Why I’m Just That Into: Tattoos

Why I’m Just That Into: Tattoos

You may not know this or assume it from knowing or looking at me but, I have 7 tattoos.  Bring on the shocker face!

Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I have tattoos.  People who meet me are usually shocked to learn that I would do something so rebellious…which is funny because I really don’t consider myself THAT straight laced.  However, in my jobs and life I try to maintain a level of professionalism and tact and my tattoos were strategically place so that they could always be covered up.  I think my college students were most shocked to find out Ms. Hughey had tattoos.  It almost automatically meant I was cool and may be alright to get advice from.

My grandparents aren’t really wild about the idea of tattoos…and they never have been.  Now, I won’t tell on the family, but I am not the only one that has them…or the one that has the most.  Anyways, a few months ago I posted on Facebook about the urge to get another tattoo and my grandfather commented asking me not to.  I felt like this warranted a heart to heart conversation…so I sent him an email.

I wanted to explain myself and my reasons for branding my body.  Let’s forget about the fact that it’s taboo and a sign of rebellion.  Or that it makes you unique or “cool” to some.  Or the fact that it’s a trend or a fad that isn’t going away.  I didn’t just get tweety bird tattooed on my ass after a drunken night with my college buddies…these were well thought out, planned and executed works of art and statements of remembrance.  I needed him to know that.

Currently I have 7 tattoos in 4 locations.  Some are extensions of ones I did at one time and wanted to add to.  All of them have a meaning, they are all unique and they are all hidden.  With the exception of my foot which can be hidden when I choose to.  They all represent a time in my life where something changed or happened.  Things that I don’t want to forget.  They are like my timeline or permanent scrapbook.  When I am getting a tattoo…it’s a time of reflection for me and it’s almost soul cleansing.  They are a way for me to celebrate or move on from experiences but never forget them.  The pain associated with getting a tattoo is something you may not understand but sometimes…as bad as it hurts…it feels good even better.

I wanted to share them with you…check it out.

Tattoo 1 – The Tramp Stamp – For my 18th Birthday – With my Aunt Kim and friend Alexa

1First off, yes…yes I had a Face The Jury account…sue me.  Secondly, this is the original.  Drawn by a high school friend for me.  I wanted something unique, girly and with frogs and this is what he came up with.  I loved it.  I got it in Charlotte at Nikki’s Tattoo Studio.  I got it as a symbol of adulthood and turning 18…a new life and new beginnings of joining the Army.  

Tattoo 2 – The Hip – After Completion of Boot Camp – With my brother Jason and friend Kim.

I don’t have a picture of this one…mostly because it’s on a fatty part of my body and it’s not that unique.  It’s the Chinese symbol for Soldier and I got it in celebration of making it through boot camp and AIT.  This was a very special moment for me and Kim and I both got tattoos on our hips since we were best friends.  Lol yea, I haven’t seen her in…..10 years.  🙂

Tattoo 3 – Upper Right Shoulder – The week I deployed to Baghdad – My dad got the same one

Tattoo 5 – Upper Right Shoulder – After Leaving the Army – With Jacklyn

tat1 The first part is the sun and the moon which I share with my dad, his is on his shoulder too and looks a little different.  I got this at Camp Atterbury, Indiana the day before I deployed to Iraq back in 2003.  We had been there for 2 months waiting to get orders and there were all these rumors that we may just go home, then all of the sudden, we were leaving that weekend.  Dad didn’t miss a beat and he, along with Candra and her mom, drove up there in a terrible storm in order to spend literally 8 hours with me before I left.  In that time I wanted to do something to remember the moment and the journey I was about to embark on so the tattoo was it.  During the time I was deployed, and every since, my dad always says to me “If you ever need me, just touch your shoulder…I’ve got your back and I am always with you.”  THAT is powerful.  I have him and that memory everywhere I go.  

The cherry blossoms around it I got when I left the military in 2006.  Cherry blossoms represent a few things but the 4 things that appealed to me at that time was femininity (acceptance of my physical self as I am), the transience of life (ie changing from soldier to civilian), power (over my own life and destiny), and being a warrior.  It’s a reminder to be true to myself and that I am beautiful no matter what anyone says.  These were very minimally painful.  (BTW, it’s not blood on the napkin, it’s ink.)

Tattoo 4 – General Stars on my Foot – When I returned home from Baghdad – With Jacklyn

tat3This is the most powerful and painful tattoo I have.  I got it in 2004.  They are general stars for 3 soldiers we lost in our unit the largest one being a very dear friend of mine, my platoon Sgt, MSG Thomas Thigpen.  Before we deployed, Tom promised my dad he would look after me and he did.  When we were there, Tom was stationed in Kuwait and I was in Baghdad…a two day trip which he made every week to come and check on me.  He died of a heart attack before he was able to go home to his family.  The other star is for SSG Sloss who committed suicide when we got home from deployment and the 3rd was for SPC Stout who was killed in a helicopter crash on a mission in Afghanistan.  I heard a story once that if you die as a soldier you become a General in heaven, hence the General stars.  I got this in the most painful place on purpose because losing those 3 people hurt…bad…and I wanted to feel some different kind of pain to remember them by.  I know that probably sounds weird but when I look at it I don’t feel sadness…I am able to remember them as they were and the only pain I feel for them is the twinge of the needle in my foot.  It’s better that way.

Tattoo 6 – Frog Replacement – After my mother’s 1st cancer remission – With mom and Sharon

  tat2(1)                 IMG_20140408_095318_750

These shamrocks were added in 2010 after mom’s first cancer remission.  When I was overseas, mom found a shamrock, taped it to a piece of cardboard and sent it to me overseas for good luck.  Right after she found out she had cancer I was at a Jaycee event and looked down to see a whole patch of them so I picked some.  Every time she went into surgery we taped one to her with surgical tape for good luck.  Once she was well enough, we got a tattoo so that she would always have it with her when the cancer returned and I got two of them to represent her and I and our bond.  

Tattoo 7 – Sparrow above my 1st one – Celebrate our 30’s – Candra, Tia and I all have one

945790_10151596266778812_2097186560_nThis last piece was added this year.  It’s a black sparrow and it’s right above the heart in my 1st tattoo.  Candra, Tia and I all got one.  The sparrow represents undying love and commitment to someone.  These are my girls, my sisters, my “ride or die” type ladies.  16 years and going strong. 

Now I know…you may not agree with them or my reasoning…but I love my body art.  My dad calls them moving pictures.  🙂  I adore my stories and the pain it took to have these memories literally ripped into my skin.  Maybe something in here gave you a differing opinion…lol or maybe you think I am just a redneck hellion.  Either way…I appreciate you reading!

Do you have any cool tattoos/stories?  Whats your opinion of body art?  Share them in the comments!


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Just a 30 something southern girl living life as a “Fat Girl”. Learning to love and laugh more than ever and share the adventures that is her crazy existence! Blogging about dating, weight loss and acceptance, funny stories, quirky family, Greenville, SC and some fashion. Come hang out!

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8 comments on Why I’m Just That Into: Tattoos

  1. Megan Walker says:

    It’s great how you have used your body as a living memory book! I love that. I don’t have any tattoos yet, but the main reason is because I don’t have a tattoo which means enough to me to get on my body yet!

  2. Julie says:

    Wow, just read your piece about all your tattoos. I was in tears by the end. That is so beautifully written and I feel like I know you even more. And honestly it made feel totally different about tatoos for myself. You did a great job explaining yourself. And loved the honesty thru out.

    • Courtney says:

      Julie you know you were a huge part of that! I appreciate your comment. I think people think about the permanence of them but not really what they do for people to move on. You should come with me sometime to get one! It’s an experience. Love ya!

  3. I only have one tattoo, but I want a few more. Once I have the money for one, I’ll probably get my second. Mine’s a “Jesus fish” on my foot. I originally wanted to get it with “Philippians 4:13” on it because it represented the many times Jesus has helped me through really hard times in my life. But even without the scripture, it still reminds me everytime I see it 🙂 Thanks for sharing your tattoo stories! I was surprised:)

    • Courtney says:

      Madison love your tattoo. Ah money…lol if only I had money to spend on such foolish things I might be covered!

      I was probably more surprised that you had one dear. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

      • Haha! I get that a lot 🙂 I am hoping to get another one within the next two weeks! I want to get two in one sitting, but don’t think I’ll be able to drop the cash for both.

        • Courtney says:

          Man I am wanting another one SO BAD! I don’t know why your comment made me think of this but when I went to get the one on my foot (one of the most painful places) there was this like 6 ft meat head guy in there. He came in all bad-ass like he was about to single-handedly save the world by showing how tough he was by getting his first tattoo. SO I observed this guy acting like a total tool to everyone. He was getting the superman symbol tattooed across his shoulders…one of the easiest places. Anyways, he passed out about 20 minutes into it. Lol when I got finished and he was awake…I walked over to him and said “Hey, if you’re gonna get superman tattooed on your back…you need to make sure you’re man enough to handle the pain first.” It was like one of the greatest moments. 🙂