Do tattoos have to have a meaning?

I had a rather interesting conversation recently with someone about tattoos. They hadn't been tattooed, and started a lot of their opinions with, "No offence..". Don't get me wrong, they're a lovely well-meaning acquaintance, but I just find it funny hearing people's opinions about getting tattoos, especially after some wine!


Anyhow, the theory I was told that one day, when I'm older, I'll be able to look back at the tattoos that I say have zero meaning, and I'll have an epiphany that they actually do have a meaning. That all tattoos have a subconscious meaning, and it simply isn't possible that they are random choices.

It just reminded me that we all see the world through our own eyes. They simply couldn't fathom how anyone could just pick something for fun, or because it looks cool, or because the design just caught their eye. However, just because we can't understand something, doesn't mean it is true.  

I have used tattoos as a tool for healing, like many tattooed people do; some of mine are for people I've loved and lost, or for experiences that have shaped me. But most have no meaning at all. The hot air balloon on my shin doesn't stand for a desire for freedom, or a dream I have of running away to the circus. It's just a hot air balloon I fancied getting.  Honest ;-)