Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Tattooed Lady

I have received a lot of comments regarding my recent tattoo and my choice to finally go under the needle, so I thought I'd try express my thoughts on the matter! I warn you in advance that this is quite a wordy post, so be prepared! But if you do stick it out to the end I hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading :)

Kaylah from The Dainty Squid

I was never into tattoos as a child. I had what many people would consider to be a quite sheltered childhood, most of which was spent at a Catholic girls' school where it was considered racy to dye your hair let alone have anything pierced or tattooed, so the culture was never on my radar. Honestly, if I ever did encounter anything to do with tattoos I was rather intimidated or even afraid, as if this was something much to cool and edgy and grown up to ever have anything to do with me. Tattoos seemed to go with a entirely different walk of life to my own, so I kept well clear of them for the whole of my childhood and teenage years, but when I started college at 18 things started to change.

When I was studying for my degree I started to experiment more with knitting and sewing and generally reawakening my creative passions that I had been ignoring for a while, and with this rediscovery of myself came my first experiences of the online sewing community and all the wonderful sewing blogs out there. This was back before I had even dreamt of writing a blog of my own, I had been an avid blog reader for quite some time before the Little Red Squirrel came into being! And the biggest influence to me in those early days was a blogger who back then was fairly unknown but was clearly destined for big things: Gertie.

Gertie from Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing

I couldn't get over the fact that the beautiful Gertie sewed all her own clothes, had an incredibly bold and yet feminine sense of style and this was also paired with being heavily and visibly tattooed. Reading Gertie's blog was my first experience, in my naivety, of someone whose tattoos didn't define or restrict who they were, they simply added another facet onto an already fascinating individual. Here was a woman, confident in herself and her abilities, unafraid to be bold and unafraid to be different, clearly just living her life in a way that made her happy. Well, I don't think that at that time I could ever imagine being so brave and confident! I was finally beginning to understand that there was much more to tattooing and tattoos than burly rockers with LOVE HATE inked across their knuckles; it's an artform. After all, what bigger acculade could an artist receive than knowing that a person will be carrying their artwork on their body for the rest of their lives? The whole world of tattoos started to open up to me and I saw it in a very different light.

Over the years I started to find my own style more, I started this blog, I gave up buying and wearing new clothes and I started dressing in an alternative fashion every day. Although I come from a more conventional group of friends and family I became more and more confident about who I am and expressing it physically through my clothes. I pretty much did what most kids do in their teens in my twenties, just call me a late developer! And all the time I drew inspiration from the fabulous women whose blogs I read, and more and more of the ladies I admired were sporting tattoos, beautiful, feminine pretty tattoos like nothing I've ever seen before! I think that you can safely say that it was somewhere around this time that my imagination started to spark about getting a tattoo of my own someday.

Tasha from By Gum By Golly

I never thought that I would get a tattoo for one simple reason: I am an actor. I was told throughout my training by various people, both tutors and performers, that any kind of body modification - tattoos, piercings, even extreme haircuts - was considered a bad idea in the performance world. And it makes sense, after all it's difficult enough to work in the acting industry without narrowing your horizons even further by presenting yourself in a possibly alienating fashion. When you audition for jobs you are judged the moment you walk through the door, just wearing lipstick could be the difference between a casting director perceiving you in a positive or negative way, let alone you sporting a visible tattoo! So for years I would only allow myself to toy with the idea of getting tattooed, talking about it like it was a clear point in the future, but one that was definitely far off. In my mind I thought I'd probably get a tattoo at about 30 or 35, which is the age I always imagined myself moving away from performance, or at the least the kind of chorus girl roles that require you to show more flesh. Tattoos would be a part of the next section of my life, when I was older and (hopefully!) more secure in the knowledge of what I wanted out of life. Because that was the problem really, I didn't know what I wanted any more. 

Emma from A Beautiful Mess

I worked very hard for a long time to start a career in theatre, for as long as I can remember it's been all that I wanted and has filled my every waking hour, but over the past few years of working in the industry I had began to question exactly what it was that  was doing. Don't get me wrong, I've been incredibly lucky, I worked on some amazing projects in some fabulous places with some wonderful people, but deep down I was beginning to understand that success in my career alone wasn't enough to make me truly happy. I was away from my family, my friends, my Sweetheart, living out a suitcase and working incredibly antisocial hours, and after four years all that starts to take it toll. Now I realise I have started to wander off topic slightly and you're probably wondering what on earth has all that got to do with tattoos? Well let me tell you!

When I returned from my most recent job I realised that something needed to change in my life for me to regain a bit more of a grip on my sanity, and my tattoo was a huge part of that. For years I had been putting off doing something because of my worries about how other people would perceive me and how such a permanent action could restrict me. Long story short, I was stopping myself from doing something that I knew would make me happy in order to make other people feel more comfortable, and I realised that I had had enough of that. Without getting in too deep, my decision to finally get tattooed is the first in what I hope to be many permanent actions to help me create a life for myself the really makes me happy. I'm not really sure what this will entail as yet, and I'm by no means saying that my acting career is over (I've actually met many tattooed actors over the years so I don't think mine will effect my casting in the slightest!) but big changes may be afoot, and I couldn't be more excited about them!

Ulrika from The Freelancer's Fashion Blog

As to whether or not I will ever get another tattoo, the answer is I really don't know. The design that I chose in the end meant a lot to me and was a good year and a half in the making, so I can't really imagine ever just making a snap decision over a tattoo, so far that reason if I do ever get another it would probably be in a while! I can totally tell why some people find it addictive, my tattooing experience was very exhilarating, and when you're sitting in the chair you definitely start to dream up other ideas, so who knows! Maybe I will, maybe I won't. For now I'm completely in love with my new tattoo and that's good enough for the time being :)

Without the wonderful world of the online blogging community I would have never discovered so much about myself and would never have been inspired to change for the better, so I thank each and every one of you beautiful tattooed ladies out there for showing me beauty without conventions. 

Each one of the lovely ladies I have featured on this post is a fantastic blogger so do check out their blogs if you haven't already!

5 comments:

Tasha @ By gum, by golly! said...

Oh Katie, what a wonderful post! And thank you for including me with the other wonderful tattooed ladies you showed, aw shucks. :)

I loved reading more about what brought you to where you are today (not just with getting tattooed). I love having tattoos, and I've never let it define me. I work in a professional and somewhat conservative industry... I just know how to balance my personal sense of self and my profession. I sometimes don't even think about my tattoos, they're just a part of me. So I'm saddened on occasion when I read people's dismissive comments about tattoos and the assumptions they make about the people who have them. It's easy for people to lump everyone together. Should you lump all redheads together? All women? All people with piercings? All actors? Of course not. Silliness. So I really appreciate it when people speak out about the reasons they've chosen to get a tattoo. Quite frankly it's been long enough since I've had a new one it was very pre-blog, so I've never thought to do the same thing. lol

Some of my tattoos have been purely for fun (mostly when I was younger), some mark very important decisions or milestones, some things that I hold dear to my heart, some (like my 3/4 sleeve and 1/2 sleeve) tell stories about my life. Each represents a little part of me and my journey. I loved reading your story. Enjoy your fresh ink, it's gorgeous!! :D xo

asewingodyssey.blogspot.co.uk said...

Beautiful post, depicting beautiful women with beautiful tattoos. It really is an art-form and a wonderful way in which people can express themselves, in my humble opinion. I don't have any tattoos (although the idea appeals to me very much), but I love admiring other people's all the time! Life is short and it's important to do what makes you happy. I'm so glad you did this for yourself and I'm sure it will signify a series of positive changes ;o)

Jane said...

This is a really interesting post and I'm so glad you went with your heart and did what you felt was right for you. Bravo! I've got a tiny tattoo on my shoulder blade that I had done when I was 18. My tattoo career started and finished with that one little tattoo, but I don't regret it at all and it always reminds me of a very happy time, starting university and like you, discovering the real me for the first time.
As an aside, an actor friend of mine did get a ticking off from a director when he had to go bare chested during a production of Coriolanus (I think) only to reveal his Pink Panther tattoo across his back! x

Nina Pitkäranta said...

This was a lovely read, and an inspiring post! Your tattoo is beautiful, and it was interesting to read all it means to you :)

Rakel said...

Absolutely loved this, especially since I'm a tattoed girl as well! :D

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