Earning My Soldier Wings: My First Linkin Park Tattoo

I’ve wanted a tattoo, since I was in my (totally lame) freshman year of senior high. I remember I’d want a Pokémon like Charmander or Rapidash, or a fairy- or the Linkin Park soldier. Four years passed, many more ideas passed through my head, and I am forever grateful that despite my intense want for it, not only was I convinced the pain would be too much, but I was sensible enough to think ‘maybe I should wait to be sure….’

Being all talk but never doing anything was also a problem back then. Either way, year after year I would go on without a drive to get a tattoo like I’d say I would.

Then, A Thousand Suns came along. That year, was the year I changed for the better; more volunteering, more involvement in causes, reaching out to more people- Linkin Park made an obvious, big growth, so I let myself grow as well. And the lyrics- that whole album lifted me up and let me go (next tattoo, by the way) and it became my everything. I listened to nothing but that entire album and over time, I realized I was happier than ever before.

Linkin Park used to let go for me; now, I’ve learned to let go with them, all on my own, and I find peace within more and more everyday.

That’s why, after having forgotten all about getting a tattoo for a while, I knew I had to keep my word when I suddenly knew what my tattoo would be; I was changing out of my ATS hoodie after the Power the World concert, a breathtaking night of new friends, memories, my set list from Phoenix, a night with old friends, a night we Underground members gave back. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the wing from the ATS art book right on my blade, on the hoodie.

And I just knew it.

So, determined to go through with what I say I’d do, and determined to find out just how much this record really did mean to me, I started to ask for shops, and go as far as six hours from home to meet different artists and see their portfolios, asking them “can you do this?” as I (gently) smack down my art book in front of them. I had many straight up “I can’t” and “not sure,” and I also had many that would puff out their chest and smirk, saying “yeah, I can do that” real smooth… looking at their portfolios, it was obvious they wouldn’t be able to, though.

Eventually, sometime early in July, I accidentally met Saul Vargas having gone to the shop looking for someone else. Thirty minutes talking with him, I knew I had found my artist.

Having my tattoo design, my artist, date (further down the line to not only save up but be certain it’s what I wanted) and estimate, I just needed one more thing- I needed to be the only one.

As proud as I am to be a Soldier, as much as I love the winged Soldier and the evolved LP symbol; it’s not mine, it’s branded on hundreds of others. That aside, even though Hybrid Theory was the start of it all, it wasn’t the album, I had no connection to it anymore- which I’m happy about! I’m glad I don’t connect anymore to angry, angsty lyrics. So I started my search of every Linkin Park tattoo on the LPU thread, on the regular site, on blogs, on Google, on Tumblr.

I stalked the internet- and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen almost every Linkin tattoo in existence- making sure no one had my wing for six months.

December 17th, I had not found one known tattoo of my wing, so Dayna and I headed over to Venice, and my first wing was grown.

One thought on “Earning My Soldier Wings: My First Linkin Park Tattoo

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