Tattoos have been around for a very long time. Their meaning and social acceptance has changed widely over time. They have been used for religious reasons, as sacred art, as punishment, as marks of rank, amulets and talismans, and marks of outcasts.
In some cultures, tattoos are taboo or have negative connotations. In some cultures they are a way of marking stages of life. Tattoos can be controversial.
Tattoos are permanent (or at least difficult and painful to remove). I have four tattoos and each one took deliberation. Spur of the moment decisions are not bad, this is just how I feel about them. I have decided to mark my body and tell my story to the world. Tattoos invite conversation, they are a visible representation of a story that you have to tell. They can be a proclamation of allegiance, a memory, one's history. I have tattoos that are visible for all to see and ones that I only show to a select few. The ones that are visible are statements about myself. They are abstract conversations with the world. They are my reminders of hopes and promises.