First and foremost, to a specific elderly relative in my family and anyone else, I am not retarded for having tattoos. It is both annoying and hurtful that you keep calling me that.
No matter what you say, I will not and do not regret any of my tattoos. I love my tattoos and how I feel when I get them. Therefore, I am writing this.
I never saw myself as someone with multiple tattoos, yet here I am with six. Once the needle touched my skin for the first time and my eyes began to close, I found a new love. The feeling is addicting, but I’ll never become an addict. A body full of tattoos doesn’t seem like my vibe. Plus, tattoos are expensive, and I am very cautious about what tattoos I put on my body and where.
Every one of my tattoos has a meaning, and this is what they are, in chronological order of when I got them.
Location: left forearm
This was my first tattoo ever, which I wrote about. Since there’s a previous writing all about this tattoo, I won’t get into too much detail. When I was getting this done, the shading was going to put me in such a deep sleep; I was fighting to keep my eyes open.
Umoja means unity, one of my biggest values; it’s right up there with love, trust, and loyalty.
Location: left side of right ring finger
Remember when Selena Gomez executively produced 13 Reasons Why and she went with the cast to get tattoos of a semicolon? Well, I wanted to join the club since I am a suicide survivor. If you don’t know what the semicolon represents when it comes to suicide, I highly recommend checking out Project Semicolon.
This is the only tattoo where I wish I chose a different design. I wish it looked more like a semicolon and less like two random dots; you can barely see the little tail on the comma.
Location: right rib area
This is an unfinished tattoo.
The rose on the far left was done in Tennessee, and I distinctly remember the tattoo artist measuring how long it took by using music; it took three and a half songs.
After looking at it for a long while, I didn’t particularly like the way it laid, so I needed to figure out a way to add more roses. Since the artist went A-wall, I struggled with what to do. Then one day, I decided to combine my for love for travel & roses and started getting a tattoo of a rose in every state I went to (I need to go back to Florida & Georgia to get those). To make each rose unique, I ask the artists to come up with a design based on the original Tennessee rose and do their own interpretation of it.
From left to right: Tennessee, California, New York
Roses, specifically the yellow ones, are my favorite flower and are coincidentally the birth flower for June. I’m not a fan of my actual birthday (something about being born on a Thursday, on the 17th, on a day that sometimes becomes Father’s Day doesn’t sit right with me), but I love being born in June and having an excuse to celebrate my existence. There’s no sensible way to explain it.
Location: pointer finger on left hand
While I was in New York and getting my rose tattoo, I decided to get another tattoo. I wanted something that represented my smile because when it’s genuine, it’s one of the most beautiful things about me.
I told myself if I put something else on my fingers, it would have to be some form of punctuation to match the semicolon, so I decided to do a spin on :):
It trips people out because no matter which way you look at it, it’s a smile with a unibrow.
Also, I like to say it’s two peas in a pod. In the future, I’ll say it’s a permanent manifestation that I was going to meet the romantic love of my life (lol). For now, the two peas in a pod represent my sister and me. I have other siblings, but my sister is my only fully biological sibling; I love her to pieces.
Location: upper back of right arm
I got this when I really needed sleep; I wish I was kidding. I was emotionally distraught and beyond exhausted; I knew getting a tattoo had the power to put me to sleep, so I checked the funds and got another one. Best hour nap of my life; I still think about the puddle of drool I woke up in.
This is the most unplanned tattoo, but it’s also the one I get the most compliments from strangers on.
I would like to think I am a light in this world but in a unique way, so I chose an abstract sun instead of a traditional sun. There are multiple layers in the middle because there’s multiple layers to who I am; Jamilah is more than the Black girl with a friendly smile. The rays of the sun are different because I give out different parts of myself at different amounts to people.
Location: outer side of right wrist
Recently, I’ve had an influx of tattoos I started wanting, and I decided to combine them all in this tiny creation.
I wanted something that represents balance, hence it being a scale. Balance is so vital to my life; I need balance to take care of and support every aspect of myself, which is something I want to remember and continue to learn.
A combination of music & God saved, and currently saves, me from several situations…mostly emotional breakdowns, so there’s music notes to steer it from looking like a traditional scale. There are two different music notes to represent two different things, both doing with race and ethnicity:
1) Interracial love. I love when two cultures come together for the sake of true love.
2) Equality. All races and ethnicities and genders can equally exist on earth; this is the future I want for my kids.
Six tattoos later, and I’m satisfied. All the ones on my left side involve others, which is my stronger side, and all the ones on my right side are about me since I’m right-handed.
I don’t foresee myself getting another tattoo besides adding roses, but we all know I’ll write about it if I do.