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16 Tattoo Stories That Will Inspire You To Get Inked

We asked BuzzFeed staffers to tell us the stories behind their tattoos.

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"This is my most recent tattoo and the biggest of them all. I had been wanting to get a Hamsa for the longest time but was waiting to find the perfect artist that could pull off the detail I wanted on it. The Hamsa is used in many religions and it's believed to protect you from evil/bad energies. I think we all need some extra protection from time to time so I have this kickass tattoo to protect me day in and day out." —Conz Preti


"There are four Rebolini siblings and we're all close in this beautiful, annoying, and honestly probably alienating kind of way. It hasn't always been the case — there are about four years between each of us, right now ranging from the youngest at 19 to the oldest at 32 — but as we've all kind of settled into our adulthood, our closeness has become more obviously important in our daily lives. We knew we wanted to get linked tattoos and settled on the suits of a deck of cards right before the youngest, Dylan's, birthday, and were so excited that we actually tried to talk/con our way into getting it done even though he wasn't 18. We all got ours, but when it was Dylan's turn to get in the chair, the tattoo artist was not buying it. So he was the odd one out for a few months. Now he's the odd one out because his (the club) is bigger than all of ours, but it works. He's kind of biggest in character, anyway." —Arianna Rebolini


BuzzFeed / Joel Greengrass

"I have a 'Team Greengrass' on my right bicep — it's my family's multiple sclerosis charity. I was diagnosed with MS eight years ago. My family, led by my wife Carla and oldest daughter, Aly, made the decision to becomes advocates for MS. Through MS runs, walks, rides, climbs, and mud runs, Team Greengrass has raised over $150K for MS!" —Joel Greengrass


BuzzFeed / Lara Parker

"Harry Potter was my best (and sometimes only) friend growing up. The stories had such an impact on me. No matter what happens in my life, I can always count on Harry Potter to make me feel at home again. This tattoo, as stereotypical as it is, represents the bond that I have with these books that will never be broken.


ALWAYS? Always." —Lara Parker



BuzzFeed /Emmy Favilla

"There's an Italian espresso maker and cup of coffee tattooed on my side. I'm an Italian-American with a father who was born in Italy, so these little stovetop espresso makers were a prominent feature in my childhood! As a tiny tot, I used to get super excited about helping my dad grind coffee beans in this old manual coffee grinder before he'd make espresso, and they also remind me of big family gatherings and my grandparents having people over for desserts and coffee. It's both an ode to my dad and my Italian family (whom I credit for my crippling, lifelong addiction to caffeine) and to my love of delicious coffee. (PS: This sort of looks like a prison tattoo because it's really teeny and kind of to the side of my boob, so I had to zoom in.)" —Emmy Favilla


BuzzFeed / Joe Bernstein

"It's a partial quotation from the last line of Richard Ellman's biography of James Joyce, which goes ' of life's celebrants, in bad circumstances cracking good jokes, foisting upon ennuis and miseries his comic vision.' It just means that you should try to find the humor in every situation, especially bad ones." —Joe Bernstein


"I got this after a really REALLY, really bad breakup. I needed to cover up a silly tattoo we had gotten together (yup, learned my lesson) and decided to do so with a diamond because they are unbreakable. It's a nice reminder that if I was able to live through that and come out strong, I will be fine, no matter what." —Conz Preti


BuzzFeed / Natasia Hanratty

"Done by Matt over at Invisible Ink, this is a depiction of the Greek myth of Apollo and Daphne. Apollo gets himself in trouble with Cupid, who has him fall madly in love with Daphne, but also has her want nothing to do with him. Apollo chases and chases Daphne until she's finally fed up and tired of running. She asks her father (a god) for an out — he turns her into a beautiful laurel tree. Despite being a tree and never returning the feelings, Apollo continues to visit her every day and sing her songs of love on his lyre. It's a classic story of the unrequited. I should probably also mention my first girlfriend's name is Daphne. That might have something to do with my fascination as well." —Natasia Hanratty



BuzzFeed / Allison Lucas

"I always wanted a tattoo but was too scared. But after having two kids, I figured I could endure anything and so I got my first tattoo at 38. I now have three, but I love the second one that I got for my 40th birthday the most. I had a consultation with a woman who is well-known for her watercolor ink, and told her what I wanted. I came back six months later (because it was actually a six-month wait!) and the sketch she made was nothing like what I wanted; apparently I told her the wrong type of flower. She ditched the carefully sketched one done in advanced, and sketched out a new design in 30 seconds. I absolutely love it." —Allison Lucas


Twitter: @madmultiplied

"I got it when I was having a rough time dealing with life. It's John Lennon's song 'Imagine.' I'm obsessed with the song, and every time I hear it I feel peaceful. It also reminds me that it's OK to have big dreams and aspire and want more in life than to settle for something that doesn't make me happy but I'm doing it because I believe that I have no choice...or I feel cornered or stuck." —Tasmai Uppin


"I got it this summer. It's my first. It consists of California poppies, lupines and blackberries, all wildflowers that remind me of the Northern California town where I grew up. I haven't lived there in nearly a decade so this artwork (by the very talented David Wallin of 8 of Swords in Brooklyn) helps me feel connected to my beautiful rural home." —Sandra Allen


"I've lived all over the world and love to travel, the anchor is both a reminder of being able to stay put in one place but also move around when wanted. The phrase is from a song and it reads 'I travel the world.'" —Conz Preti



BuzzFeed / Joe Bernstein

"To me, LucasArts will always be the logo that I saw before Grim Fandango. They were also the company that made possible this one small moment in my life, which no one else will ever think about but which I will always remember." Read the rest of the story here. —Joe Bernstein


BuzzFeed / Natasia Hanratty

"My grandparents had their own Polish radio talk show over in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for many years. They both won awards for their hard work, and this microphone was on most of the plaques my family grew up seeing. My brother Tommy and I had planned on getting matching tattoos of the microphone in their honor. When he passed away, I got it in his memory along with theirs. Below it, I added his signature." —Natasia Hanratty


"It was Friday the 13th, tattoo parlors offer $13 dollar tattoos, and with my friends we thought, Why not? So… I got the simplest yet toughest knot." —Conz Preti


BuzzFeed / Emmy Favilla

"I have two swallows on the back of my thighs that say "love" and "luck," respectively. A little of both is what all you need to live a satisfying life, IMHO." —Emmy Favilla

Have a cool story behind your favorite tattoo? Share it with us in the comments below.