Tattoos serve as outlet for displaying creativity, personality – Ashley Stahmer


After browsing scores of Pinterest boards for tattoo ideas, senior Ashley Stahmer made a monumental decision that she had been dreaming of since her freshman year. For her 18th birthday last November, Stahmer visited Players Ink in San Jose and received her first tattoo: an off-centered, black Scorpio constellation on her inner right wrist.

For Stahmer, this decision was a way for her to express her personality and her love for astrology. “Most people [would] be like, it’s a constellation at first glance, but once I’m able to explain it, people can kind of get more [of a] sense of who I am as a person, instead of just surface value,” Stahmer said. “I also am really into astrology and am also a Scorpio.”

Although Stahmer was uneasy at first, her good-humored tattoo artist calmed her nerves. “My tattoo artist was so funny when I was getting the tattoo and said that I already have seven piercings, and since I’m an athlete, I’ll probably deal with it better than most people,” she said. “He was like, ‘You need to breathe,’ and because I was sitting on a swirly stool, he was like, ‘If you pass out on me, I am going to laugh at you before I help you.’”

Stahmer did not receive any judgment from her family or peers after getting her tattoo. “I got my mom to go with me, and she really supported my decision,” she said. “My friends asked me questions about it at school, and they think it’s really cool.”

In the coming months, Stahmer plans on getting inked a few more times, one of which being a matching tattoo with one of her closest friends. “It’s just a really cute and small design of a sun with waves, and the matching one is a moon with waves,” she said. “And then I’m also thinking of getting a small tribute to some of the hardships I’ve gone through when training through swimming and dealing with plateauing, but I’m not sure what tattoo I would get to attribute to that.”

For people considering getting a tattoo for the first time, Stahmer has some valuable advice to give: “Once you get used to the pain, it kind of becomes rhythmical, and you don’t really notice it,” she said. “If you freak out about it, then it’s probably going to hurt more, but if you just do the breathing exercise they teach you then you don’t notice it. If you feel a strong value, like a strong memory, or something that truly demonstrates who you are and your personality, you should get one. If it’s something that you’re doing just for fun or on a drunken whim, I wouldn’t suggest it since your future and your job might be affected, and you’ll end up regretting it.”