By Paige Asberry
Staff writer

Like any other art form, tattoos can tell stories about the person wearing them. They offer a chance for the wearer to express themselves – their likes, their style, and things that are important to them.

No two tattoos are exactly alike, nor have the same exact meaning. They are unique, individualistic, and a way of wordless storytelling.

Hutchinson freshman Elijah Pettigrew has two tattoos that are especially meaningful to him.

A tattoo sported by Hutchinson Community College freshman Eljah Pettigrew is a message to his mom.

“This one is my favorite. It says ‘be who you needed’,” Pettigrew said. “I grew up in foster care, and didn’t have a lot of people supporting me or surrounding me, so it’s my philosophy in life is to be the person that I needed in my life for people who are in similar situations. I want to be supportive for the people that are hurting, especially for those in foster care.

“I have the heart with the triangle through it right next to the words, and that’s the symbol for adoption. I was never adopted, though I so desperately wanted to be, and so when I’m older I want to adopt.”

Pettigrew has another quote tattooed that is special to him as well.

“This one says ‘please tell mom this is not her fault’,” Pettigrew said. “My mom blames herself a lot for the way that I grew up, and none of it was her fault. A lot of it was out of her control, and yet she still takes a lot of the blame on herself. So part of it is for her, as a message, and the other part of it is a reminder for me, that I have people I want to make proud. I came from down in the ditches, and I not only have people that I want to make proud, but also I want to be an inspiration.

“Those are my favorite, and probably the most meaningful.”

Andale freshman Payton Elkins said that there was lots of thought put into her tattoo before she got it.

“My tattoo represents my three brothers, not necessarily in birth order,” Elkins said. “Two of the butterflies are the same, to represent my twin brothers, and the middle one is different, for the brother that’s closest to me in age. The bottom butterfly is for my youngest brother, Mason, who had a head injury at 10-years old, and so one of the wings is bent instead of pointed. The top butterfly is for the other twin, Landon. Both of the wings are bent to represent how mental illness can be overcome.

A tattoo worn by HutchCC freshman Payton Elkins represents Elkins’ three brothers.

“The center butterfly is for Braxton, who is only 15 months younger than me. This one is in flight motion to show upbringing, and to show that he is growing and becoming who he is as a person.

“Each of the butterflies are unique in their own way, to show that people can be siblings, but each of them are different and special in their own right.”

Just like every tattoo.

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