Tattoo serves as a special reminder of childhood memories

Kaiya Little, Life and Arts Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 5, 2022 flipbook.

When Lauren Cameron drags her fingers across the smooth lines etched onto her arm, she said she imagines her younger self holding onto her favorite plush toy—- a doll version of the “Teletubbies” character Po.

Cameron said Po, who now resides permanently on her arm, represents a recurring part of her earliest childhood memories and inspired her first tattoo.

“As a kid, I always loved (Po). I would take her everywhere, and my Mom hated it,’” the public relations freshman said. “She was like, ‘She’s a girl. You can’t always have a girl by your side. It’s funny because, ironically, 18 years later, I just hit three months with my girlfriend.”

After her 18th birthday, Cameron said she immediately knew she wanted a tattoo. Aiming to choose something reflective of the pivotal moments in her life, she opted for a design to serve as a nod to her sexuality.

“I want to decorate my body somehow and make it unique. For me, tattoos are a way of telling a life story,” Cameron said. “One of the major things about me is that I am really proud of being gay. (This tattoo) is subtle… it’s like an inside joke.” 

During the excruciating tattoo session, Cameron said she held back tears while the artist worked. However, in the months since, she said the pain feels like a distant memory. 

“Whenever I got this done, I nearly passed out,” Cameron said. “(After it healed), I look at it and I’m so happy…It’s been a while, and I still love it.”

While home on  break, Cameron said she accidentally revealed the previously secret tattoo to her parents.

“(My parents) caught me during Christmas,” Cameron said. “(My mom) was really sad in the moment… (But) my dad was really supportive, he was like, ‘That’s cute, I know Po is your favorite. I’m not surprised you got it.’“

Despite her fear of needles, Cameron said she always knew she wanted to cover her body with unique art pieces. She said starting with a beloved childhood toy makes her first tattoo feel all the more special.

“I found a picture of the stencil (of my tattoo in) high school, (and) I knew this was the one that I wanted,” Cameron said. “(Getting to see it now is) like an accomplishment…people who (get tattoos) on a whim can’t feel the exact same way, but for me, this was a story that I valued, and I’m so proud of it.”