It used to be that when you got a tattoo, that was it. You had it for life. Period. I have heard of extreme cases of it being burned or cut off, but I always thought that only happened if you were in a gang and they no longer wanted you to wear their tattoo. As technology advances so does the tattoo removal industry. I still see ex-gang members trying to turn their life around and willingly remove their tattoos. Recently, however I have seen a new crop of people getting their tattoos removed. Young kids( I call 'em kids because they are younger than me) are getting their first and only tattoos, big. My first tattoo was a small sun on my hip that I paid 20 dollars for. I wasn't 18 so I had to walk in with confidence and hope the tattoo artist didn't ask for my ID. It was so thrilling when I got it. I was pushing the boundaries of my life and getting away with it. The shop smelled of green soap and A/D ointment. The only design to choose from was something off of the wall. But these kids are getting half sleeves of their whole sides tattooed. I guess maybe it is because there are so many tattooers now a days that will do a large piece for a low price. I don't know what the reason is for sure but I can only guess. Anyway, as with my tiny sun tattoo on my hip, these large tattoo pieces end up being not the best idea in the whole world and now, it isn't so difficult to get it removed. I saw one girl with a solid half sleeve tattoo. A professional tattoo full of color and detail. For some reason, she was done with it and wanted to remove it. I couldn't believe it. As great as the tattoo removal technology has gotten, it still takes many painful and expensive sessions to remove tattoos. If it had been me, I would have just gotten another tattoo on my other arm and lived with the one I wasn't stoked about. I mean I can get on board with getting an ex's name tattoo or some gang insignia removed, but removing a professional piece that even if it didn't cost that much money, I know it cost time in the chair. Why do they get it removed? Most of the time the reason I hear is because they just don't like it anymore. To me tattoos have always represented a time in my life. Maybe I'm not the 16 year old who loves the idea of a sun on my hip anymore but I certainly can appreciate the 16 year old girl I was once before. Every time I look at it I remember how much I wanted to rebel against my parents and I laugh a little. And why get it removed at all? Why not add to it or change it into something you can live with. I always joke that if Dan and I ever break up, I'd change the tattoo of his name from Dan to Ran. I think the accessibility of tattoos and tattoo removal is killing creativity. So I guess I wonder why even bother getting a tattoo at all, if you're just going to change your mind about it and get it removed anyway. What is it about getting exactly what you think you want, RIGHT NOW, that is so appealing? Maybe you should just buy new shoes. New shoes always make me happy and then if you get tired of them you can always be sure that next season there will be a new crop of shoes to choose from. Seems less time consuming and less painful to me.