a snapshot of my life that I can learn from. So when I look at it, I am reminded of where I was at the time, compared to now and what I have learned from that moment.

Do you plan on getting more tattoos?

Yes. I do not have anything specific in mind, but I also know that I would be open to getting more. They always say the more addictive they are, the more you want which is probably true.

How do you handle the pain?

I do remember that what I heard the most was my niece was there, and she was laughing while my step-sister was holding her, and I was in so much pain—my niece was laughing and I was like ‘smile for the baby.’

What advice would you give to someone considering getting a tattoo?

Particularly for your first tattoo, you have a certain image in your head for awhile. For me, I had the image of the dove in my head for a year before I actually got it. For your first one, that is helpful. My tattoos are for myself. I don’t get it thinking what someone else will think about it, or ‘oh this will look so cool,’ but people look at it, and they don’t really understand it as it has a lot of deep meaning to me. I think tying it to that is really important.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about tattoos?

People who have a negative view of them, for so many people, getting tattoos is like claiming the space. Like for me, this is my body, I am choosing to get this mark, and I am choosing to connect with this image to who I am as a person. You end up forgetting that it’s a part of your body, a part of your skin almost. I think that’s really important for people to remember when they are criticizing others who have tattoos.

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4 comments

  1. I agree with Carly. Also, I do not agree that tattooing your body is “desecrating” it. If that is the case, then every time you ate at Mcdonalds or any other fast food restaurant would be you desecrating your body because it is unhealthy to eat foods from there. You should only be eating veggies. Which would also mean, you are sinning because you have harmed your body which is the temple of God.
    Making a mark on your body of something significant to you is something you do because you love your body and you love yourself. You can go and take a survey- ask people with tattoos why they got their tattoos. Not a single person will tell you that they inked themselves with significant meanings because they hated themselves and they wanted to leave a mark on the body and harm it. Tattooing your body with things meaningful to you is like decorating your house with paintings meaningful to you.

  2. I think it’s telling that your faith was not strengthened by your decision to get tattoos, in fact the opposite. Why do you think this is? Was God honored and glorified by this? I would say that people succumb to the ways of the world, to look worldly, to fit into a current cultural trend as opposed to honoring God with their body. God doesn’t change to conform to our cultural trends…we should conform to His. Be happy with the body, the very temple of God, that He gave you, do not desecrate His creation and His temple with pagan symbols and practices.

    • Actually, getting tattoos is not at all related to the ways in which my faith has changed. My faith is where it is today because of circumstances in my life completely unrelated to my decision to have tattoos. I don’t think getting a tattoo can strengthen your faith anymore than hanging up a picture of a cross or a bible verse in your room can. I would also argue that some of the “cultural trends” you’re attributing to God that were against practices such as getting tattoos or piercings or wearing clothing woven with two different fabrics (so basically the majority of the clothing we wear today) have to be viewed in their own cultural context of the Ancient Israel, where many of these practices were linked to pagan rituals. But I know very few people who wear cashmere and cotton blend sweaters in honor of some pagan god. Saying these laws and other laws in the books of Leviticus or Judges are the “cultural trend” of God puts God in a box of only being relevant to that time period and ignores that fact that our society (both in a secular and Christian context), does not operate on the majority of Old Testament laws.

      • I appreciate our ability to have an open discussion on this issue and it is not my place to judge, only to come alongside and offer a different perspective. You are right that God does not follow cultural trends as I pointed out, His holiness and standards are unchanging. Laws that were given in the Old Testament are just as applicable today as they were then, God does not change. Even Jesus said that he did not come to change the law but to fulfill it. In other words, the law is still applicable, but a way of salvation is now offered to those who fail to uphold the law (all of us prior to salvation). Jesus did not come so that we can have an excuse to keep on or indulge in sin, in James, it is expressly stated to be the opposite, that as Christians we should not shame Christ by continuing in sin but seek to honor God in all we do. Many Old Testament laws are also illustration of a broader principle…co-mingling fabrics is an illustration of “do not be unequally yoked” and be set apart from the world, be a new creature in Christ upon salvation, do not keep one foot in the world…there are many applications. I encourage you to dig deep in the Word and understand the broad messages, application, and universal principles. As I say, it is not my place to judge, my perspective is that I am saddened by what some have unwittingly done by basically vandalizing God’s creation with what is essentially graffiti or a form of advertisement, or in the worst case unknowingly putting pagan symbology (tribal art that has its origin in the worship of false gods) on their bodies. Unlike eating unhealthy, which is also a sin against God’s temple, when you have come to your senses and repent, there is a permanent mark and reminder of your past discretions. Repent of unhealthy eating and recover. Repent of tattoos and then what? How are you going to get it off? As a final caution, I am reminded in Revelation that in the end times many if not most of humanity will take the mark of the beast on their forehead, their wrist (i.e. their skin). I always wondered how satan would be able to get so many to willingly take his mark. And I now see how easily the masses are deceived in their drive to be aligned with what is popular, to fit in, to be edgy, to be relevant to their culture. I’m not saying that is what today’s tattoos are, but you can see how in the end times the masses will line up to take his mark and not only do so, but gleefully encourage their friends to also take the mark, be popular, be identified with the movement, all the while forgetting their creator is not amused. I searched for some other material on the subject and while this is not expansive and does not address all aspects, it may be food for further thought. https://denisepassdevotions.com/2014/10/28/tattoos-in-whose-image/ Again, so thankful to have this open discussion and I wish the very best to you all.

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