DIY Tattoos are Sticking Around

Submitted by Zoe Young on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:42 - 0 Comments
      In most situations, teens would avoid stabbing themselves repeatedly with needles. Stick N’ Pokes are the exceptions to this norm. 
      These tattoos are an ancient form of body art that is now a trend in our nation. They  were first seen on Egyptian women who used wooden handles with sharp points to permanently mark their bodies. In addition, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Native Americans, Peruvian, and Chilean cultures have also been found to have tattoos of all sizes across their bodies and faces. 
      While one can get these tattoos done by a professional, many teenagers opt for a DIY version that involves a needle and ink. Stick N’ Pokes are convenient and inexpensive, making them easily accessible to students. Although there are a lot of misconceptions about the tattoos (as teens do not have accurate information about them), there are many students at Lincoln, ranging in ages from 14 to 18 year olds, who have them.
      Sophomore Sarah Blodgett got hers freshmen year when she was 14 and 15. She has four tattoos, two of which hold special meanings. One of the tattoos is a cross on her left hip. Blodgett reveals that she got the tattoo because she values her “religion and spiritual part of self”. 
      Another, is a kitchen knife on her shoulder. The knife has a deep significance to her as she “struggled with self harm through middle school” that eventually put her in the ER. Blodgett declares that “it is there as a symbol of overcoming that fear and persevering through it”. She received this one on the Lincoln field by a friend. 
      She also has 3 tiny dots on the inside of her left ankle and a match on her right ankle which she got for aesthetic purposes. A few of these she even gave to herself. 
Blodgett, like many others, is under the impression that they will fade away, and says she  “was more inclined to get one once [she] learned that they would eventually disappear” and that she won’t be sad when it does, although 90% of time she loves them. 
      Emma Gurcan, another sophomore and friend of Blodgett, also received hers on the Lincoln field. Hers is a music note on her ankle. She's been playing piano for 11 years and is so happy with the tattoo that she “will go over it in real ink” if it starts to fade. 
      Like other students, Gurcan used clean equipment, but she took a huge risk because she had an autoimmune condition when she got it. This prompted an angry response from her parents when they found out about her tattoo during a water polo tournament. She declared that the anger was not because of her having a tattoo, but because of the risk she took. 
      Junior Dilara Balkan got hers last summer when she was 16. While her tattoo has meaning, she got it in a moment of spontaneity at a camp in New York City. She received it from a stranger in one of the dorm rooms. Balkan said that “a lot of trust was involved….but the girl made me bleed”. 
      She was nervous about being caught, but the idea of infection did not worry her as they used clean equipment. The tattoo reads “602”, which is the area code of where she was born. Balkan does not really know why she got it, and jokingly quotes that it was just a “frigid wind of teenage rebellion”. Her parents do not know about the tattoo and she is determined to keep it that way.
      Tattoos are a form of personal expression, but when all a person needs is a needle and ink to permanently mark themselves, there can be  dangers. 
      They can be given anywhere: under the bleachers, on the field and even in your own room. A female junior at Sunset High School gave herself a tattoo, then immediately decided she did not like it and attempted to scrape the ink out from her skin. Because these tattoos are often not given by professionals and happen spontaneously, there is the risk that one might not like their tattoo. A junior at Lincoln was under the impression that his tattoos would disappear entirely after two years. Although stick n’ pokes can fade after time if the ink is not pushed deep enough into the skin, they will never completely disappear.
      Teens often understand the risks that tattoos pose and do what they can to use clean materials. Students can also make sure to do the proper care routine to prevent infections. Although to ensure this, the tattoos should be given by a professional. 
      Lincoln High School is a generally supportive place that encourages individuality, but sometimes the way people express themselves comes with a risk. While stick n’ pokes are not always consented by parents or done in safe environments, they are an outlet for teens. Although no one can control what people do to express themselves, we suggest avoiding face tattoos and dirty needles. 

About the Author

Zoe Young's picture

 She is the production manager for Beyond The Flock. In her free time she enjoys swimming and watching tv.

Class of 2019