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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's not an addiction, it's an obsession

"Wow, so is it true that tattoos are addicting?" This is another question that I get asked all the time. And at first, my response would be "YES, it is very, very addicting." But then people started asking "Why? What makes it addicting?" Um... because I like tattoos and they're pretty?... hmmm, I soon realized that my answers did not answer the question. So I really started to look at that initial question and analyze it. The first thing I did was look at the word "addicting."
When I think of the word "addiction," (without even looking at its true dictionary definition), I think of addictions to drugs, alcohol, food. And what these things have in common are the physical and psychological dependence on these objects. People's addictions affect their everyday lives. They need whatever it is they are addicted to every single day. They cannot go more than a few hours without it. If one were to take drugs away from a drug addict, there would be so much turmoil in that person's life. The withdrawals that this person has to go through physically and psychologically are tremendous. Without the drugs, their body craves it to the point where a person would steal just to get a small dosage., that is NOT how I feel about tattoos. So, lets actually look at the definition of addiction.
Addiction: being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
Okay, I do not see myself dependent on needing to get tattoos. And I do not find it habit forming. If I go for months without getting tattooed, I don't go through psychological withdrawals. Yes, I do want more and more tattoos... but I can function everyday without getting inked up. So being addicted to tattoos is, for me, definitely the wrong term.
All I knew was that I really, really loved getting tattooed. I save my money, I don't spend money on anything other than necessities in order to save more, and I'm always on the search for new designs or ideas for my next tattoo. Then I started think of this in terms of other things people save their money for because they love it. I thought about women who love shoes, men who love cars, people who love designer clothes... all these things are obsessions. Yes, that's the word that totally describes what I feel about tattoos. Obsession.
For the sake of making my point, I'm going to use women's obsession with shoes as my example. I know many, many women who LOOOOVE shoes. They can spend hundreds of dollars on one pair of shoes without batting an eye. They look for the designer name, color, size, how it makes compliments their outfit, if it makes their ankles look skinny... There are women out there with wardrobes full of shoes (top to bottom) . Even though some people may find this crazy, it is accepted. So I wonder, why should my obsession of tattoos be any different?
I personally don't understand why on earth anyone would spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes that go on your feet, will get dirty, and covers the lowest part of your body. I mean, when you great someone, they're first going to look at your face (or body), but definitely not your shoes. I honestly don't get it. And who cares who designed the shoe? Well, I guess only other people who are obsessed with shoes will.
But I realize that this is pretty much what other people think of when they think of me and my obsession with tattoos. "Why does she pay so much? Who cares about who does her tattoos? and on and on and on..." The only people who would truly understand where I am coming from are other people who are obsessed with tattoos... much like everyone who is obsessed with shoes understand each other... much like everyone who is obsessed with cars understand each other... People are willing to scrimp and save for their obsessions, they are willing to spend time researching their next purchase for their obsessions, they are willing to engage in heartfelt conversations with other people who share their obsessions... and most importantly, they are daydreaming about their newest addition to their obsession.
So when people say to me, "You are really addicted to tattoos, huh?" I've been responding, "It is not an addiction, it is an obsession. There is a huge difference." This usually gets people thinking, and I notice that this simple statement drives my point home.
One thing I will say about my obsession with tattoos versus other obsessions, is mine are permanent.. no one can steal them, they don't wear out, and I can show off every single one of my collection anytime I want. And I don't have to spend more money insuring my obsession in case they get damaged or stolen. Can you say that about shoes or cars?

1 comment:

  1. Different strokes for different folks. I still need to get mine thou