My Tattoos: Meanings & Why I Get Them

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

I was definitely always destined to have ink on my body at some point. I was fascinated with tattoos as a kid, and in high school I would constantly have doodles or lyrics on written on my arm in marker. It's a wonder that I never got ink poisoning as a fifteen year old (trust me, my teachers were concerned.)

I was sixteen when I got my first ever tattoo done, and I still don't know how my parents agreed to it. I got plenty of the usual "You're going to regret that when you're older" remarks from adults that had never had any ink done themselves. I've always replied politely and laughed them off, mostly because no one can ever understand the deep meaning behind some of them like you do. They're very personal and it's always been my opinion that matters most. It is, after all, my body that we're talking about. My parents always respected that it was my decision and I love them for it.

Not all of my tattoos have incredibly deep meanings, some represent times in my life or hold memories, while having aesthetic appeal at the same time. I have nine in total so far, and will probably be getting more at some point. I completely respect that they aren't for everyone, but I happily show mine off when I can. I always love talking to other people who have had some done. We can relate to one another's pain and there's always a mutual respect that forms between us.

I love getting tattoos because it means I get to have art on my body. It's also my way of documenting times in my life that I can look back on and remember what I went through. I'm gonna be that old lady in the rest home that will make people go, "wow she must have been wild in her day!" I never get worried about what they will look like in the future, they will probably make me smile at remembering my younger days. I can use them to tell my grandchildren stories as well. I'm more likely to regret not getting them done, so whenever I fall in love with an idea, I have to just go for.


The tattoo that started it all! I only just turned sixteen when I flew to Auckland for the concert I had been so desperately waiting for, My Chemical Romance. Fifteen was not a good age for me. At all. When school began that year, we had every adult trying to tell us how important these years were and that it was time to grow up. They put so much pressure on us that I felt lost and ended up getting quite depressed. I had a lot of issues that year, but one thing that pulled me out was MCR. A very wonderful friend of mine at work had introduced me to them and I started blasting their music constantly. It was the only thing making me happy for quite some time and I felt like they saved me in some way. 
Their concert was so memorable and emotional that I wanted to get a tattoo immediately to remember them. I wanted to remember what I had been through and it felt right to get their initials. No one apart from my friends really understood the meaning, which was okay. I can honestly say that almost ten years later I do not regret getting this done. 


Thank you for the venom 
Merci Pour Le Venin 

The meaning for these two is pretty much the same as I described above. I got them about six months after my MCR ankle one. The first line is a song from their second album and the idea behind it always made sense to me. The second line is written on the inside of their very first album and means the same thing, but in french. It was done in my own handwriting, which looking back on I'm really glad we did.


I'll be honest, I saw a photo of this one on Pinterest and just loved the simple geometric design. Sometimes these ideas just stick in my head and I have to see them through. I was twenty-three when I got this and it was how I found the amazing studio I go to now. Each arrow does represent a member of my family (Mum, Dad, brother Josh) because they always keep me flying in the right direction. I got a lot of comments from people asking if I was a Sargent in the army. Nope! It's just a chevron that I thought looked cool.


I've always loved the way that sailors would get tattoos on their journeys around the world, almost like their bodies were journals. They would often get a swallow on one arm at the start of a voyage, then get another swallow on the other arm once they had reached it's end. After going through my quarter life/existential crisis and had come to terms with this thing we call life, I got my swallow done to mark the beginning of my own journey. 


I actually got this feather done at the same time as my swallow, and it did not hurt as much as you'd think. The meaning for this one is simple: It's for the Grandmother I never met, but have always needed. I didn't grow up with affectionate grandparents like a lot of people. My grandfathers were both true Kiwi men in their "I keep my feelings to myself" ways, but I adore them both and admire them for what they've done. My other Nana had a lot of her own issues and so we didn't come into her radar very much. My Mum's mother, however, was just like my loving, caring, family-orientated Aunt that I adore. She died when my Mum was eight, so she missed out on a lot of precious time. My feather is for her and the hopes I will meet her one day. 


My jaguar is by far the biggest tattoo I have and it took three hours to complete. I got it done for my birthday last year, which had been quite an emotional roller-coaster for me. It was my reward for growing stronger as a person and becoming myself. I also grew a fascination with jaguars and after seeing one in the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C, I thought they were the most beautiful animals. I wouldn't recommend a rib tattoo that has straight lines to anyone, but the pain was worth it. This is probably my favorite piece I've had done.


When we went to Hawaii the first time, me and my brother talked about getting a tattoo done there. It had very quickly become our happy place and holds a lot of happy memories for our family. It's my favorite place in the world and I wanted to always remember my time there. I managed to find an incredible artist, Steven Lam, from Working Class Tattoo. He has his own studio and his designs just mirrored what I wanted, like his brilliant line work. I'm still in love with my wave, and the placement is perfect.


My latest addition! I've been dying to get a bicep tattoo done all year and I finally settled on getting a lion's head done. I gave my artist a few simple pictures and he added in all of the amazing details. I got this one done for my Mum. She's become my best friend over the past few years after we've bonded over our running journey. Her star sign is a Leo and she's the one that always inspires me to be better and pushes me to do more. I wouldn't be who I am without her, so a lion with a crown suits her well.

What are your thoughts on tattoos? Do you have/want any?
Steph x.


  1. I love this post - I love hearing about and looking at other people's tattoos. I've got two but I've got another booked in for next year and I can see myself getting more after that too. Thanks for sharing!

    JH |

    1. Thanks! I love hearing about tattoos as well. Aw exciting! They're so addictive right? One is never enough lol
      Steph x.

  2. I love this!!! I have always admired tattoos and the amazing artists that do such incredible jobs on peoples bodies! I love shows like Miami Ink as I just watch in awe! I always wanted one when I was a teenager, like you with My Chemical Romance, me and Luc always talked about the Good Charlotte tattoos we would one day get. Now we are older I'm not sure about actually getting one only because I hate needles and am scared of the pain, oh and also because I think I would be too fickle when it comes to a design I love. :p If I was brave enough in the future though it would definitely be something related to Italy and Nanna and Grandad! I love all the meanings behind yours Steph! :)

    Kelly x |~ SweetIsAlwaysInStyle || Lifestyle Blog ~

    1. Aw thanks Kelly! That's fair enough, it can be pretty scary. I just forget to think about how much it's going to hurt and just get caught up in cool designs. It's a good idea until things gets started and I remember the pain part! That sounds like a lovely idea :) if you ever decide to go for it, I'll be here to help!
      Steph x.

  3. I LOVE all of your tattoos!! I hate when people give that snide "you'll regret it when you're older" remark. You don't know me well enough to know how I'll feel about something! And right, they don't always have to have a meaning. Some just look cool! I love your sparrow and I've wanted a bird tattoo for a while. I love the look of the flock of them, so maybe one day.

    I have a Phoenix/Lotus Flower on my ribs, so I feel your rib pain slightly. Mine isn't nearly as elaborate as yours is so I can even imagine how much of a struggle that must have been. Mine took about 45 minutes and I was definitely done at that point! The weirdest part was when they would work on my actual rib bone and it felt like my entire skeleton was shaking in my body lol It was such a bizarre feeling!! I think my next one is going to be Expecto Patronum in script on my wrist. I'm obsessed with wrist tattoos and that is my absolute favorite Harry Potter spell and I love what it represents!

    Katie |

    1. I'm so glad you get it! It gets frustrating when people think you're stupid and get tattoos for no reason. I've seen some beautiful flock of birds tattoos around, you should go for it!
      You're rib tattoo sounds beautiful! I was debating a lotus flower one for a while myself. Haha yeah, I'm glad you understand how tender the ribs can be for it. 45 minutes is still a decent amount of time, that would have felt so weird on the bone! Worth it though, right? Oh I love that idea for a wrist tattoo!! Go for it!
      Steph x.

  4. Wow these tattoos are amazing! I love your latest addition on your bicep- the detail is stunning! I don't think everyone regrets their tattoos as they grow older, I feel they are apart of you and your story! Lovely post :)

    My Lovelier Days

    1. Aw thanks so much Diana! I feel the same, my tattoos help make me who I am. I couldn't ever see myself without them now :)
      Steph x.

  5. Love this post and hearing about other people's tattoos and why they got them. Love the style you have and some of the meanings are really interesting, April x