Behind the ink

SHS students find tattoos as an important form of self-expression


Senior Kelly Schuette shows off one of her two tattoos on her left arm, one being a paw print of her dog, Nola.

Taking a quick glance at Senior Kelly Schuette, two tattoos sit on her left arm. Ones that she matches with her family. To Schuette, tattoos aren’t just symbols she gets for fun, it’s her form of self expression.

“It just represents who I am,” Schuette said.

In a time period where more and more people are getting tattoos, SHS students are getting their own tattoos to show who they are and bring their treasured memories with them throughout their lives.

The state of Indiana allows persons the age of 18 or older to get tattoos with their own consent. However, minors can get a tattoo only if they have a legal adult with them and give written consent, or they can get DIY or stick-and-poke tattoos.

Schuette has four tattoos and each of them hold sentimental meaning. Her favorite and most recent one being her dog’s paw print on the back of her shoulder.

“She’s the first dog that I’ve ever gotten attached to,” Schuette said. “She’s my best friend.”

A “love always” tattoo sits inside her forearm and is one out of three of a matching tattoo with her mom and sister. Just above the writing, on the inside of her wrist, is a cross that her entire family has, done by her brother and her first tattoo. Finally, on her ankle sits a rose.

Schuette’s mom and dad both have tattoos, and she mentions that she’s always found them interesting. These four tattoos definitely won’t be her last. The ink on her skin are bits and pieces of memories that she can carry on with her.

Junior Lexi Nix shows off her ghost tattoo in the hallway on December 16. She and her father got the matching tattoos together as a birthday gift for Nix. photo by Darcy Leber

Sitting on Junior Lexi Nix’s upper arm is a tattoo of a ghost with a fond memory of her and her dad. It’s the tattoo that they decided they should get to match with each other, a gift for Nix’s 16th birthday.

“We were like ghosts! Who has matching ghosts on their arms?” Nix said.

The only-a-couple-months-old tattoo on Nix’s arm is a black outline, while her dad’s version is filled in with ink, almost like a yin-yang design.

To Nix, tattoos are a way to customize your body, showing who you are. Her next tattoo, in memory of her grandmother, is going to be a butterfly, hopefully drawn by her grandfather.

Even though Senior Jazlyn Jackson considers her tattoos “dares” or “bets.” What they’re supposed to represent goes deeper. On her right wrist is a tattoo that she’d never even thought would be there. It’s a heart with the words “little sister” wrapped inside, matching with her big sister. This became a part of her when she was 14 years old.

“My sister thought it would be okay for me to get a tattoo, and I’m like ‘No, definitely not. Mom would never approve.’ And then she was like ‘If mom approves of it, you have to get it,’” Jackson said. “I called my mom and she was like ‘Yeah sure!’”

The other tattoo mirrors her right wrist except it’s a little bigger, joining Jackson when she was 15. This one was also considered a “dare,” however, they’re dedicated to her mother and father. Above that one, on the upper forearm, almost inside, is a beautiful flower tattoo with unique coloring. She decided to get it for her 16th birthday.

The next tattoo Jackson plans to get, this time won’t be considered a dare, is a tattoo dedicated to theater teacher Kimberly Roberts.

Her saying, “Theater is magic and magic is theater. Blessed are we to create that magic,” is Jackson’s next tattoo, planned to be inked in Robert’s handwriting.