“Are you sure you want a tattoo? That’s gonna stay on your body forever!” – “Only criminals have tattoos.” – “That wouldn’t look very feminine.”
That’s what I heard when I was growing up about tattoos. Only “criminal” people or men would be tattooed. If a woman had one, she’d be a rebel, someone who isn’t feminine anymore. My grandparents also told me that the ink is poisonous and it would destroy my skin.
“Just imagine how “ugly” it would look when you’re old and wrinkly?”
But spoiler alert!
It isn’t poisonous. It isn’t a curse. It doesn’t make me any less feminine.
It might make me a rebel but I’ve always been one.
It isn’t just a “phase” that I’d regret later on.
My tattoos are part of me, of my personality and my values. They each represent parts of me and tell my story.
My tattoos inspire me daily because they remind me WHO I AM.
Remember: Own being a strong and independent woman!
When I was about 25 years old, I got my first tattoo. I’ve always wanted one but I also knew that I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be something that would mean something.
So, when I finally found the first motive I knew I needed to ink it on my body:
A symbolised “Wonder Woman”-Eagle that spreads its wings on my back between my shoulders.
When I showed this motive to the tattoo artist her reply was following:
“That’s a really heavy looking and manly tattoo for a girl on the back. Don’t you want a more filigree one instead?”
No, I want this! And I want it on my back.
I don’t care if it’s not “filigree” enough for a woman like me. Or if it doesn’t appeal to you personally. For me, it’s perfect. Because of what it tells me and what kind of feeling it gives me.
Why Wonder Woman?
Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Wonder Woman fan. I have mugs, comics, shirts, and all the other sneaky merchandise. I basically put all her grace and power onto me and force people to see it. Often this will make others to refer to me as “Wonder Woman” or they think of me whenever they see something about Wonder Woman.
Yeah, I basically connected Wonder Woman with me in the brains of my friends and work mates. Super sneaky, I know. Muhahaha ….
But being a big-ass fan and admirer of her wasn’t the only reason for me to get her symbols on my back. It’s more about what she represents:
Wonder Woman is a warrior who fights for love, justice, and truth.
She’s strong and independent but she also cherishes her friends and family. Sisterhood means the most to her and she would die for her sisters or to protect others.
She radiates confidence and strength. She would never back down or make herself small. Not for anyone. She stays true to herself and always tries to do the right thing. Even though it’s hard, she believes in love, herself and others.
What Wonder Woman taught me and keeps teaching me?
I remember when I first learned about her. She amazed me. I couldn’t believe that a woman could be all those things! I couldn’t believe that she was celebrated for her independence and strength.
When I was growing up, I’ve never had a strong female role model. I learned that as a woman you need to be pretty to be seen.
“Girls can’t fight. Girls can’t throw. Girls can’t drive.”
“You need to look pretty but don’t be too smart or confident. Be thin and dress well, but don’t be bold or too outspoken. Be nice and sweet, but don’t worry about success, finances or other ‘manly’ things.”
“Don’t be too demanding, too confident and for the love of the gods, don’t be too career-driven, because men don’t like that.”
But with all those “restrictions” and “labels” that were put on me as a young girl, I’ve always had the urge to prove them all wrong. I have two younger brothers and for a long time, I felt like I need to compete with them. That I needed to show the world that I can do the same things.
I can throw balls! I can drive! I can carry heavy stuff!
I can be like my brothers! I’m not ‘just’ a girl!
That ‘urge’ made me stronger but I lost the most important thing:
I thought I couldn’t combine my tough self with female attributes. For example that I can’t throw balls as far as boys, but still be feminine. Or that I can’t be as ambitious and demanding in my career as men, but still be feminine.
And then Wonder Woman struts into my life, showing me that you can do all that! That I can be a strong and independent woman.
So, I inked her symbols into my back to always remind me that I can be anything I want and still be a graceful and sexy woman.
I can be an amazon warrior princess who loves herself and embraces her own femininity.
Remember your roots, but embrace the journey of your life.
I started those “life”-rings on my arm about two years ago when I went to Canada. Because I wanted something that would remind me of my roots in Germany, Bavaria.
Oddly, I’ve always known deep down that I wouldn’t stay in Germany. That even though I feel extremely privileged to have grown up in this wonderful country, I know that this isn’t where I’m supposed to be. That’s not where I belong.
I’ve always had “Fernweh“.
That’s a German word that expresses the longing of being far away. It’s the opposite of homesickness.
My German roots with Brezeln and daisies
I wanted to honour my roots and the privilege of being a German citizen. So, I got my first tattoo ring in Munich, my self-acclaimed hometown. And it contains Brezeln and daisies.
Brezeln because it’s one of the best snacks in Germany and I love them. Especially my Canadian or international friends know that because I’m mentioning it a lot. A LOT. One friend recently told me: “Actually, I only want to visit Germany to tase one of those Brezeln you’re always talking about.”
Daisies because those are the flowers of my youth when I grew up in the region “Allgäu“. I always saw them and made daisy crones for myself. When I was in Canada, I noticed them in the grass and they made me think about the place I grew up.
It’s great to know your roots but nothing’s better than a good adventure. Once in a while you should go out there in the world and explore new things, like Bilbo.
My Canadian adventure with shells and maple leaves
Well, two years ago I went on my own big adventure. I finally had enough courage and confidence to turn my back on Germany for a while. I came to Vancouver, Canada, and I fell in love with the city, the ocean, and the people there.
Canada will always have a special place in my heart and make me feel fuzzy inside. I learned a lot about myself and was able to follow my passion, writing.
Shells because I loved being close to the ocean and listen to the waves. It was my happy place and I made great memories there. It also reminds me that life is full of ups and downs. A constant flow of waves on which you need to learn to ride or you drown.
Maple Leaves because … well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? I mean what better way to remember Canada than seeing a maple leaf on your arm? Also, I thought I already have daisies for Germany so maples would be a great addition.
I don’t know what kind of ring will come next but I can’t wait to add more “life rings” to my arm to remember important steps in my journey. And I also know the next adventure might be just around the corner.
Wherever I might land next, I’m gonna look forward to it and hope they have some good flora for a tattoo idea.
Talking about roots and the journey in my life, there’s another very important tattoo on my left shoulder that means the world to me. Even though it’s screwed up.
But that just makes it more beautiful and precious to me:
Remember you’re never alone
Yes, I have a siblings tattoo. The three little triangles symbolise my brothers and me. We’re three siblings (obviously!), I’m the oldest and therefore “my” triangle is filled.
I know it looks pretty screwed up and weird. The tattoo artist who did that made a mistake but to be totally honest with you, I absolutely love it. I mean, I’m screwed up and weird too.
So, why shouldn’t my triangle be as well?
My brothers have the same tattoos. The youngest has it over his heart with only the last triangle filled. The other one (the middle one) has it on his left biceps with the middle triangle filled.
We all wear it with pride and love.
But don’t get me started with how long it took us to find a motive. I suggested triangles before but my brothers didn’t like it. It was too “girly” for them. Funny enough with some time they finally agreed and now like this idea.
We’re the three musketeers
… except we have swords. And these cool hats. Or can fight … well, not so coordinated at least. But we live the “one for all, and all for one”-mentality.
Even though my brothers and me couldn’t be more different from our personalities and sometimes characteristics we love each other unconditionally and would do anything for each other.
When in rare moments I feel alone, I look at that tattoo and remind myself that there are also two idiots in this world who shared all their life with me and are there for me, no matter what.
So, these are my tattoos.
Well, not all of them but the most important ones and I’m sure there’ll be more to follow. I always have an idea in the back of my head that sometimes pops up.
But like I said, my tattoos are a part of me and my story. And as a storyteller myself it might not be surprising that I also writes stories on my body.
Or put in simpler words: Things to remember, tattooed on my body.