Ink of the week

Gabrielle Lanius 

News Staff Writer

glanius@unca.eduAs a form of expression, tattoos have been celebrated for centuries across the globe. Whether for religious, traditional or personal reasons, people have chosen to decorate their bodies with ink.

Sophia Nitsche struggled the majority of her young life to accept a permanent part of herself and used the art of tattoo design to help her learn to love her body the way it is.

Sophia Nitsche, born with a cataract obscuring her vision in her left eye, now has a tattoo on her ankle symbolizing her struggle to accept her condition. Photo by Gabrielle Lanius.

The freshman English student, originally from Savannah, Georgia, was born with a cataract in her left eye she said dominated her young life.

“From like 1 or 2 years old, I had to have eye appointments every couple of months for eight years straight. So for a long time it was something that frustrated me and made me angry because I didn’t have any control over it,” Nitsche said.

The cataract would not go away and had only a small chance of resolving. For much of her life, Nitsche said she struggled to deal with and accept it.

“It fucked with a lot of my life but finally I realized that it wasn’t going away, that it’s a part of my life, and it’s one of those weird unique things even though it’s something that makes you have terrible eyesight,” Nitsche said.

After coming to terms with this condition which obscures her vision, she decided to memorialize it in her own way on her body.

“It was like an acceptance thing. I drew out my own left eye and made it symbolic and pretty with the star in the middle,” Nitsche said.

While she likes this tattoo, it was not what she had originally intended to have in its place.  

“Originally I had planned to have a different tattoo, more like a timeline with symbols that represented parts of my life, but I was having a lot of trouble deciding on the symbols,” Nitsche said. “But I always knew that my eye was the starting point for a lot of my life,”  

Nitsche said she plans to get another tattoo — a band around her left arm with the silhouettes of trees — but she is currently holding off on plans to actually get it.

“I want to get another tattoo but the studio back home in Savannah, Georgia is now closed so I’m kinda stuck wondering if I should find a tattoo place up here,” Nitsche said.

While her tattoo means something to her and represents a part of her, Nitsche said she believes the intentions behind a tattoo are left up to the individual.  

“I think that if a person wants a tattoo that means something big and important in their life then I think they should get it,” Nitsche said. “But if it’s something you enjoy or think is beautiful, you should also get that, so long as you think about it beforehand because it is permanent.”  

 

 

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