I don’t have any tattoos anywhere on my body. However I know exactly what I would get if I were to ever change my mind. Since I was a teenager “the burning boy” is an image that I had set as my tattoo of choice. It is from the album cover of one of my favorite bands, Bad Religion. I would remove the “crossbuster” logo from the back of his shirt.
The reason that the burning boy resonates with me is that it represents a feeling that I always want to have. It’s not the searing pain but rather the idea of being “on fire” with passion. The things that I have been on fire about have changed throughout the years. In high school it was soccer and girls. In college it was soccer and travel. In my adult life it has been soccer, my family and helping people.
So if I’ve known for years what tattoo I would get, why have I not gone through with it? There are many people walking around with tattoos that did not put 20 years of thought into the “ink”. There are two reasons that I have never gone to get this tattoo done.
The first is that I don’t want my wife to have to look at it. I’m sure that I’ll get some comments about being whipped or something like that. However I respect my wife very much and the ways that my decisions have an effect on her life. I don’t have to look at myself very often. She does, so I know it is something that would not improve me for her.
The second is even more important. I’m already wearing it. The reason I don’t need the ink on my skin is because it goes even deeper. It penetrates into my bones and goes down into my heart. Inside there is a burning boy that people see every day. Perhaps people see a slightly different representation when they see me but the basic idea should be the same. I want people to see the tattoo that I have put on myself. Rather than paying an artist to put a skin deep impression on me to have people know who I am. I need to show people through my actions and attitudes who I am. I’ve tattooed myself as we all do. Although the Chinese character that you’ve put on your arm may say “peace” or “serenity”, it’s not worth the price of the ink if that’s not the message you put into the world through your actions.
So tattoo yourself. Put the ink of your daily actions out into the world for everyone to see.
Keep being you people!