Stephanie Bricker
Student Writer

Have you ever seen a tattoo in a particular shape that made you think, “why on earth is that worthy of being permanently placed on your body?” Next time this thought goes through your head, you should ask the person. That’s what I did with Josiah Nisly, a junior chemistry major with a tattoo that requires some explanation…and a little science.

How many tattoos do you have?

I have one tattoo.

When did you get your first tattoo?

I got my tattoo done this past October.

What was the process of getting your first one like?

I had been thinking about getting a tattoo for a while, coming up with a few ideas and just sitting with them for a bit to see if I liked any of them. This fall, one stuck out to me as something that I could really live with, so I figured out a time with some friends that would work, and called that morning to schedule a walk-in appointment. It was thought out well enough, but with a dash of spontaneity.

What does your tattoo mean?

My tattoo is the capital Greek letter delta, which is used in mathematical expressions (especially in a scientific context) to signify change or a difference. Anyone who knows me knows I love science, so that layer of meaning is pretty straightforward. However, its meaning in STEM disciplines also serves as several reminders to myself, hopefully as much in the future as now. They are to be accepting of uncomfortable life changes and embrace them, to advocate for and be an agent of social change, to work towards the equality and shalom that Christ embodied, to recognize that others have different experiences and stories than I do and they are no less valuable and to be comfortable with my own differences and unique identity.

What are some common questions you get asked about your tattoo?

Most people ask me if it hurt (yes it did, but less than I expected). Sometimes someone will ask me what it means, or how long I’ve had it.

Do you want to get any more?

I would love to get more! I’m trying to space them out though, because they’re kind of expensive. I also need to think more about what I’d like to get next.

What is something you want people to know about getting tattoos/your tattoo?

For me, it was important to have something significant, with meaning. I want to have it for the rest of my life as a reminder to be the kind of person I want to be, or at the very least a mark of who I was. But that’s my choice. If you’re more interested in tattoos for their art and you think they’d look good on you, great, that’s your choice as an adult (I mean, they do look pretty great). I think there’s some stigma around tattoos with specific social connotations, in addition to a peculiar assumption that you don’t know tattoos are permanent. But really, I think tattoos are a legitimate form of self-expression, however that manifests for you.