Celebrating 18 with tattoos and piercings


Photo by Ishani Tyagi

Senior Ishani Tyagi’s new stomach tattoo is of her bedroom window. Tyagi said, “I got my tattoo to be of my bedroom window since it’s a source of calmness and I also wanted to have a piece of my room on myself forever.”

The Big 18: The number for many that signifies freedom, a long-awaited rebirth and the ability to finally take control of their lives. For Patriots, turning 18 calls for a complete identity reformation—in the form of tattoos and body piercings.

Teenagers are drawn to the aesthetics of tattoos and find them visually appealing. They may want to get tattoos to enhance their appearance or showcase their values and personal beliefs through their body art. Recently, senior Josh Erd got inked up on his 18th birthday with the words `”Veni Vidi Vici” tattooed on his arm, meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered” in Latin. The phrase is popularly attributed to Julius Caesar to describe a victory, but for Erd, his tattoo “is just a reminder to myself that if I put my mind to something, I can get it done. It’s like standing motivation for my past,” Erd said.

Likewise, a tattoo could serve as a symbol of something significant to a person’s life, such as a milestone, an important object or a loved one. Recently, Patriots have begun to get tattoos to honor the things that resonate most to them. Senior Ishani Tyagi got a tattoo of her bedroom window on the right side of her stomach as soon as she turned 18. Tyagi said “It looked really cool and I’ve always wanted [a tattoo] since I was about 12,” Tyagi said.

She got a tattoo of her bedroom window since it’s a source of calmness to her. “It’s kind of hard to put in words, but when I’m stressed, I like to remind myself that the view from my window will always be virtually the same, no matter how bad I screw something up,” Tyagi said.

Like tattoos, piercings have served as ways of self-expression, social acceptance or honoring cultural or religious practices. Many Patriots may spring toward piercings as they are typically not permanent and can be easily removed if a person decides they no longer align with their values and wish to remove them. Whether it be a new nose, ear or belly piercing, it’s no doubt newly turned adults might opt for piercings to differentiate themselves as they enter this new chapter of their lives. Senior Naba Syed got three new gold piercings on both of her ears recently. “I initially got them because I felt they looked nice, but I soon learned how piercing my ears holds cultural significance,” Syed said. “Mygrandmother would always be pleased when I got another one because they reminded her of how the women in her village would wear earrings”.

This alternative way to celebrate a new age may be a safer option, as seniors like Syed said feel they do “prefer piercings over tattoos” and are not sure if they would get one yet. Likewise, senior Isacc Muffett, adorned in various silver piercings said, “I’m not old enough to get tattoos, but I’d rather get piercings anyway because they are more visible and a good way of expressing yourself.”