Tattoos provide an outlet for FHC students to express themselves in a different way


Caroline Stevens

Senior Caroline Stevens’ butterfly tattoo is a recent addition to her collection of tattoos.

Senior Levi McKenzie’s connection to his dad’s side of the family is proudly and permanently displayed on his leg in the form of his family crest.

As many do, Levi chose to embellish his skin and embrace a piece of his heritage through tattoos. While there are countless different types, reasons, sizes, and subjects for tattoos, they often share one thing in common: some sort of story.

“My dad is Irish, so [the one on my leg] is his family crest,” Levi said. “We found it over the summer, right off of the port we were at, and I brought it to the tattoo artist to put on my leg. I have another on my arm, and that one is my last name in my grandma’s signature.”

[Tattoos are] fun because you can personalize them to what you want and I think that’s pretty cool.

— Caroline Stevens

When given the chance, Levi will always resort to tattoos of importance rather than a miscellaneous meaning. Understandably so, he considers these things deeply, and each tattoo will contain a special purpose for him.

This is very common among people of any age, and it makes perfect sense that one would want to be one-hundred percent sure of their decision before inking something into their skin forever.

Levi McKenzie’s family crest is shown on his leg.

“I don’t want to get tattoos that are random,” Levi explained. “I like having something on my body that’s related to my family; it’s related to my dad, and it means a lot to him. Same with my grandma’s signature [because] she died about four years ago, and she left her signature with us. I got that tattooed because she and I were pretty close, and it lets me still have a piece of her with me.”

Levi prefers the meaningful aspect of tattoos, but some people don’t have a preference. Junior Lydia DeWitt is a prime example of mixing meaningful and random into her assortment.

With a multitude of tattoos, Lydia expresses herself in her selections, uniquely combining her interests to her own liking.

“[I’m not sure why] FX or yearbook never talked to me about my tattoos,” Lydia said. “I have a bunch. I have my dog, ‘I love you’ in sign language, a low-volume sign behind my ear, Gumby on my ankle, and a goose on my thigh.”

As a person with this many tattoos this early in life, Lydia is fully aware of her choices regarding her tattoos, and she plans on getting more in the future.

While some hold a special place in her heart, some are, admittedly, randomly chosen and purely for fun.

Lydia DeWitt’s goose tattoo is on her thigh.

“My parents said that I had to get something that’s meaningful to me, so I just made up meanings for some of them,” Lydia said. “Obviously, the one of my dog is meaningful to me because she died, [but for the others] there aren’t super significant meanings. I just really like tattoos. I see myself getting a lot more random ones but also probably some with meaning.”

Like Lydia, senior Caroline Stevens also gets a variety of tattoos, some with and some without meanings.

“I have four [tattoos],” Caroline said. “I have ‘explanation kills art’ on my rib, a little snake, and then a butterfly and angel wings. The butterfly was for my grandpa, who died pretty close to my first birthday, so I feel like we’re connected, and I got that tattoo for him. The snake is to represent shedding off all the old stuff and bad energy, and ‘explanation kills art’ just basically means that you don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. The angel wings were just for fun.”

Caroline Stevens’ snake tattoo is on her rib.

For Caroline and many others, tattoos as a form of self-expression can help one’s mentality by serving as a reminder of what they’ve been through. How people choose to express that on their bodies is their choice entirely.

Caroline appreciates the meaning behind her tattoos but also recognizes that, as is inked on her ribs, she doesn’t owe anybody an explanation for her choices.

“I just think tattoos are fun,” Caroline said, “and I like to think of it as decorating myself. I probably will get some more that do have meaning, of course, but I’ll also get some that are just fun. It’s fun because you can personalize them to what you want, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

Everybody’s opinions on tattoos are different. Some may want only random ones, some want only meaningful ones, and some like a mixture of the two.

Junior Eva VanTil, personally, only gets tattoos with great significant value to them.

“I have two right now, and I’m getting another soon,” Eva said. “One of them is ‘you are enough’ in my mom’s handwriting, and it’s for her. The other one is two butterflies on my ribs, and then I’m getting another one that’ll be a flower on my wrist.”

Specifically, in Eva’s case and many others, her tattoos serve as special reminders for her in her everyday life.

Eva VanTil’s “you are enough” reminder is on her stomach/rib.

“When I was 15, my mom wrote me a ton of notes for my birthday,” Eva said. “ I found the one that said ‘you are enough,’ and that really meant a lot to me. She passed, and so I got the tattoo [in her memory]. The butterflies are for my grandma, because she just reminds me of butterflies, and the flower is the February birth month flower for my mom’s birthday.”

Since tattoos are permanent, it’s generally an extremely important decision to consider your choices before making a commitment.

“Tattooing is an art,” Levi said. “If you want something that you like and it doesn’t have meaning to you specifically, you can do that. It’s like going to an art museum and seeing art, but it’s on your body. If you’re debating on getting a tattoo or not, if it’s something that’s meaningful to you, do it without a doubt. If it’s more random, you should think about it and consider whether you’ll like it in the future before you do it.”