…If we must
I think I have been asked about my tattoos 5 times a day every day for the last 10years and sometimes I answer the questions. Sometimes I make funny Instagram videos which star my artwork and on the odd occasion I get really annoyed and wish everyone would stop being so obsessed with what I have done to my body *shakes fist* I find myself ready and poised to bat away the golden question, DEFLECTION ON 100! When it comes to the one thing that EVERYONE know (family included): How many tattoos do you have Yinka?
It wasn’t until a few days ago that I really took a step back and had a good look at myself in my bathroom mirror and had the stark realisation that I am *actually* covered in tattoos! I remember being about 7/8 and walking down the road with my mum and coming toward us was a man who had loads of tattoos and I remember thinking where the hell are his family?! I really wondered if he sat with his mum and dad, children even just covered like that eating Sunday dinner. Of course not right? He was jobless, wifeless and so on.. He had to be.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I am that guy, the person who little kids & adults a-like stare at.
I saw an old interview with Kim Kardashian saying that she wouldn’t get a tattoo because its like putting a bumper sticker on a Bentley. WHICH. WAS. RUDE. Not gonna lie I was somewhat triggered (I mean she isn’t exactly natural is she?) . But it also got me thinking; it really is different strokes for different folks isn’t it? Tattoos/ piercings/ whatever; these are all ways to modify the way you look.
I grew up in a semi-strict household and trying to guess what my mum would think or explaining how my dad attitude has slowly changed deserve a blog post of its own so I won’t go too far into that today but I know there will always be people who have something to say about it. I got over the fact that not everyone will accept me a while ago. I am in a position which is a little unique in that I have chosen to look this way, its all been carefully considered, stencilled and laboriously etched onto me. There’s no one to blame but me!
In a weird way it has forced me to have a little more integrity. I get offered jobs where all I have to do is wear a long sleeve high neck jumper in the height of summer or put make-up on my tattoos, which I tried once and felt like a damned fool. There is a very particular box that I fit in and I am ok with that, it is kinda up to me to break the walls, after all I did build them myself!
Someone asked if tattoos were addictive the other day and I said no. LOOOOOOL
With my chest, with a straight face, loud and clear and THEN I caught a glimpse of myself in that trusty old mirror…
They’re addictive. I admit it. I think I am proof of that, I don’t quite know when I became addicted but I can tell you it isn’t the pain that had me coming back over and over and it really isn’t the CONSTANT QUESTIONS I get from well-intentioned people who want to know what everything means! (spoiler alert most aren’t that deep)
I think the biggest thing I had to accept and understand when I realised that I was covered in tattoos was that moaning about the attention they get when I flaunt them online is a bit pointless. Especially when I put up an Instagram story every time I get a new one, I am opening myself up to comment right? (The answer is yes)
I have been thinking quite a lot recently about my tattoos and why I started getting them and why people go as far as to cover themselves in the way I have. I guess we could come up with all sorts of reason; rebellion, attention, liking pretty pictures. Each of these reasons is true for me, I started getting them when each one was special and meant something. And then people told me to stop: uh oh cue the rebel! And then I worked in a tattoo shop.
The one theme that rings true amongst all of these reasons is that these are my tattoos. The same way they are my eyes and my hands and my hair, these tattoos belong to me.
Im not offended when people want to know more, I have learnt to not to sigh when they ask for the meaning behind the the cat on my fore-arm (there isn’t one, not a deep one anyway. It isn’t symbolic of rebirth and resurrection as per a cats nine lives). I have a sick practiced routine where I laugh and quip about writing a book instead of doodling all over myself, a joke I have perfected over the years which goes something like “well if eeeevery tattoo meant something *insert your name here* I should really just get started on my memoirs shouldn’t I?!”Thing is I actually think I am done (I knooooow)
I first started getting inked 10 years ago and I am tired now. My aim wasn’t to cover every inch of skin I have but it also wasn’t to remain plain. I got one a few weeks ago and I am no longer on it, the pain is too much I give in. I YIELD! So this is probably the way I am going to look from now (of course excluding the ageing that is going to happen eventually)
So this post is dedicated to the people who really don’t understand why I have done this to myself: I don’t know how to explain. To the people who want me to get more (lol) and tho people who really don’t focus on them that much. I never really had a plan but I have also never said “I’m done” I just think my time has come, I have finally scratched the itch so to speak!
(My wicked sister @OlufemiPhotography took the pics and believe it or not I’m not actually naked!)
Oh and to answer your question: I don’t know, I can’t be bothered to count and for that I’m sorry x