Welcome to the 18th edition of ‘Gambier Ink!’ I decided to bring this feature into 2020 with a bit of a flare. I asked a few first-years about their tattoos and their possible significance. Completely by accident, I actually made a great argument for why 18 year olds should not have the ability to put permanent ink on their bodies. **Content warning: 3 out of the 4 of these tattoos are feet tats (completely accidental, I swear)… Forgive the borderline pornographic and obscene images I have attached.
I think a lot about the way that we modify ourselves as an act of agency and expression. My tattoo was a way of setting a reminder into my skin. The image synthesizes a recurring image in a few of my favorite poems. The two most important quotes:
Teddy Hannah-Drullard ’20
“My goal is to one day be covered in tattoos I’ve designed; right now I’m at two. This tattoo is the most recent—I designed it and got it done over Spring Break my sophomore year (I have no clue where the final drawing went, but I managed to find one of the preliminary sketches on my art account on Instagram). (That’s a plug.) Continue reading
Meredith Rupp ’19
“I got this tat when I was 18 and I had just graduated high school. My mom got the same one in the same place. The phases of the moon represent how she, I–we’re–both moving into different phases of our lives (ew) but how we always are under the same moon!”
Henry Williams ’19:
“I work at a summer camp called Hidden Hollow near Mansfield. I started going there when I was thirteen, and I was having a really fun week. But at the end of the week, there’s a dance. This was the fifth week of the camping season, so the last week. At this particular dance, what I didn’t know, is that everyone starts crying, literally everyone. Naturally I too started crying, and I didn’t understand why. But nonetheless, I was crying, and it was a weird, cleansing kind of crying. So at the end, I felt compelled to go to the program director of the summer camp, and I asked him, ‘Mr. Casy, why am I crying?’ which, in retrospect, is a really dumb question, but I still asked him. And he told me that crying is just the soul asking for water.Over the course of the next two years as a camper and being a counselor for four years now has grown to mean quite a bit to me. So on my third year on staff, Mr. Casy came back to DJ the dance. So after we put all of our kids to bed, I went up to him and asked him if he could explain this thing he said to me.
Laura Phillips ’19I got this tat the day I turned 18, mainly because it was the best rebellion my all-girls Catholic high school mind could fathom. My best friend and I, having the same birthday, met up at this mediocre shop in the center of Portland and told them to have at it. We gave them an idea of what we wanted, of course, but didn’t think about it long enough to have it truly mean anything.Fast forward to this past summer — I am living in a tent in the Sierra mountains, working maybe the worst job I will ever have, and, despite it all, growing in a way I never have before. This summer I learned about friendship and hardship and taking chances. This summer I learned about comfort and discomfort and the little things. This summer, I learned about love — of myself and of others — and the Sierras gave that to me.No, I did not know what this little mountain range on my wrist meant when I got it, but I sure do now.