By Jennifer Lima
Have tattoos gone from something that separates a person to something that helps them fit in? It seems that what used to be uncommon and frowned upon is now on every body part- everywhere you look. Although tattooing has been around for ages, it has never been as popular as it is today.
Some might find the process an unnecessary pain, while others see it as a form of self- expression. It has been said that tattoos tell the story of a person's travels, of where they have been. For centuries many cultures have used tattoos as war paint, symbols of loyalty, records of personal history and even statements of freedom.
Contrary to popular belief, tattoos are not only hip with the younger generations, but with a variety of ages from college students to government officials. "I've even tattooed whole families with matching tattoos," said Yarino Argote, a local tattoo artist at Marked for Life.
While some painted people have no deep meaning behind their body adornments, most have a special attachment to theirs. George Diaz, a 19-year-old electrician said "I have a cross on my back that I got recently; I chose a cross because it symbolizes my faith and my faith has never let me down" A number of breast cancer survivors are also choosing the tattoo route. The women, who have had their breasts completely removed as a result of breast cancer, have used tattoos as part of the healing process - turning scars into things of beauty.
Could the tattoo's currently popularity be rooted in the knowing that they might not be permanent? New laser technology allows for a change of heart and the erasure of a once "permanent" tattoo. Although it seems unlikely, many choose to cover up a previous tattoo with a new one. The removal process is costly, but there are people who go "under the laser."
The laser used in removing tattoos is known as a "Q Switch Laser," that is said to be up to ten times more painful than the tattoo itself and can take several months, even years to be completely removed. Once healed, no discoloration or evidence of a tattoo is left behind.
Tattoos have become not only a form of expression, but also a way of life; and like everything in life there are always consequences. Tattoos can be safe as long as the equipment being used is sterile and the tattoo-ee takes good care of it during the healing process.
Besides that, the only bad thing about tattoos is the pain incurred - and perhaps the judgments people will inevitably make, although a book should never be judged by it's cover.