Tattoos, and How to Succeed When You’re Indecisive AF

Okay folks, it’s time for me to tackle my biggest personality flaw:

I’m indecisive AF.

Anyone who knows me personally can tell you I struggle with all decisions, from “What should I do with my career?” all the way down to “Should I buy the regular chicken noodle soup or the creamy chicken noodle soup?”

I’m gonna go ahead and blame it on my various psychological ailments. But truthfully, the source doesn’t matter to this post, because it will be different for each of us. What matters is:

How do you move forward when you’re crippled by indecisiveness?

My answer? Tattoos.

Tattoos have greatly helped my mental health. Ink isn’t everyone’s thing, of course, but I personally love the idea of displaying art on my body and personalizing my skin. It’s thrilling, and very addictive. But aside from the fundamental rush of the whole experience, tattoos have played a big part in helping me be decisive and assertive in other areas of my life.

Ironically, my various tattoo decisions — which some folks see as rash and uncontrolled — have helped bring me down to earth about decisions I make in my everyday life.

Every time I got to plan a new tattoo, I go into full obsessed-mode. I scour Pinterest for days at a time and research artists and sketch out my ideas and draw them on myself with sharpie.

But I’ve come to learn, over the years, that planning a tattoo so thoroughly and assigning heavy layers of meaning to each piece actually detracts from the tattoo experience for me.

The owner of my go-to parlor in Houston said it best: Don’t get something that just means a lot to you. Choose something that you like how it looks, just on its own, without extra meaning. Because in a couple years, you WILL NOT be the same person who’s sitting in the chair right now.

Taking the Plunge

Of course, to my obsessive brain, the idea of choosing a tattoo solely for aesthetic was mind-numbingly terrifying at first. But I did it anyway. In a strange moment of perspective and assertiveness, I committed to a piece of art for the rest of my life solely based on its looks. I got a blue whale tattooed across my ribs— for no good reason. And it was one of my best decisions.

Getting that tattoo was me making a statement to myself: “I like this piece of art.” There’s no room for “if”s or “but”s when it comes to a tattoo. And that was the first time I proved to myself that I could be assertive over my own insecurities and obsessions. It was done, and it was permanent. And unless I wanted to lose my mind, I had to own it. So I did.

Solid Proof

I’ve since used my tattoos as a steadfast example of how I can be assertive, how I can make decisions and how I should own up to my beliefs and loves. No more of this wishy-washy “maybe” stuff.

Indecisiveness will always be a struggle for me, but I found a way to prove to myself that I am capable of making decisions — and that has made all the difference.

Whenever I find myself torn between the whole-grain and whole-wheat breads at the grocery store, I pause. I take a deep breath, I glance at the snake tattooed on my forearm. And I grab the whole-wheat loaf with decisiveness, not wasting one more moment pondering the difference between whole-wheat and whole-grain.

Steph Matthiesen
Steph Matthiesen

Through her writing, Steph aims to change the world and open people up to their potential. Steph is a freelance writer for hire at wordgrower.net, where she shares her experiences with mental health, creative writing, and keeping houseplants. It is rumored that she is fueled only by lattes.

2 thoughts on “Tattoos, and How to Succeed When You’re Indecisive AF

    1. Thank you! Honestly I always used to say I’d be too chicken to get any, but once I learned a little bit about the process I was totally okay with it. Specifically, I learned that the tool only deposits ink right under the top layer of your skin. It’s not at all like being stabbed, like I feared 😂

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