The Collector Store

Senior Tommie Schaljo Uses Her Tattoos to Tell Stories of Her Life


Credit to Etaf Abdallah

Tommie Schaljo showcasing three of her tattoos to show how events in life have effected her and to tell stories through tattoo designs. Schaljo has 11 tattoos total

For most people tattoos are a form of self expression. They can represent one’s deepest darkest secrets. A way to remember loved ones and those who have passed, or they can simply showcase art and things people love. However, for senior Tommie Schaljo, her eleven tattoos are used to showcase all of the above and so much more.

“I get tattoos because I feel like they mean more than just the picture,” Schaljo said. “I try to lean away from getting words… I’d rather tell the story of my tattoos rather than you reading that and you’re like, ‘Oh, I get it.’ It’s like a conversation starter” 

Not only are tattoos a way for Schaljo to tell stories, they are a right of passage. Tattoos have been a big part of the Schaljo family and by extension, Tommie herself. Her first tattoo was a tattoo that all her siblings got. A family tattoo that holds significant sentimental value.

“Growing up in my family they all had tattoos, it’s almost like a tradition that just everybody would have had tattoos,” Schaljo said. “Some siblings have more than the others but I always just looked up to my brother who had so many… My first tattoo is my six of six. It’s almost like a tradition that my brother would pay for our first tattoo and it’s a family one so it means I’m the sixth kid of six children. So everybody has it.“

Deciding what to get as a tattoo can be a daunting task considering the fact that whatever is decided will be on someone’s body for the rest of their life. This is a decision Schaljo doesn’t take lightly. While Schaljo plans on getting a lot more tattoos in the future right now she’s focusing on tattoo number twelve. A tattoo that she’s been planning for awhile now.

“So I used to have nine ferrets and now I have eight and I’ve been wanting to get a ferret tattoo for a bit,” Schaljo said. “I just didn’t know how I should do it or whatnot. So I’m going to get a cartoon ferret holding a jasmine flower in honor of the ferret I lost a few months back. Her name was Jasmine. It’s just one of those hidden gems like someone thinks it’s just a flower but really it symbolizes something else.”