My Tattoos Don’t Define Me, They Represent Me


As a teen, I’d go to the bookstore before heading into my first job to buy the latest tattoo magazines. I was obsessed with the process of getting tattooed, the details, the art, and the vivid colors. Mind you, I had to sneak these magazines home and under my bed because my parents would have killed me! To this day, they still hate tattoos and have a negative connotation towards them. 

I didn’t get my first tattoo until about 21 years old—of swallows on my lower back because it was easy to hide. The process from start to finish was exhilarating. Knowing that I’d have a permanent piece of a symbolic art after some temporary pain was worth it. 

After my husband’s taste of death, I started to give in to myself and collect more tattoos. I know it’s cliché, but I came to the realization that life was really too short. I’m just going to go for it without any regrets. I told myself  that I will not be affected by people’s views of me, especially strangers. So I started getting tattooed by my friend Sal Sanchez whenever I made a trip to Orange County. One tattoo piece here and another there turned to more and more. 


The majority of my tattoos have very special meanings from my life, as it usually happens with most people. You can say that I “wear my heart on my sleeves.” I have tattoos that represent a miscarriage, life reminders, and a whole lot of my kids. Then there are the tattoos that have no meaning and are there simply because they are beautiful to me. 


With all this, of course I’m going to get looks. I get a lot of positive admirers that appreciate the artwork and want to know what some mean. Then there are those who share their negative thoughts and disgust of my choice of adorning my skin. Good or bad, I respect everyone’s views, but I don’t let my tattoos define me with the negative stigma that I feel has been shrinking. My artwork represents ME. They represent a mom who rose up from what life throws at her, and who loves her children that made her who she is today. A strong woman.




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