It’s interesting to see how tattoos can change meanings as people grow up. The initial meaning of a tattoo can change as time goes on, yet it can still hold great significance and relevance. This week I sat down with junior theatre major, Elena Rossetto, to talk about her tattoo and how its simplistic meaning is still very dynamic as she matures.
How many tattoos do you have and what are they?
I have one tattoo, and it’s an ichthys fish on my right foot.
Where did you get your tattoo?
I got my tattoo done at King Of Hearts in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
How would you rate the pain when you got your tattoo done?
I have two veins that go over two parts of the fish, and it didn’t hurt that much when it went over the normal part of my foot, but I definitely felt it when it went over the veins. It kind of felt like it was a perpetual bee sting. It hurt initially, but you kind of get used to it.
How do people usually react when they see your tattoo?
People usually don’t see it because it’s on my foot. But, people will usually tell me it’s cute or even say that they have it too. They might ask for the meaning and say, “Oh, you’re a Christian!” I’ve even gotten, “Why didn’t you pick something cooler?”
Was your tattoo planned out or was it spur of the moment?
My tattoo had been planned out for four years, and I got it when I was 16. My sister, my mother and I got it done together at my sister’s graduation. I saw a camp counselor of mine who I really admired with the same tattoo in a different place. I told my mom that I wanted it when I was 14, and of course, she said “no.” So I grew up a bit, and told my mom again and said that we should surprise my sister for her graduation and we should all get tattoos. I mainly started out with telling her I wanted the tattoo, and she told me to explain, and she’d hear me out. So, I explained the meaning behind the tattoo, what I really wanted, what it meant to me, and my mom said she’d get the same, exact tattoo with us.
Is there any personal meaning for your tattoo?
Yes, when I saw a role model of mine with the tattoo I thought, “Wow, that is so cool.” As I thought more about it, I kept asking God and myself if I really wanted this permanently on my body. I was talking to an old man at my church who was very sweet, and I asked him about the ichthys fish. He told me that in biblical times they would put the mark of the ichthys fish outside on their yard or on their house. It meant that travelers would have a place of refuge, they’d be given food and clothes and they’d be cared for. It meant they’d be given shelter in a place of love and acceptance. I want to be that for other people—be the person that would give anything, and be so humble and a servant of God. Especially because I got it on my foot, so I can remember that I am walking with the Lord. It’s grown into different meanings as I grow older and learn more about myself and my faith.
Are you planning on getting any more tattoos?
Yes! I have one drawn out that I really want. Basically, I really want to get a mountain and a sun peaking over it. Nature is where I find my true self, and I connect with the world the best. I’m the purest version of myself when I’m immersed in God’s nature. It’s like the sun is coming over the mountains symbolizing every day is a new day, and you’re a new person. You never have to live in the past; you can live in the present and the future.
What advice would you have for anybody else that might be thinking about getting a tattoo?
Don’t pick it because Pinterest thinks it’s cool. Make your tattoo your own, and don’t walk in and tell the artist that you want something and it’s someone else tattoo. You get one body and should have a tattoo that no one else has. Now, I realize I hypocritically say this, but my tattoo is totally unique to me. A tattoo is forever. It grows with you and changes with you so get something that’s meaningful. Don’t second guess yourself, so if you really want it, get it. Take a friend and make it a fun time.