WELLNESS
12/15/2015 12:13 pm ET

8 Things People With Tattoos Want You To Know

"I am proud to look down at my skin."

A tattoo may tell its owner's whole story, or it might have no specific meaning at all. Some were spur-of-the-moment decisions, and others result from lifetimes of heartache, fear, patience or joy. 

One thing most tattoo owners do agree on is that their ink is a high form of art that's made to be appreciated, not stigmatized. We asked our Facebook communities to share things they wish others knew about their tattoos. For starters... 

1. No, it wasn't the result of a "long night" out. 

"People have asked if I was drunk when I got my tattoos. I understand it does happen, but no reputable shop or responsible artist would tattoo an intoxicated client." --Lisa Marie via Facebook

2. And yes, they'll still be beautiful when we're older. 

"My tattoos do not give anyone the right to stare at me, or judge me, or ask the oft-repeated question, 'But have you thought about what they'll look like when you're older?' Just like everyone else, my skin will start to wrinkle and sag and the images I wear will eventually become distorted, but isn't that part of their beauty?" --Elizabeth Moran via Facebook 

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3. Tattoos don't always have to "mean something."

"Some of us just like their beauty and artistry. I am proud to look down at my skin and see a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork." --Elizabeth Moran via Facebook

4. But sometimes, they are incredibly personal.

"I have a mental illness awareness ribbon on my right hand... I'm not ashamed of my illness, and I did this to show others it's ok." --Amy Simpson via Facebook

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5. Sometimes, we're hiding them from you on purpose.

"As much as I love my tattoos, it's sometimes nice to be covered up in the winter because I know that's not the first thing people are looking at. Many people compliment them, which is really lovely, but there are definitely more than a couple judgmental stares." --Mia Wheeler via Facebook

6. We don't necessarily love every tattoo we've gotten. 

"Do I think the dolphin on my lower back represents current 30-year-old me? No, but it did when I was 18. It's like having a map of my adult life on my body." --Kayli Schaaf via Facebook

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7. Just because we have one doesn't mean we have to show it off. 

"People tend to ask, 'Why did you bother to get them if you hide them?' They don't understand that I didn't get my tattoos for anybody else but myself. They're reminders of people and moments that were important to me." --Paige Tomas-Suffel via Facebook

8. Tattoos do not make us less responsible humans.

"I've lost good friends because of my tattoos -- they didn't want to be associated with my 'negative, deviant lifestyle.' But in reality, my tattoos have kept me alive." -Jordanne Tillman via Facebook 

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