Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

NAMI Blog - “Why Do Y’all Have Tattoos?”


By Simone McKitterick, NAMI Intern

The 2014 NAMI National Convention was an amazing, surreal experience. For four days, people from all over the country came together to educate and learn about mental illness. The entire conference was a smorgasbord of options; from panels on the latest updates in schizophrenia research to exhibits with titles like “Bipolar Girl Rules the World!” Yet, as fascinating as many of the lectures were, the thing that really intrigued me was the conversations people were having with each other. Ordinary people were coming together to communicate for many reasons: education, concern and curiosity.

One of the most profound experiences I had was completely unexpected. I was looking at a booth on borderline personality disorder, when a man came up to me and started talking. He was there because his daughter has borderline and he wanted more information. I told him I had borderline and I’d be happy to answer any questions I could. He had one:

“I don’t meant to be rude, but why do y’all have tattoos? I’m what you might call “old-school,” and I don’t really get them. My daughter has a bunch of them all over her. Is it a Borderline thing?”


That’s great to hear!
There is a huge line between the “old school” -no tattoos, my parents) and Those with tattoo’s.
My mom just can’t understand why anyone (including me) would deface their body with something so permanent. She keeps asking the question "why would you want that?"
I like to tell her “because you guy’s don’t”


I have wanted a tattoo for about 10+ years. Keep saying this year…

My daughter has several so I tend to be fairly open about them. As long as it’s not an impulse tattoo and has meaning.


I got my first tattoo in 1995 as a dare from my sister-in-law who wanted to be the first in he family to “step out of line” with traditional snottery of a woman must never disfigure her body type mentality.
I impulsively said sure!! i have one brother chuck full of tattoo’s (biker man) so it was no big deal, but told her give me a week to think about what I would want permanently on my skin to look at forever.
I had to think long and hard what would have meaning for me in 40+ years if I was still around?
Then it came to me, a drawing of a little girl reaching for the moon and stars that I drew in the 3rd grade. It was for a story I wrote about me, and how I was always bullied by by brothers, but the moon and stars were always there every night for me without fail. Naturally I got teased by my brothers who thought it was the stupidest thing they ever read.
It was forever imprinted on me, and everytime I look at it, it makes me happy because after all these years, the moon and stars are still there for me every night.


Whatever you do, don’t buy a cheap tattoo. Put some money in it and get something that looks good. My only regret as far as tattoos go is that I was a cheap ass and got poor quality tattoos.


If you know what you want, and where you want it, I think do it Barbie! I have 2 tattoos. One I got many years ago, and recently had some additional artwork added to enhance it. The other I got to commemorate and celebrate my cancer survivor status.


that is a beautiful story.
take care


i have numerous…small …large…but they all mean something.
people have regret about tattoos when it is done on a whim…or fashion…or trend.
tattoos are cool…i really like mine…and am in the process of getting many more.
if you do decide try ’ super numb ’ tattoo cream, it is meant to be good.
go to the best tattoist…do your research.
take care


I regret my tattoos. No other way to put it, that’s the way it is. I wish they washed off in the shower.


Boss; de plane, de plane!


I’m sorry? I don’t understand your post.


It’s a phrase from a popular TV show from the seventies. The show was called “Fantasy Island”. It starred a famous Latin actor named Ricardo Montabaln as “Rourke” and an actor named Herve Villashe who was a “little person” as “Tattoo”. As the opening credits ran each week it would show a clip of Tattoo saying, “Boss, de plane, de plane. He was trying to say,” The plane, the plane", but he had a french accent. It became a catch-phrase in popular culture.
Sorry, kind of an obscure reference.


I just don’t want one really.

It seems stupid in such a situation.