Great stories are written in ink. From Homer to J.K Rowling, we humans have been composing thoughtful messages with it for thousands of years. Yet some of our best stories aren’t expressed on paper. There are more abstract ways of showing the world what matters most to us. Tattoos may only be skin deep, but their meanings often reflect our innermost selves.

 

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“Growing up, I never had a favorite animal. But then I fell in love with elephants. They symbolize strength and loyalty… Whenever I don’t know what to do, when I’m conflicted, I’m like, ‘What would an elephant do?’ I try to channel the inner elephant. That sounds so weird.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“It’s a trident. I really like mythology and I always joke that I’m Poseidon’s daughter because I’m in love with the sea… I like how open it is. It’s free. It does whatever it wants.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“I believe that through Christ we’re free. It just shows that I have freedom… I have freedom from judgement of others.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“At the end of high school, my friends and I wanted matching tattoos but we were too scared to get anything big. So we all got these dots on our wrists. I know it doesn’t look like anything special, but when I see it I remember all the memories we have together.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“I got my heart broken in high school and after that period I went through a lot of learning about what love is supposed to be… There’s a verse in Song of Solomon that says, ‘Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.’ It’s talking about waiting on God’s timing and not forcing anything and being patient. So I took that to heart. My tattoo isn’t just about waiting for love. That’s not even what it means to me anymore. It means waiting on God’s timing in general. I really like dandelions, even though they’re weeds… So the dandelion symbolizes that the little seeds can’t blow away until the wind blows. They don’t have a choice. They’re there until the wind tells them to go.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“This one’s for my cousin, my uncle and my other cousin. One died from suicide, the other one got stabbed and the other one overdosed.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“It means, ‘God is greater than the highs and the lows.’ The meaning behind it is that it’s something that’s never going to change. Like, I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know if I’m going to get married or get that dream job or get to travel the world like I want to. But I do know that my faith isn’t going to change… It’s sometimes easy to lean on God when things aren’t going your way. But it’s just as important to thank Him for all the things that go right and for all the blessings He gives you every day.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“I cannot draw. I can’t paint. I don’t sing. I don’t do anything artistic but I’m an art pursuer. So I consider myself a creative director… I create the inspiration for the art… I can find the art in people.”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“I love traveling and I thought a compass would be a good representation of that. But, it’s also a good representation to always point north and to always keep my eyes on the Lord… A tattoo is permanent. And my love for traveling and my love for the Lord aren’t things that I can go back on. So it’s a constant reminder that, ‘You chose this life. Live it out.'”

Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Corrie Coleman

“This is for my uncle who was in the Navy. He was really messed up after the Navy and he died. I got this for him because he was my dad’s role model and I never really got to meet him like I wanted to. I was named after him.”