Nowadays, it seems like everyone has tattoos, some more than others.

Growing up in various neighborhoods throughout Southern California — it was quite normal to see people with ink marks on their bodies; it was mostly common among the men though. Many of them had earned their ink while serving time in the penitentiary; others had tattoos to show gang affiliation.

As a young lad I learned tattoos had to be meaningful as well as earned — just like the Aztec Warriors had to earn theirs during the Meso America era. Earning the right to get tattooed meant you had to land in prison and continue committing crimes while incarcerated in my community. Or, you had to be a member of a street gang.

When I was growing up, women with visible tattoos were typically stereotyped as junkies, winos or prostitutes; it was somewhat taboo for women to have body art.

Getting a visible tattoo just to look cool could earn someone a physical beat down in my neighborhood, and it could well jeopardize that person’s existence.

Also, having visible tattoos can minimize your chances of landing a job. Many employers ideally prefer people with no tattoos.

In present time, many people have fallen into the fascination of having at least one tattoo. Others have been influenced by music artists or professional athletes.

Many people claim that the tattoos they exhibit on their skin carries a symbolic meaning; but a lot of times, or even after a few years or months, they become meaningless ink marks that were done at a tattoo parlor. I have met different people from different age groups who say they regret getting a tattoo.

I personally dislike tattoos; however, I don’t look down at anyone who has them. It makes me feel special that I could proudly say I’m ink free. I can consider myself unique because I have no tattoos in a time that’s saturated with people who exhibit meaningless body art.

People must take into consideration all possible disadvantages when getting a tattoo. They must also realize that by getting a tattoo they’re becoming part of subgroup that hasn’t been fully accepted in today’s society.