They're fascinating as well as individual. My tat means something to me. Both a time in my life wrapped in relationships. At 19 I got my first tat with my best friend, Laurie. It was a first for both of us and it was another form of bonding besides the friendship we'd created. Hers was a Celtic knot and mine line art that focused on the colors of creativity.
Years later I got it touched up and added to. It was another bonding moment, but with my brother this time. They are both very important people in my life. When people look at my tattoo, they don't know those things. And people that don't have ink don't really understand the significance of the time and the pain as well as the art left behind.
Some simply look at it as marking the flesh unnecessarily, or look at the future when our skin is older and will change, some simply think it's silly. But those of us that have been inked know it's something else. Something personal and something sacred. It might have been pure fun, marking a time and place, or even a way to remember someone that's passed.
So, the next time you sneer at someone with ink...think about that. There might be much more to the ink than what shows on the surface.