Tat Tuesday: Finding balance, showcasing passions through tattoos

Kaiya Little, Life and Arts Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 19, 2022 flipbook.

Centered between the margins of a notebook page, Lauryn Midgett neatly completed the outline of Saturn encircled by lead-gray rings. As her mind wandered into another daydream, she said she pictured herself as an Astrophysicist, piecing together the puzzle of an unexplored, but fascinating outer space. 

Later, when the sound of a bustling mall tattoo parlor overwhelmed her ears, the english and African American diaspora studies freshman said she knew exactly what her first tattoo should be. Immediately, she thought back to the doodle of Saturn, the childhood memories and questions of existence tucked within it.

“(Ever) since I was little I’ve always had this obsession with space, (and the tattoo) represents that,” Midgett said. “I always gravitated toward things we don’t know a lot about.”

After getting her first tattoo at age 15 on a trip to Singapore, Midgett said the experience served as not only a happy memory, but as a jumping pad, which only made her want more. Now on her fourth, Midgett said she developed a plan of continuity and symbolism in her tattoos, which she uses to evoke an important fixture in her life— balance.

“I want to do a nighttime (theme on my left arm), and I want to do a daytime (theme on the other),” Midgett said. “I like to recognize both sides (of life) — light and the dark.”

Disrupting the concepts on each side, Midgett said the tattoo that catches the most attention rests on the back of her arm. This piece showcases a mushroom— outfitted with the details of a house. Midgett said the break from her usual modern, space-themed art creates a playful twist on the heavy reality of the world. 

“People always point out (the design) because it’s a little more outlandish than the other ones,” Midgett said. “I like to say it reminds me of the magical things in my life… everything (my) inner child wants.” 

Midgett’s most recent tattoo— just four weeks old, is a piece on her ribs featuring an open book with a drawing of a tree. Midgett said she chose to have the design close to her heart to honor its greater meaning as a book telling the story of her life and dreams. 

“(I want) all my tattoos to speak to a part of my character,” Midgett said. “Someday (I want to)  write books to speak to the public (about) my thoughts and ideas…(That tattoo was) my most painful one, but it also means the most to me.” 

As she looks to expand her tattoo collection, Midgett said she plans to continue with designs that function as reference to the perspectives she brings to her daily life.

“(My recent tattoo is) a reminder to stay grounded and (to) grow to new kinds of possibilities,” Midgett said. “Anything that I’m putting on my body is gonna represent an idea that I wish to emit from my being…my tattoos tell a story about me.”