Max Baker lifted his shirt to proudly display the starry tree tattoo on his side. To the unknowing, it might simply seem like a unique piece of art he chose from one of countless tattoo books in a shop.
But this 19-year old Castleton State College student’s tattoo has a special meaning.
“It’s the tree of Gondor from Lord of the Rings,” Baker said of the rib cage art work.
The tree is beautifully done, but has more meaning than being from one of his favorite movies.
“I used to go to my grandma’s house and see this book every time I went over,” Baker said.
His grandmother on his mom’s side passed away during his freshman year of high school.
He told the story of how he and his cousins all got tattoos to honor her, but he is the only one who didn’t get her initials.
“I’ll put them on some other time,” he said.
These days, teenagers like Baker are getting lots of tattoos, but not to be rebellious against society or their parents, but because they have true meaning to them.
And while some are used to memorialize lost loved ones, sometimes students say they are simply signs of who they are as a person
That’s the case for Kristi Luce, another 19-year-old freshman, and Mikaela Delia, an 18-year-old freshman.
Luce has a very realistic looking scorpion on her ankle. It has very smooth lines and the shading really makes it stand out.
“I got the scorpion because I’m a Scorpio,” Luce said, adding that her zodiac sign is meaningful to who she is.
“It’s little, but I love it,” Luce said.
Delia has two tattoos on her body. They are both crosses, one on her shoulder and the other on her ankle.
“My tattoos are a reflection of my strong Christian faith,” said Delia. “I know that whenever I look at them, I am reassured that I am here for a reason.”
The one on Delia’s ankle is the more artsy of the two. It is a cross with a peace dove perched on it.
“That one is mostly for me to view and that one is the one that I find the most reassurance from,” Delia said.
The tattoo on her shoulder is a simple bold, solid black cross.
“That one is more for others to see,” Delia said.
Delia has strong faith, but she also finds that crosses aren’t just for Christianity.
“They are also a symbol that everyone in this world has someone and something to live for because you are here for a reason. You just have to live your life to find out why,” Delia said.