Students at The University of Southern Mississippi truly wear their hearts on their sleeves. It’s a way to mark who they are and what makes them unique.
I remember my senior year of high school and the summer before I started college, I saw many of my friends getting tattoos to mark the new chapters in their lives.
Christian Barker, a sophomore political science major, got a tattoo to make light of something he has lived with his whole life.
“My second and third toes on my left foot are webbed,” Barker said. “I got scissors and a dotted line tattooed on them,” Barker said.
Barker’s tattoo is an interesting way to shed light on things which people might be ashamed of. Tattoos can be a good way to make a person feel more comfortable in his or her body.
Some people also use tattoos as a dedication to beloved family members. Amanda Ladner, a sophomore media production major, designed her own tattoo and dedicated it to her father.
“It’s ‘agape’ in Greek, which is used in Scripture and means a perfect, separate love or a father’s love,” Ladner said. “It’s surrounded by a dandelion that looks like it’s blowing in the wind with seven pieces flying off. The dandelion is the military brat’s flower, and my dad is in the Air Force. Each piece flying off represents one of his deployments he’s taken in my life.”
Marcos Quinto is no stranger to dedicating his body to the people he loves. With tattoos decorating each foot, each arm and a section of his chest, each piece represents something that is extremely important to him.
The piece that means the most to him is the work-in-progress on his right arm. It is meant to be a metaphor for his life. It starts with a skull, to represent death, stuck to an hourglass, to represent time. They are being sucked into a wormhole and on the other side is a fetus. The wormhole signifies change, and the fetus means life.
“It shows how God can take some terrible things and transform them into something beautiful,” Quinto said. “I also have an owl there that is meant to represent my grandfather. I loved him dearly, and he was one of the wisest men I ever knew. The owl’s eyes are even the same color his once were.”
While some people may say that tattoos are a phase of rebellion, some college students feel that they are a way to carry around a piece of their life for constant comfort. Barker, Ladner and Quinto have all kept their body art in discrete places that can be easily covered up for professional affairs, but where they are located have no impact on the deep significance that they bear.
Body art may not be a fit for everyone, but for others it can be something memorable and close to their heart.