The tattoo industry has become a billion dollar enterprise. A form of artistic expression that was once considered grotesque is now highly regarded as beauty and a form of healing for many. People have found a way to tell their stories through ink on flesh. And tattoo artists have become a sort of therapist and a witness for those who need to bare their souls about life's truths and turmoils. Sadly.... once and awhile the story is less than happy.Redditor u/Emmafayee wanted those who ink others to share about some of the times they've been taken aback by what clients wanted to do with their bodies and why, by asking.... Tattoo artist of reddit, what's the most beautiful/saddest Request you've ever gotten or one that has stood out??
The Next Chapter Mark
Its always rewarding being able to commemorate the end of trauma in someones life. To have someone trust you to help them close important chapters in their life is just so incredibly humbling.
The one client that really stands out to me is my cousin.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer a while back. She ended up beating it, but it was a hard journey for her.
Every year she celebrates the date she was officially declared cancer free. At the end of my apprenticeship, she flew out from Cali to Florida to have me do her one and only tattoo for her- the ribbon with her new birthdate.
My whole family doesn't really care for tattoos, so the support and trust from her solidified my dedication to this industry.
I tattooed a pig and rooster on a young couple's feet (he got the rooster, she got the pig). Traditionally, sailors would get these designs tattooed as a superstitious way to keep from drowning.
A few months later, he contacted me to let me know that a while after they got the tattoos, they broke up. She then took her own life.
He came back to me to get the pig tattooed on his other foot to match. It was a heavy day, for sure.
The Blue Dragonfly
My oldest ever client. She was 76, and had just received a bad diagnosis, so had come in with her son to cross off "get a tattoo" from her bucket list. She wanted a blue dragonfly on her collarbone, but couldn't stand upright and steady for long, so, with the help of her son, I had to lay her down on the bed to apply the stencil. Wherever possible you should always apply a stencil with a client standing naturally, so that the design isn't distorted when gravity shifts their body. She laughed hysterically when she stood up to check the stencil placement and it shifted from her shoulder and disappeared into her cleavage.
We had a great time during the tattoo, the three of us laughed and joked; she had a great sense of humor and was really positive despite her grim diagnosis.
Two and a half years later, she returned to the tattoo shop, now 78. Far less energetic this time, she asked me to add her sons name beneath the blue dragonfly. He had suddenly fallen sick and passed away before her.
I was an apprentice and I sold custom drawings at the same time. I once had a woman who wanted a rainbow heart that looked like shattered glass. She then explained me that it was in memory of her daughter, who died from a car crash. The day of her death, she came out to her mom as a lesbian, her mom didn't react well and the daughter went for a drive to vent a little. That drive is the one who killed her. I could tell through the mails how devastated her mom was, and how guilty she felt. It really broke my heart.
Story in the Letters
My brother passed a little over 10 years ago and one of his best friends is a tattoo artist. He used to be in the military and would write letters to us so we were able to get one of his favorite sayings in his own handwriting from piecing it all together. I also had him mix his ashes in with the ink. My brothers buddy broke down immediately when I opened the urn I have for him, needless to say he had to take a little break before he started.
Not me, but my artist: a guy came in his shop and asks for a St. George killing the dragon tat, my artist did the job and that was it. Like a month after a girl came in the shop and she asked too for the same design, and my artist said something like "oh good I have done the same picture like a month ago, so I'm still fresh and can do a really good job", and as soon as he finish the sentence, the girl started crying really really bad. The guy was her brother that committed suicide one week before, and she wanted the tat for legacy. He did the job pro bono.
Not a tattoo artist, just heavily tattooed, one of my artist friends told me a story about a guy who came in that'd lost his first born at 6 years old to childhood lymphoma. The guy wanted to have a full body suit done of all the kids drawings, the drawings were terrible but he never wanted to forget them.
I managed a tattoo shop and we were about to close when a group of 6 well dressed people came in. I asked if they came from a wedding. Complete opposite, they were coming from a funeral.
All 8 of them got a paper plane tattoo. Most people this was their first tattoo. They kept getting call and 8 more people came totaling almost 16 people getting tatted plus guests hanging out.
I had to ask artists to work over time and stay back but they all wanted to help this family and group of friends go through this tough time.
For privacy I won't mention how the person they were paying tribute passed but the reason they got paper planes is because she looked exactly like M.I.A apparently and paper planes was their inside joke with her.
We let them take over the music for the shop and blast that song as loud as possible and to see sad broken people smiling and dancing and celebrating this persons life touched me.
"I love you"
I've been diagnosed with Leukemia since last year. I can't get a tattoo quite yet, but when I can I want to get a voice wave of my mom saying "I love you" tattooed where the central line used to be in my arm.
Edit: thank you all for the kind words! I'm currently in remission and if I find out if I'm still in remission next week!
My tattoo artist got asked to tattoo a kid (11years old) that has maybe 3 months left to live to tattoo the superman logo on his chest. He had to refuse because he is no medical tattooist. But he told them to paint his chest everytime he comes here for free. He is such a cool guy. He was invited to his funeral and tattooed some fake skin (don't know what he meant with that) and they put this in his casket.
Awesome but very sad.
My husband has a tattoo for his pervious fiancé who died of cancer at only 39 yrs old. It's a woman going up a staircase and a clock at the time she died. I always thought it was a really sad, but touching memorial.
And kudos to you for seeing it for what it is.... <3
My tattoo artist once tattooed a sunflower on a man who lost his daughter from suicide. Apparently she was in a mentally abusive relationship. The ex drove her mad spiraling into depression and eventually she committed suicide. The last note, she wrote about being sorry as she would definitely disappoint her dad.
They were close. During the relationship however, the father was working abroad.
The sunflower on his side symbolizes the daughter will always be with him as he was one of the primary source for her happiness. You know how sunflowers always grow facing the sun? Yeah, that. A heartbreaking tale of a man wishing he could have done more, like maybe put his feet down and break the abusive cycle she was in.
Don't know what happen to the ex. I hope that scumbag has permanent Hemorrhoid.
The Last Talk
My best friend died a few years ago in a car accident. The very last conversation we ever had was a phone conversation of him telling me about his new tattoo. Obviously, he never got to show it to me, but his mom sent me a picture of it a few months later.
With her permission, I went and got the same tattoo a year and a half after his death.
The kicker is, I lived a couple hours away from the artist who did my friend's tattoo, so I went to her. It was so healing to get to talk to someone who had seen him, and now I have a great tattoo with a great story.
A woman came straight from her father's funeral with his final will and testament and had me put his signature on her arm. She could hardly make out the words and we both cried the entire time. It was such a deep experience I couldn't charge her.
Simple but beautiful story.
Elderly man came in to the tattoo shop for his first tattoo. He wanted his wife's name. While drawing it up for him - he explained his wife of 45 years had just passed away a month ago. He told me she never wanted him to have a tattoo but he was in the service and always wanted one - of her name - but he never got it because she wouldn't let him.
He says "I don't mean to be ornery or disrespect her wishes, I just need a piece of her with me until we're together again."
EDIT: Wow - was tattooing and didn't expect this simple comment to blow up. Thank you, kind redditors - y'all have made my heart happy today. Special thanks for the award!
I'm answering for my brother. He's a talented tattoo artist with his own shop in Colorado.
When my first child was born (at 23 weeks super preemie), he was 13. He drew a gorgeous name tag for her incubator in the NICU based on her name: Emily Rose.
She passed away from pneumonia when she was 3 years old. Years later my brother gave me a tattoo of a reimagining of that name sign. All free hand and it is gorgeous.
His art welcomed his niece into the world and his art celebrated her life when she left it.
Thank You Wolfgang
Not a tattoo artist - I have two floral and wildlife themed sleeves that cover 10 years of self harm scars. Many artists refused to tattoo over my scars and then I met Wolfgang - the nicest, coolest artist around. He does beautiful work and I now get compliments on my arms instead of stares or awkward questions. I never wore short sleeves in front of anyone before I got my first piece done. His work has given me a confidence that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Tattoos are cool, and Wolfgang is brilliant.
one of my favorite co-workers had medical problems as a young child & ended up adopting a cat sharing the same problems (I don't remember the name, sorry, but it was heart related). The cat grew up with her & died about 2 years ago, so she got a cat chasing a bell (their favorite toy) with a heart to the side saying "you can't stop me". It made me very sad, & it was a very pretty tattoo.
Making the Connection
A young woman came in wanting a belly button tattoo. When I asked what she wanted in her belly button she said, "I don't have a belly button, I want you to tattoo one on me." She was born with malfunctioning organs and as a newborn the doctors had cut her open from sternum to tailbone in order to remove said organs and then stitched her back up leaving two small holes in her side for waste. She was perfectly sealed up apart from those two holes.
After I had tattooed a dainty little grey and pink navel she got up to have a look, tears welled in her eyes and then she did a little dance as she squeaked, "I've never felt closer to my mother!"
The shop got a little dustier that day. That was just about the best feeling I've ever had after completing a tattoo.
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One of my closest friends was killed by a drunk driver in a head on collision (she was only 23) and when I expressed to my artist a couple months after the accident that I wanted to get a piece done for her, he immediately began to help me brainstorm ideas. I am so grateful to have this guy in my life, he is incredibly talented but so humble. Which is why I'm writing this comment, someone's gotta represent for him.
This was the result:
My friend & I first met at a summer camp, boy did she love that place. For two summers I was unable to attend due to college sports and so she wrote me letters to keep me updated on the camp events. (For context, I have been attending this camp since 2004 when I was in 4th grade, and the same people tend to go every summer, so in a sense it is like a second family/home to me).
My amazing tattoo artist used one of these old notes & took letters and words out to form lines from my friend's favorite camp song in her exact handwriting (like seriously it is indistinguishable from her writing on paper), which I now have tattooed under my heart on my ribs.
The lines are:
For I only have a moment, and a whole world yet to see.....
I have a tattoo of a question mark behind my ear. My friend Buh had the same tattoo when I met her and I used to think it was so cool!
I was 16 at the time when she committed suicide, it was the first death I had experienced, hers was the first funeral I ever went to. The effect it had on me is something that I still remember 7 years later.
Last year I got the same tattoo in the same place in memory of her, my most sentimental tattoo and also one of my favorites.
Rest in peace Buh, you had more of an effect on this world than you could ever know.
Ohh man. I figure this will get buried but here we go....
They weren't my clients but one day a couple comes in to get a handprint tattoo. They show us the handprint and the artist is like, dang that looks pretty muddled, is it possible to get another version? Nope. Not possible. It's their baby's handprint, and it was taken post-mortem. It's the only physical reminder they have of their child who only lived a few hours.
Working by a children's hospital was rough.
Ex gf is a tattoo artist. She came home WAY late from work one night...
2 British dudes, drunk off there butts, came into the shop a few minutes before the shop was going to close. They wanted to get tattoo'd right then, right there. My ex, she wasn't really having it, until they explained the situation. They were in the states, doing a cross country road trip that they had been planning for years. There was another buddy that was going to be with them, but he passed away a few months beforehand.
So they wanted to get a poorly done tattoo of his face (because all of the dead buddies tattoos were REALLY bad) on each of there "arse cheeks". So when they went to all these places that they had planned to see, they could show him.
Well, the ex popped open some whiskey, threw on some metal, and started getting to it. The dudes were apparently utterly hilarious and had everyone in tears from laughter the entire time. One of the tattoos she's most proud of, but the fact that it's so poorly done on purpose, she can't really have it in her book.
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Client, not an artist. I am totally blind and I am a big fan of Sailor Moon; more specifically Sailor Jupiter, the Senshi of courage and strength. I got a tattoo of Jupiter on my arm with the word COURAGE under it, but what made it special is that the artist was able to make it raised up on purpose, so I can clearly feel the design of Jupiter and the word she represents. When I am feeling low, I can trace the word COURAGE on my arm and feel Jupiter's confidence resonate with me. I think it has helped save my life at least once.
EDIT: Including a pic of the tattoo, taken when I was at International Sailor Moon Day in 2017. https://i.imgur.com/VgiH8cB.jpg
the meaning of loss....
Not an artist. got my first tattoo, a simple heart on my wrist. Missed a couple dozen calls from my mom during the session - my dad had a heart attack and passed away. That tattoo took on a whole new meaning.
Ugh, my heart breaks for you reading this. I can't imagine that pain. I'm sorry for your loss, and I hope your life goes better. And you or anyone who needs some kindness from a stranger, feel free to reach out to me.
My partner Pro Bono's tattooed nipples on women's reconstructed breasts.
She is a cosmetic tattooist and post operative breast cancer patients are referred to her.
They often cry when they see themselves after the procedure, they say they it is feeling whole again after so much trauma.
I once tattooed a Luna Moth on a cancer survivor. As he walked towards the mirror and saw the finished product, he started crying knowing that his nightmares were finally over and that the moth was a representation of himself fully free from cancer. It was hard to not cry watching this.
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My father in law had ashes from his dog put into the ink of his memorial tattoo. The artist is a member of the family so they were able to accommodate his request.
The + Sign
I tattooed a plus sign on a couple. The air was heavy but it wasn't my place to ask why. Once we put the stencils on, they opened up.
They had just miscarried. She told me they were excited to bring life into this world, together. And their favorite moment of joy was when she took the pregnancy test and they waited together... for their overwhelmingly positive response: for the plus sign.
When my little brother died I asked my tattoo artist for a memorial tattoo for him - a calico cat (me) and an angelic corgi (him, corgis were his favorite thing in the entire world) playing around an anchor (he was in the navy for years). It was personal to me and he did a lovely job. We both cried when he finished and I was checking it out in the mirror, and he gave me a really big hug.
Edit: For people asking for a picture... honestly I've put on some weight since I got the tat (grief + quarantine + bad hip) and it's gone blurry, plus it's hard for me to get a good close up due to the fact that the tat is on my bad leg and it's difficult to bend over. So here's a pic but it's not a very good one. I promise it looks better in real life. I also included a bonus cat head.
Not a tattoo artist but my father in law was tragically taken from us. He was run over by a speeding motorcycle. Our family was torn apart, the crap responsible was wealthy, well connected and didn't even get a ticket/suspended license/asked to take a defensive course. Never acknowledged/apologized. My father in law was an amazing and somewhat known artist. While going through his studio we found a sketch of the Angel Gabriel, our son's name. My wife now has that exact sketch fit scale on her back. It is a beautiful homage and allows us to keep his memory with us. My mother in law is spending the weekend with us they raised their families and this was supposed to be their time together. Screw people who walk through the world that way.
Please slow down everyone and enjoy the times you have with your loved ones.
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My best friend is a tattoo artist and a client walked in. He asked for a tattoo of his daughter's scar in the same area so his daughter won't be self conscious about it.
Through out the appointment, he talked about his daughter and how proud he was of her.
I made my tattoo artist cry. Twice. I'd been in for a couple with them after my regular guy retired. I went in and asked for patch from 102 dalmatians with his paws up in the words 'you can beat this'. He asked why so I told him I'd spoken to an oncologist. I had leukemia. I'd bruise really easy so to cheer up my daughter I'd put my hair in pigtails and say i felt like being a Dalmatian today. I told him I'd be back when I went into remission to get the 'you can beat this' crossed out and 'see!' put underneath. I booked it last week and set him off for the second time!
Apprentice here so didn't have much time to gather stories yet, but the client we had that had the most insane stories and basically ended up talking until we closed, was this 80yr old lady who came to us to have her tramp stamp retouched. Her husband gave it to her a week after they met, being drunk off their butts. Then she just continued to tell us all kinds of dumb fool they did while being drunk or on all possible drugs, ending up with 3 other spirals and butterflies added to the stamp, she doesn't remember how she got. But since she's so old, it started fading and now u can barely see it, so she wanted it retouched as to "keep the memory of those years alive and colorful as they were."
Oh and the really sweet one of this guy who came to us after he got out of prison, (before I was an apprentice) started talking about how he had no idea how to get the woman he loves back, while getting a tattoo of the bar sign from the bar where they met. He came by the shop with the woman (now his wife) and their kid, a year and a half after the tattoo, so that the woman could get the same tattoo from the same artist who tattooed him, because he apparently gave him the balls to go get her back.
Thank you Mr. B....
Back in 1999 I was taking courses at the local community college in a small city (50k people) and I chose to get the 2-yr degree in Communications/Media Arts and the head of the department was a really cool guy who taught a few of the classes and he had a tattoo going all around his wrist of flames that went up his arm maybe six inches and one day a student in my class asked him about it and it turns out he had a teenage son who died in a car crash and that was the tattoo his son was planning on getting so he went ahead and got it on his wrist to honor his son. No one expected that answer at all so it got really quiet in the classroom.
He's retired now but we still keep in touch as he was the reason I got my first job as a news cameraman because he told the news director at a local TV station that I got an internship at that I was a good student and had a good eye so the news director offered me a part-time gig shooting on the weekends and I ended up being a cameraman for 14 years between that station and one other one in another state. I always think of him and that tattoo as it endeared him to me and the other students as someone we could always go to when we needed help/advice beyond the classroom and he always treated us like we were his adopted kids. Thank you Mr. B....
A local tattoo artist had a severe burn victim as a client. The client's leg was scarred and disfigured from the burns.
The artist did a whole mural on this guy's leg and it was beautiful. Couldn't even tell that the guy's leg was ever burned. Restored all esteem and confidence in the client and made the artist happy.
My sister is an artist she had a client she really liked did some good portraiture work on, the client was out at dinner one night when she suddenly got a headache, and died on the spot from a brain aneurysm leaving behind her young son. My sister did a charity event to raise money for her family and tattooed dozens of red balloons in her memory. I'm still really proud of her for doing that
Edit: holy crap guys wow. Just wanted to say: if you're having the worst skull-splitting headache of your life, do not hesitate, call 911. It's slim, but you do have a chance if you know what to do.
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My SIL got a tattoo of an owl and had my brother's ashes mixed with ink for the owl's eyes. My brother had very vibrant and striking blue eyes, and the owl has the same shade of blue eyes.
Not an artist, but I have several tattoos. The one that means the most to me, is three X's on my ankle.
When I did my driving tests, I failed a few times due to failure anxiety. One day my father decided to write me a note, telling me he believed in me, that I shouldn't let it get to my head and that I should look at it as if it was a driving lesson, not a test. He'd be in a meeting afterwards, so I should text him my results. He closed the letter with three kisses (XXX).
Now I'm highly superstitious, so I put that note in my pocket and went on to my driving test. And I passed. From that moment on, every time something important was about to happen, I'd put that note in my pocket. Unfortunately it went through the washing machine and I lost the note, but I had a photo of it in my phone. I reckoned I was less likely to lose my ankle than a piece of paper, so I got the three X's tattooed in my ankle in honor of my dad.
He's still alive, but it's my most valuable tattoo.
I have a cardinal on my arm in memory of my stepdad. He had one leg, loved Christmas, and one of my fav gifts I've ever gotten from him was a dream catcher. My tattoo artist took all that and made a gorgeous one legged cardinal holding a dream catcher with some holly behind it.
John, if somehow the afterlife lets you see it, I got it because you made a mark on my life by choosing to help raise a little red headed demon. You didn't have to, but you did it anyways. Thank you for everything.
While he was working on his sleeve, I got bored and decided to get a tattoo that I'd always wanted. A lotus flower with the stem in the shape of the logo for the National Eating Disorder Association. I wasn't trying to put my business out there, so I tried to draw the shape, but I realized that wasn't working out.
So I showed the artist the logo, and obviously he saw what it was. We got to talking, and I told him my story. When it came time to pay, he didn't charge me anything. I tipped him $80, and he said he was proud to see someone successfully beat an eating disorder. It's still one of my favorite tattoos.
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My best friend passed away very suddenly on the 4th of July last year. She lost her 5 year battle with full systemic lupus, we knew she was sick but we never thought it would take her from us. We had been friends since we were 5 and she passed when she was 21, it completely shattered me.
I have my tattoo appointment this week to get a purple butterfly (universal symbol for lupus) and the words "love you, Mackie" traced from a letter she wrote me. It's going to be the most meaningful tattoo I have and I know she would have loved it.
A friend of mine (drifted apart) got a bouquet of roses tattooed across his back. One silver one for his mum, three black ones for his sisters, a red one for his partner and two green buds for his nephew and niece. His mum passed away a week after he got them complete but at least we will always have the memory of her look of shock when he showed them to her.
I wonder if he's added more....
The Moon & Beyond
Not a tattoo artist, but my husband passed away very suddenly. A friend of our's was a tattoo artist, and he was amazingly skilled. I asked him to tattoo "I love you to the moon and back a million times" in my husbands handwriting from a letter I had from my husband. I had every intention of paying him, naturally, but he didn't want payment. He did it for free. It is my favorite tattoo and it means the world to me. He is an amazing artist, and an even more awesome human being. I cherish it every day.
Edit: Oh my gosh guys, y'all are so sweet! Reddit has really been kind to me and helped me with the loss of my husband. I don't know if anybody remembers the infamous "Widow misses husband, wants to figure out how to obtain his Google data for voice recordings to hear his voice again" comment on an Ask Reddit post last year, but that was also from me, and they ended up doing an Endless Thread podcast episode that featured some of his voice recordings. You guys are amazing.. thank you for all the love!
One Leg Fool
Guy came in - he had one leg so I thought he was interesting, he wanted a tattoo on his hand and asked if it was ok to tattoo it since he had recently broken it (his hand), I said it was fine as long as it was healed up. I asked out of curiosity how he broke his hand and he said "I punched my dog". I got him to fill out the form with his name and address and asked casually where the dog was and he just said "gone now". Told him I was sorry that I couldn't do his tattoo and then turned his butt in to the cops. I should have just taken his other leg. Moron.
I just met you.....
Tattoo artist here. i just wanna chime in and say this : tattoos are a powerful tool for healing, for sure. but we aren't therapists. i get to know a lot of my clients over the years and we tell each other about our traumas and become good friends over time. but holy crap, do not use your tattooist as a therapist, especially on the first appointment, or through a long oversharing email.
I care about my clients but I am not prepared emotionally for them to blast me with their trauma right out of the gate. graphic details of death, loss, abuse, assault, buddy, I just met you. I have no training to be able to handle this internally, nor to help you in the way that a professional can. often times therapy costs about as much as a tattoo, and while it's less cool, it might be more helpful in the long run.
Not a tattoo artist but got a very meaningful tattoo this past February! I lost my 13 yrs old dog on January 4 and it broke my heart, he was with me more than half of my life and put a smile on my face every single day for 13 years. He was the most precious bundle of joy. I always let him sleep on my bed and he used to curl up and rest his head close to my ankle, so simple but it made me feel so warm inside. I got this right in the spot he used to rest at. One of my favorite pictures with him. Not a day goes by that I don't remember my little ball of fur, I love and miss you so much Spike!
My mom got a tattoo of the main lyrics of the song she sang to our rescue dog who died of a preventable disease from the Dominican.
He was the most loving, thankful and well behaved dog anyone will ever have known, and he died at the age of 6 after only having him for 2 years because the vets said they could save us hassle for the disease treatment if we start it when it becomes active. By then it was too late. His last days were so sad, it broke my mom for a long time.
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Not an artist, but this is a very personal story.
In 2015 I got Destiny: The Taken King and met five people to do a raid, four of whom I still play with today. The fifth was named Daniel. He played Titan class, and was the best sniper I've ever seen. But he was also a really, really nice kid. He always encouraged everybody and hyped us up. But in 2017 he died to cancer. And I'd never get to tell him how much I appreciated him.
He played the Solar subclass, which if you don't play, means you get a small flaming hammer, much like Thor's, to throw at people and cause havoc. Well, our other Titan Kyle also played the subclass. So, as a memorial to Daniel and his favorite class, he got a tattoo of the flaming hammer on his arm. Something simple and sweet, with a huge meaning.
The most memorable tattoo that I've seen is one of my brother's. For background: my brother used to be my cousin but he had adopted him because his mom, dad, and little brother were all murdered. He had wanted a tattoo for most of his life and had sketched out a few designs. They went to the tattoo place and had the person there do a few touch ups to the desired design then came home with a cross with angel wings that had his little brother's name, date of birth, and death date. It is a very beautiful tattoo and is my favorite out of all of his.
I was in a car accident and lost my brother.... got a portrait of him done on my arm.. it's a pretty tragic story, that I told to the artist. When he was done he gave me a minute alone (in a tiny studio surrounded by others getting work done), I spent a few minutes balling my eyes out. I kinda felt bad for everyone around, having to see that. He cut me a deal (which I didn't ask for or want). I have lots of tats, this one is obviously my favorite.. it's an amazing piece and very well done.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Any engaged couple looks forward to the big day when after months of planning, they get to tie the knot and declare their love in front of family and friends.
What could possibly go wrong?
It turns out there are so many variables that can contribute to making the bride and groom's celebration a major matrimonial miss.
Curious to hear examples of weddings gone wrong, Redditor lolf**kno asked:
"Those who have been to a ruined wedding, what happened?"
Dramatic brawls and speeches plagued these weddings.
Catty Attendees And Booze
"Very beautiful wedding in a huge barn at this apple orchard. They must have spent a ton of money on the decorations and catering because it looked like something out of a magazine. The ceremony was great, the flower girl did her thing, the vows got everyone choked up. Everything seemed to be going well. Not even 15 minutes into the reception the mothers of the bride and groom getting into a full out brawl, hair pulling, red wine being thrown. Their sons jump in to defend their honor, chairs start being throw, tables are flipped, parents are grabbing children and running for their lives."
"The bride and groom are horrified and leave immediately and head back their honeymoon suite. My fiancé and I left after this as well but we heard from some other friends that most people ended up staying and getting wasted at the open bar on the bride and groom's dime. Apparently, the fight started because one of the groom's sister complimented the bride's grandmother's dress. The bride's mom thought she was being sarcastic and called her a b*tch, then the drama ensued. Mind you they had all been pregaming the wedding pretty hard."
Playing For The Drunk Uncle
"I played a wedding where as we started playing the set, everyone ran outside and nobody was to be seen for the rest of the night."
"I originally assumed it was because nobody liked us but the bride came in afterwards and said there was a huge fight involving multiple members of both families and everyone basically went home upset, injured or in a police van."
"We couldn't stop playing since we were payed and it was our job, and the only person watching was the drunk uncle dancing on his own asking for requests we didn't know."
Maid Of Honor Speech Goes Off The Rails
"Was a guest of friend of the bride, did not know anyone attending. Very expensive over the top place, several hundred guests of this very Italian wedding. Maid of honor grabs mic at the cocktail hour begins her speech, rambling, drunk. Quickly devolves to stating the recently deceased mother of the bride was against this wedding and that's basically what killed her. Plus Vinny will never give up sex workers. She is tackled by several people and dragged away."
"The happy couple is separated and divorced within a year."
This is what happens when bad luck crashes weddings.
Tumbling Into The Sunset
"I work at a golf course with a lot of history behind it. We do wedding venues inside the clubhouse and the actual ceremony is held outside by the historic water fountain and large pond."
"First problem was the weather. I live in the high desert and it was very warm. A solid 90 degrees that day and it was also pretty windy. So everyone's outside, no umbrellas, no ezups."
"The next problem, and probably the worst, was the golf cart incident. The bride and groom wanted to 'ride into the sunset' on one of our golf carts. Drive around a little bit on the golf course. To be fair, it is beautiful on the course during sunset. However the cart had somehow gotten a nail in the tire, tire went flat, battery on the cart went crazy and the cart ended up freaking out. It came to an complete stop from 15mph to zero. The wheels and mechanisms locked up, almost seizing. Both the bride and groom (fairly overweight mind you) both fell out and rolled over a few times. They were totally okay, just a few bruises and perhaps a bruised ego or two. So retrieving that cart was fun."
"And last but not least, the power inside the clubhouse went out to do the high winds. There was no after party available. Only the cake was cut, hardly any food was given out. Yeah, not a great day to cover for someone on your day off."
"I was not born yet, but my parents rented the observation deck on the Hancock building in Boston for their reception. Tallest building in the city, beautiful view. My dad pored over historic weather charts to figure out what day was statistically most likely to be nice out. Day of the wedding comes and of course, thick fog unlike anything they'd ever seen before. Couldn't see a thing out the windows of the room they had picked specifically for the view."
"Worked out well though, they were happily married for nearly 30 years before cancer took my dad's life a few years ago."
"There's one other funny anecdote from that wedding: The wedding was held in Kings Chapel, which is an incredibly historic church here in downtown Boston that's somewhat of a major tourist attraction. To close that on a weekend afternoon for a wedding, it turns out, was not very expensive. The tourists waiting outside to see the church didn't know that, though, and someone started the rumor that my parents were incredibly wealthy, maybe even Kennedys. As a result, there were tons of people taking photos of them when they left the ceremony. Not sure if any of them ever figured out that my parents were most certainly not rich or famous."
"I was best man at my sister in laws wedding (stepped in for the brother of the groom, that's another story entirely)."
"For a whole year of planning all the bride (SIL) wanted was a dove release while they said handwritten vows to each other. Very small, non denominational (most of the family are atheist anyway) wedding."
"Day arrives (early summer) and something is off with the bird handlers. They show up a bit late and are sourcing help from the wedding party to get everything in line. When the time comes to say their vows I help the handler carry the chest with the doves in it over to what is to be the altar where the bride and groom are standing."
"Vows are just about wrapping up and the handler gives ME the signal to open the chest. I open it and see 20-30 DEAD DOVES IN THE CRATE!!!! I immediately close it to try and limit who knows what happened. Too late. The look of horror on the bride's was all that was needed. We spent the next few hours trying to cheer everyone up but by the end of the reception the entire wedding party had organized and filed animal cruelty complaints on the handler. It was all anyone could focus on."
Tragic losses unfortunately befell leading up to or at a couple's nuptials.
The Wedding Guest Who Left Too Soon
"When I was 6 or 7 I went to a cousin's wedding. Everything was fabulous for little me, so much sugar everywhere, basically heaven. The reception was in a big community center that was reserved for the occasion. Went to the girls' bathroom, passing by the men's room to see my uncle on the floor. Went back to the main room to tell my dad my uncle was looking weird. Well, uncle had a stroke and had died."
"The bride spent the rest of the afternoon crying, and everyone except close family left."
"Bright side is the mariage is still going strong 20 years later, despite what happened that day."
A Terminal Diagnosis
"Leading up to my friends wedding his father had been battling cancer after a terminal diagnosis. And it was touch and go whether he would be well enough to attend the wedding, in the end he was too unwell to attend despite wishing that he could."
"Just as we got to the wedding reception my friend was informed that his father had just passed away. It was devastating."
"Happened to my classmate. He is successful middle level manager, divorced, about 35yo or so. Found a girl of his dreams but from a provincial poor town. The girl insisted to have the wedding in her town to show off her 'success.' The wedding is crashed by her old friends including male friends who are not that sophisticated and have some tense feelings towards the successful groom from the city. Somebody starts a fight in the middle of wedding, groom is trying to stop it and got stabbed in the back. Died right there. And he was my classmate."
An Unfortunate Trespassing
"The wedding was at a state park that's famous for its giant gorge/waterfall. I don't know whose idea this was, but someone suggested a photo overlooking this gorge and everybody was game. The wedding party went around a stone security barrier and the maid of honor literally fell off the cliff to her death. It was like 500+ feet."
With a lot riding on a wedding to go off without a hitch, the mounting pressure is one where something is surely to buckle.
And because wedding guests are usually inebriated and high on the buzz of celebration, they throw caution to the wind and make some choices they wouldn't make under normal circumstances.
People's ill-advised actions can have regretful consequences, but no one expects death to be an outcome.
Fortunately, the weddings I've attended or heard about from friends were not as catastrophic as the anecdotes mentioned above.
While the Redditors' stories are sorrowful, it gives me a sense of relief these devastating examples are rare occurrences.
Sometimes I think back to a teacher I had when I was a kid who demanded to know whether any of us were "raised in a barn" in response to crappy behavior. Namely littering. She hated littering. Can you blame her? It's a horrible habit and some people do it with no sense of shame. She dedicated much of her time to telling students to pick up after themselves and dispose of things properly. For that, I'm thankful.
But why didn't anyone else get the memo? The trash I see on the streets is obscene.
People had lots of thoughts to share after Redditor SneakyStriedker876 asked the online community,
"What seemingly uncivilized thing is commonplace in society?"
"We delight in the deaths of others as long as we feel it was justified. But when the reverse happens we act all high and mighty like we wouldn't engage in the same behavior."
"Slaughtering each other..."
"Slaughtering each other via warfare to solve political differences. It's standard policy worldwide."
Indeed it is. And it seems impossible to stop.
"Littering. Especially dropping cigarette butts on the ground/flicking them out the window.
The world is not your personal ashtray/garbage bin."
Every now and then I find new trash in my yard and I am constantly amazed by how nasty people can be.
"Mobbing someone because of their opinion or for a comment they made a long time ago, even if that time was yesterday."
"Xenophobia. The fact that racism and racial violence still exist is an indicator that we're still tribal primates in fancy clothes."
And it makes no sense! It's not based in reality. We are truly a tribal species.
"Shouting while arguing, refusing to listen to the opinions of others, basically the inability to debate and maintain proper communication."
"Letting people die..."
"Letting people die of curable conditions simply because they can't afford healthcare."
Probably the biggest reason why much of the Western world looks at the United States with shame in their eyes.
"Parents forcing their kids to hug family/friends despite the kid being uncomfortable doing it. They feel uncomfortable for a reason."
"During the holiday season..."
"During the holiday season, customers take products off of our online fulfillment carts. Y'all have legs. Get your own."
"Using phone speakers..."
"Using phone speakers in public. I don't care what you and your friend think about that restaurant, or how much that Spotify jam speaks to you. Nobody else wants to hear it."
We truly need to stop all of these, don't you think?
Have some opinions of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
I love presents. I try to hide my enthusiasm, and I do my best to appease the greater public by saying "it's the thought that counts." But that is a WHOLE lie. I don't just love gifts, I love great gifts. And if you go rogue from my lists, please keep a receipt. It's just plain rude to divert from what the recipient has requested.
This thought process has emerged from experience. I have received some trash presents over the years and now I'm too old to pretend you just went crazy while shopping. Like... "do you even know me?!"
Redditor u/sulemannkhann wanted to hear all about the presents some of us have received that we prayed, came with a receipt, by asking:
What's the worst birthday gift you ever got?
Have we met? That is an actual question I asked a gift giver once. (Who shall rename nameless) Football tickets. FOOTBALL TICKETS?! Who? What? I can't.
Looks FamiliarBroad City Wow GIF by Comedy CentralGiphy
"My own scarf. Yes, that's right, my mother went into my room took my only scarf, wrapped it and gave it to me like it was a new scarf."
"Thought I was getting a bike for my 15th birthday but my foster parents announced that they were sending me to a group home after living with them for 11 years. Devastation! That place was a wake up call. More independence then at my foster home but those kids had it really really bad, 12 year old heroine addicts, abuse... what the entire hell! I hurried up, graduated from high school at 16 and got the hell out of that place. I turned out ok, work in the legal field, live in Las Vegas. I did forgive my foster parents before they died."
The Forgotten One
"My brother and I worked for a farmer one summer, and he paid us with a used car. At the end of the next year, my brother graduated high school, so my parents paid me out for my half of the car, and that was his graduation gift. I gave them all a big discount compared to what it was worth. So like $500 for my share of a $2500 car."
"2 years later, and I needed $50 for some graduation fees, so I borrowed it from my mom until I could get to the bank. (Before mobile banking and ATMs everywhere.) Later, when my mom is telling me they invited all their friends over for a 'graduation' party, I asked if they had gotten a gift for me. "Well I gave you fifty bucks."
"I paid it back the next day, and she didn't blink. The 'graduation party' was just my parents friends, who said congratulations to me, but it wasn't really for me. A few years later, my little sister graduated, she got a car. They bought a used car for her, and our other little sister got the same when she graduated. My parents are mostly nice, and I never felt like they singled me out at birthdays or anything. Just my graduation seemed like I turned invisible."
Office Party Fail
"HR complaint from two subordinates fighting over how to throw me a surprise birthday party."
"I've never worked in an office environment, but the stories I've heard of people being required to buy a cake for the whole office and to celebrate their birthday with their coworkers would be enough to keep me in blue collar work for life, were it not for the fact that I love being active and working with my hands and could never sit at a desk all day anyway."
Basicslaw school finals GIFGiphy
"My Asian mom's gift was "no extra Kumon homework after school homework" so my birthday gift was that I didn't get extra homework from her."
Regifting is trash behavior. Do better. I'd rather you just say I forgot. Or... I just don't care for that much. But regifting? No.
"Stomach flu and my first ever period, at the same time. I think it was my 13th birthday."
"Omg, exact same story for me. It was my 13th birthday and my family took us kids to visit our relatives in Subsaharan Africa for the first time. I was sick, jetlagged, overheated and riding down a bumpy road in a Jeep driven by my dad in the complete darkness. We had just eaten at a restaurant where I found a giant scarab beetle in the bottom of my soup bowl. I have flashbacks to this day."
"My grandparents have been gifting me (and my brother) the same set of three vice grips for almost 10 years. Collectively we have 60 vice grips. I don't know if they bought a pallet of them, or where they are coming from. GET A GRIP GRANDMA!"
"I had a friend who's father was famous for doing Christmas shopping at the last minute. One year she complained that she went downstairs on Christmas morning and found, sticking out of her stocking, a spatula. Her birthday was a few days after telling that story, so myself and her friends all decided to get together and get her spatulas for her birthday, as a gag gift."
"Well, when it was our birthdays she retaliated. Which lead to a counter-offensive. And soon a new tradition was formed. And guys, I have so many spatulas now. Everything from dollar store cheap plastic, to hand-carved spatulas, a golden spatula, and even a replica of the famous Malaysian fighting spatula."
"I've got seasonal spatulas. As in, today it's time to pack away the Christmas spatulas and bring out the heart-shaped Valentine's day ones, followed by the bunny-shaped Easter ones. We've also been passing around this clip from the Weird Al Yankovic movie UHF. "Spatula City, we sell spatulas, and that's all!"
Their ultimate whack-a-doo move...
"A pair of homemade custom pajamas. Only problem was that they weren't made yet. It was just the fabric and a promise to make them for me. I had to give the fabric back and I never got the pajamas."
"Nothing legal just at our wedding they gave us a card that basically said 'have some land.' When the dust settled I asked what they thought we would do with it, they said build a home. I said ok, gonna need legal ownership for like building a house. They said sure we will get right on that. Then they decide to sell out and retire and never mentioned our wedding 'gift' again."
Gross...Disgusted Steve Carell GIFGiphy
"My grandma got me a hairbrush with a plastic horse head handle. The horse head was all chipped up and there was hair in the brush."
"My Godfather sent me a Birthday card each year which said, he paid 100 bucks to a bank account which I was supposed to get, when 16yo. He then got into alcohol, used all the money and died."
Oh for God sake, why even bother giving anything at all? Lint rollers, used brushes, homemade pjs... y'all ever hear of a gift card? Just put five bucks on it and call it a day. You can't hide cheap, so stop trying.
I'm still on the fence about this whole extraterrestrial situation. I need more proof. Now I'm not naive enough to think that in this vast, endless universe only the human race exists. I just need proof, tangible, solid, didn't see it from my trailer through beer goggles proof.
I also need proof about the afterlife, another out there topic. Truth be told, I've never been that into this whole conversation. I've got enough daily problems on this planet, let alone worrying about making Will Smith's biggest hits into documentaries and not just popcorn/comedy space farce.
But let's compare thoughts...
Redditor u/ValencikHannibal197 wanted to discuss life beyond this planet, what do we really think? They asked:
What's the best theory on UFOs or aliens you've ever heard??
I definitely wouldn't turn down an excursion to AREA 51. I'd like to poke around and get a sense of the place. I've never personally been up close and face to face with a "non-Earther." Not sure I'd like to be...
TV Truthx files monkey pee GIF by The X-FilesGiphy
"UFOs/Aliens are a cover for all of the secret projects that the government is working on. Actually stole that from the X files."
"How human birth parallels alien abductions:
- Babies are taken from their home (womb)
- They still developing sight, so they see bright lights and grey figures.
- They hear an "alien" language they don't understand.
- They suddenly feel cold after leaving their womb.
- They are in a surgery room being poked with tons of instruments.
Long story short: some people suggest that abductions are just people who had memories of their birth."
In the Mind
"I just don't think anyone will ever see this. But I think that UFO's are the projection of our unconscious collective mind. Everything that exists in reality, also exists, in our immaterial mind. Is it possible that the insides of our mind are also just one drop in the ocean of consciousness... and together we create the material reality were in, simply by experiencing it in a real way, inside-out through our senses."
"My father was an aircraft mechanic and fabricator for test and spy aircraft for the USAF. He spent 75-85 working with test aircraft. He said that when they were going to do a test, that could possibly be seen by the public, they would make a betting pool on how many UFO reports local authorities and flight towers received."
Under the Seasci-fi ufo GIFGiphy
"I like the idea that some UFOs aren't machines. Instead they are some sort of Upper-Atmosphere Jellyfish. I found the issue of Fortean Times that had this article. Here's the cover: http://ft.gjovaag.com/q/images/a/ae/FT291.jpg"
Interesting. There are some ideas we can look into. None of it proof, but possibilities. There are certainly plenty of future film ideas.
"We are like that un contacted tribe and everyone agrees not to bother us."
"I've heard it explained from a channel (idk if you know what channeling is) kinda like this. First of all, we as a species tend to freak out, shoot first and ask questions later. Most humans would have a literal psychotic break. You have to believe in vibrational energy as it relates to our consciousness."
"The aliens (certain ones) are at such a higher level that it would be jarring for us to come in close contact with. We are slowly getting there but it's a process. Like 2012, end of the Mayan calendar, wasn't the end of the world it was the end of an energy cycle that we as the human race had never made it past before."
"Previous civilizations have been destroyed or destroyed themselves before they got this far. We passed a point where we are very unlike to destroy ourselves anymore. This doesn't mean we won't see some real bad hardships yet but we will keep progressing."
"train your eyes"Dancing GIFGiphy
"I was a firm believer in t em when I was in high school and kept googling theories and info in my spare time and during my study halls. They said their bodies were so lightweight or something that the reason why you can't see the evidence is that they disintegrate before hitting the ground."
"And then LOL it was so funny, some people would swear you could "train your eyes" to see rods... HhhahAHAHAHA. Like there were these experts. Video showed him walking around with a serious face, then pointing. And he's like, "that was one just there." "You can't see them, you have to be used to them... like me."
"I've spent many years immersed into hunting them finding them. That's why I can see them." And then one day China, who loves occult stuff, had like a lab that set up a nighttime camera to capture footage of rods at night... then realized they were normal bugs at overexposure. lol"
"The Dark Forest theory. Basically the theory that the reason we haven't made contact is because all the other civilized life in the universe/galaxy knows not to broadcast their location. They've learned that there's something awful or predatory lurking in the dark forest of our galaxy, and that it's better if they keep to themselves."
"That the universe is so vast that we haven't been discovered yet."
"This makes sense to me because traversing the distance to or from even our our stellar neighbors would require technology that is not known to us now or likely to be known by us anytime soon if it's even possible at all. To assume without evidence that aliens could possess this technology and have visited us does not meet my skeptical standards."
Back and Forthback to the future great scott GIFGiphy
"Time travel exists, and UFO sightings are actually future humans coming back to our time. That is why they are so discreet, and never openly make contact."
I hope time travel exists. Now that I'm onboard for. If aliens do exist... just come on out guys. We could probably use your help.