By Celica Cook, SBM Student Life Editor

Tattoos can be lots of things. Sometimes they are a form of self expression, or they represent a value or idea that is important to us.They are a tangible way that we can better understand the human being being the ink. For sophomore education student Elena Castillo, tattoos have been a way for her to connect with her mother, and with her faith. This is what she had to share about her tattoos.

What tattoos do you have?

“I have two tattoos; one on my shoulder of a fern leaf and one my back of an olive branch.”

What do your tattoos symbolize?

“The fern leaf symbolizes confidence and this means a lot to me because of the idea of having confidence in the Lord and confidence in yourself because you were made in the image of God. The olive branch symbolizes peace because of the story in Genesis 8:1 when a dove brings an olive branch to Noah after the flood. This also means a lot to me because my mother has the same tattoo and it reminds me of her because her other tattoos symbolize peace as well.”

What inspired you to get a tattoo?

“My mother has tattoos, so growing up I always went to see her get them done and always wanted one, but also I see tattoos as a way to express yourself and decorate yourself. I know that some Christians see tattoos as forbidden because the Bible says not to permanently mark your body but I see it in a different light than that. I also always wanted tattoos because they can be extremely meaningful and remind you of important things in your life.”

Do you plan on getting any more tattoos?

“I do plan on getting many more tattoos. I want to get some for each of my grandparents and my parents and brother. I also plan to get some other tattoos that exalt the Lord such as a cross, the word ‘resilience’ and a few verses that mean a lot to me.”

What is your advice to someone getting a tattoo for the first time?

“My advice to someone getting their first tattoo would be to research the artist. Look through their work thoroughly before getting tattooed by them because it is permanent and you do not want to dislike your tattoo. Also, take time to choose the tattoo that you want. Again, it is permanent and you want it to be something that you will enjoy forever. Lastly, don’t be scared to get a tattoo. They don’t hurt that bad at all and the little bit of pain for a little while is so totally worth the outcome in my experience.”