I'm currently dredging up the guts to let someone carve a permanent image onto my back. When the design is finalized, all I'll need is some hired goons to hold me down (I have very little tolerance for pain). Of course my mother is horrified by this idea, she lamented something in Chinese about me being mistaken for an asian mob ho, and I wonder how I can adequately explain to her why I want a tattoo. I'm not even sure why I want one, I just feel like it's something I need to do for myself. Can something so personal ever really be explained?
I know there have been multiple tattoo threads, but those were of a mostly pictoral nature and there was little talk of motive. I'm not so much looking for an explanation of the specific symbolic meanings of your tattoos, as I am curious about your answers to the question of, "Why get a tattoo, at all?"