She isn’t the type to walk into a tattoo parlor and point at the first picture she sees. No. If she has something printed onto her, then it’s special. Significant. She thought about it long and hard. She fought to find the perfect design.
And that design means more than you’ll ever understand.
Sure, you could ask her what it is, what it means. But she’ll probably give you the short version. It’s in honor of a relative that passed away. It’s a lyric from my favorite song. A line from my favorite book. A symbol from my favorite television show.
She’ll tell you the basics, but she won’t tell you the details. She won’t tell you why that relative was so close to her. She won’t tell you that those song lyrics saved her from depression. She won’t tell you the characters in that book or on that television show were her best friends when she felt like she was all alone in the world.
She won’t tell you any of that, because even though you can see her tattoos, they’re a private thing. If you learned the meaning behind them, you’d learn more about her than she’s comfortable showing you. You’d learn how she ticks, how she feels, who she really is.
Everyone she knows has seen her tattoos — but it’s rare for someone to actually understand the meaning behind them.
And she’s okay with that. She likes it to be her little secret, even though she has to put up with the ignorance of strangers. She has to ignore the mean comments about how she’s a silly fangirl or how she’s going to regret the ink when she’s older.
But she doesn’t let those nasty words bother her, because she knows they’re wrong. She knows how much meaning the tattoo carries. She knows she’ll stand by her decision until the day that she dies.
To her, tattoos are art. Tattoos are strength. Tattoos are part of her identity.
So if a girl gives you more than a one word answer when you ask her why she has ink on her wrist or ankle or hip — if she explains exactly what it means, why she got it, what goes through her head every time she looks at it — then you two must be close. She must really trust you.
Because when she tells you about her tattoo, she’s giving you a piece of herself. She’s exposing her soul. She’s cracking open her heart.
And that’s not something she does often.