Tattoos can serve many purposes, represent many things and tell many stories. For Kia Treml, ’21, tattoos have almost always been part of her life. They are a way to connect with her parents and she has gotten tattoos dedicated to each of them.
I currently have 8 tattoos.
When did you get your first tattoo?
I got my first tattoo when I was 16. My mom has a lot of tattoos. I always knew I wanted a lot like her, so we had a pact that when I turned 16 she would take me to get my first one.
What was the process of getting your first tattoo like?
Getting my first tattoo was incredibly scary, to be honest. I have a fear of needles and pain, so it makes no sense for me to have tattoos, but for me it was different. They always say that once you get the first one, it gets you hooked and you’ll want more. In the moment I didn’t think so because it hurt, but it definitely ended up being true!
What are the most significant tattoos you have and what do they mean?
All of my tattoos have special meanings, but the two that have the most importance to me are the ones for each of my parents. The tattoo for my dad is on the back of my shoulder. My dad and I have a really special bond because he adopted me when I was 12 after being my primary father figure since age 2. The tattoo is of a pumpkin, which is his nickname for me. My favorite part is the font, which is actually his handwriting that I took from notes he has written to me. The one for my mom is actually a two-part tattoo. It starts on her forearm and then continues onto my upper arm. They line up perfectly together when we hold hands. This one is so special to me because my mom and I are best friends. We have this indescribable connection, and it’s been that way since I was a kid. We wanted to get something that connects us no matter how far apart we are because it’s really hard for us to be apart. She’s my other half, and this tattoo is just another way that is true.
What are some common questions you get asked about your tattoos?
The most frequent question I get asked is if it hurt. It makes me laugh every time because I don’t know whether to answer with a joke or to be serious. It’s hard for me to answer seriously because for me the pain is more than worth it and not even a factor people should consider if they want a tattoo that has so much meaning to them. A lot of people don’t get tattoos simply because of the pain, so I don’t want to scare them away from getting something they love.
What’s something you want people to know about getting tattoos/your tattoo?
What I want people to know about tattoos is that they do not lessen my value as a person. There are a lot of stigmas about people, especially young adults, with tattoos. A tattoo does not take away from my connection with God. A lot of my tattoos are religious, so it’s actually my way of spreading the love of God to anyone who sees them and asks me about them. They represent everything I stand for, so I think they are the most accurate and honest representations of who I am as a person.