Tattoo Regret; When You Lose the Connection to Your Ink:
Tattoo regret is at the same time quite a lot simpler and still a fair bit more complicated, than most people would think. At least what I have found through my own research on the topic (these last 8-9 years) within sociology (social sciences in general, why discriminate). Is that it is all about the connection you have with your tattoo.
Now it could be put as simply as it is in the two headlines above here. If you lose your connection to your tattoo, you will probably regret it. It is in fact that simple, but where it gets a bit more complicated again, is when it comes to the types of connections you can form with your ink, and how.
In a way, connection can be described the way Margo DeMello (yes love her work, not the last time I quote her and certainly far from the first) did in the year 2000 (yes 18 years ago now), when tattooing hit its first renaissance: It is all about the “tattoo narrative” the story/explanation you form, to justify your tattoo not just to others but also to yourself. These narratives can be formed in many ways, some more individually defined and others more socially defined.
The reason I talk about connections instead. Is that for some people, even though tattoos are an inherently both social and individual phenomenon, the reasoning behind a tattoo can come solely from themselves. Whereas for others the reasoning can be derived from social trends or other forms of social coercion, be it mild and subtle (fashion, friendship groups, subcultures), or strong and really overt (prisons, gangs, certain subcultures).
This is actually a trade it has in common with DeMello’s narratives.
Another reason I would rather call it connections, is that there doesn’t need to be much of a narrative behind a tattoo, for their to be a connection with it. That is however for good and bad. As some connections would definitely be strengthened with the right narrative, and others are perhaps falsely strengthened by the wrong narratives.
Now I have previously talked about tattoo regret on my site and how you make sure to avoid it. After all it is what my consultation business is all about. But I would like to teach people a bit more about how it happens and how it is avoided (after all that is another part of what I love to do, teach people about tattoos).
See as said earlier, the connection is paramount to avoiding tattoo regret. Because when a connection to your tattoo is broken, you won’t like that tattoo anymore. Now some people are fine with this fact and to them I say; to each their own and more power to you. But for the people who want to avoid regret, forming the right kind of narrative is important.
As a rule of thumb really, I would say that you should avoid socially derived tattoos/connections. especially in cases where you don’t have many tattoos or you don’t ever want that many tattoos. Going for that friendship bracelet tattoo with 7 mates, or getting some ink done because it is in fashion, is a very bad idea (generally fashion and tattooing shouldn’t mix). These connections are only as strong, as the bonds they are derived from, so if the bonds change, so will the connection to your tattoo.
A brilliant example is relationship tattoos, one of the kinds that most often gets covered up later. Now I am not saying to not get them, I think it is sweet and if you want to gamble on love like that, go for it! But they are still brilliant examples. As often when you get a tattoo to commemorate a relationship, if the relationship then breaks, then the connection to that tattoo breaks with it and regret sets in.
So keep your connections strong, get tattoo that are derived from yourself, your own ideals, needs, wants and so on. Think before you ink and you will be alright.
Well as always I hope you guys enjoyed reading my words, stay awesome people.