Hanna-Kaisa

I planned my first tattoo for three years. Even though the tattoo itself is small, it was a big thing for me to get tattooed in the first place since there weren’t any tattooed people in my family, and my friends didn’t have any tattoos either.

The meaning of my first tattoo derives from my school years. The comprehensive school was difficult for me in many ways. As a kid, I had only one friend who moved away when I was in the 5th grade, so by the 6th grade, I didn’t have any friends in my class. At the beginning of the 6th grade one of the boys in my class started to bully me. There were many kinds of harassment in general: talking behind my back, excluding me from the group and things like that. When I told my teacher about bullying, everyone else in our class took the bully’s side.

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I was a pretty serious kid, and I spent lots of time in the library or at home with my family. During the upper levels of comprehensive school I had one friend, but still I felt lonely. When I finally got out of comprehensive school, I intentionally chose to apply for a different upper secondary school than my former classmates.

The years in upper secondary school were great in every way, and you could say that during that time I was pretty over the moon. Suddenly I got many new friends, and since I had spent so much time alone in the past, I had to learn how to make friends and spend time with them. In comprehensive school, other kids had called me by a nickname which I didn’t like at all, but in my new school, my friends called me by my real name, and it felt really good. During the second year, I also met my boyfriend who is now my husband

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Everything changed again as my upper secondary school ended. At first, I dreamed of studying journalism or something like that, but eventually, I ended up studying business economics. The upper secondary school was based on a classless model so the studying was pretty free in general, but the new school had these traditional year groups just like in comprehensive school. Already on the orientation week I noticed that people started to form their own cliques, and all of a sudden, I found myself again in a situation where I was an outsider.

The new school was largely based on group works. As students were allowed to form their own groups, I got bounced between groups because nobody would actually want me to join their group. It all felt just like going back to comprehensive school – the only exception was that this time we were already adults, not kids.

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Things were good outside school, but because of my studies, I felt constantly stressed and sad. For the first time in my life I started skipping school. I would always wake up early in the morning and take my dogs for a walk, but after that, I just couldn’t bring myself to go to school. My parents started to suspect that I was depressed, but in reality, it was just my studies that were making me feel low. Finally, I decided to drop out of school completely.

I got the Fighter tattoo a couple of years after I had quit school and got into working life. I think it’s nice that the tattoo is placed on a spot where I can easily see it myself: it reminds me of everything that I’ve already been through and encourages me to keep on surviving.

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I got my next tattoos a year after the first one. I have known since my teenage years that one day I want to get a rescue dog. My family never had any pets when I was little, but I’ve always loved animals nevertheless – when I was a kid, I would read every book about dogs that I could just get my hands on.

After my husband and I moved together, we started to think about getting a dog, but first we wanted to wait for the right moment. By the time we got our first dog, we already had many other pets in our home. In the beginning, there were only my husband’s cat Mauku, and later we got two more cats and a couple of hamsters, too.

We got our first rescue dog in 2013. At first we tried to find an adoptable dog from Finland, but none of them seemed to be the right one for us. Most of the dogs were either too big, didn’t get along with cats or weren’t used to live in an apartment house. Then we started to search from animal shelters abroad, and finally, in autumn, we got our first rescue dog Melody via Finnish organization Kulkurit.

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Melody

After that, we’ve been able to give a home to three more rescue dogs: Mindy, Melly and Meea.

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Melly (white), Meea (brown) and Mindy

When I decided to get a tattoo dedicated to my pets, I was quite certain that I would choose something else than a portrait of each of them – they would’ve soon covered my whole body! Instead, I got a letter M, which is dedicated to all the pets in my life: for those who I own now and for those who are yet to come.

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I got the idea for my third tattoo when I was searching for tattoos that would symbolize hearing loss. I was born hard of hearing, and I got my first hearing aids when I was five years old. Originally, my parents started to suspect my hearing loss when I was listening to audiobooks and would always turn on the volume so loud that they had to come from another room to turn it down again. They took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with hearing loss in my both ears.

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By getting this tattoo, I have accepted that my hearing loss will always be a part of me. It affects my life in certain ways, and for example, I can’t always hear the doorbell ringing or could never get a job that would include big group meetings or other demanding hearing situations. Sometimes I may speak too loudly, and it’s important that I can see the person who I’m talking with. Still, I think that being hard of hearing doesn’t limit my life that much after all. At least living in an apartment building suits me just fine, because usually I don’t wear my hearing aids at home, so I don’t hear any noise from my neighbors either!

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The tattoo came out to be larger than I expected, and at first, I was a bit of shocked that the tattooist wanted to make it so big. Somehow, this tattoo is just so bold, whereas I don’t consider myself to be a particularly bold person. I hesitated as soon as I saw the original drawing of this, but the tattooist wanted to do it this way. As time has passed, I’ve slowly started to get used to this tattoo and see it as a part of me.

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I always find it hard to make decisions considering tattoos – I mean, how can you be sure that you will like a certain tattoo for the rest of your life? Still, in the future, I would love to get more tattoos, someday even bigger ones as well. But before I will get tattooed again, I want to make sure that I find myself the right artist. The distance doesn’t matter that much – I could easily imagine myself traveling even to the other side of the world to get a tattoo by someone whose style I really love.

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