You don’t know.
“You know the one where you turn upside down and do a ‘Hang On’, basically? I have one there on my back, just below my neckline, where I was born, and it says ‘I’m not ready for the real world…’ ”
As for the tattoo that says ‘I feel like I belong, and have no place to belong’, the real-life Samoan people are not always happy with the label.
They say they see a Samoan tattoo that may as well have been written in a foreign language on their foreheads.
Image copyright Matt Brown Image copyright Matt Brown Image caption Samoan tattoo: ‘I feel the real world does not belong to me, but I’ll try my best’
“These tattoos on our bodies, in terms of what’s written on them, are an example of what people get up to on their minds that aren’t necessarily the person’s thinking,” says Chris Dyer, a New Zealand-based tattoo artist.
The tattoo on the right arm of the tattoo artist, for instance, is written in Samoan-Celtic script, which is “probably the world’s easiest language” he says, and is only spoken by around 10,000 Samoans.
The people with the two other tattoos on their face say it’s what they have for good reason.
“When you go from this one thing to another, one of them is not going to be for you, they’re going to make you feel better,” says the Samoan tattooist, with an accent as deep and Samoan as they come. “Because it is about that inner space you need to keep moving towards a better place.”
Image copyright Matt Brown Image caption Samoan tattoo: ‘I’ve come back to life, and am no longer a stranger to myself’
One tattoo he says he does is a “love symbol”, a sign of love that comes across in so many ways.
“It’s an old-fashioned tattoo, so I’m putting it on my body for sentimental reasons, because I’m actually quite proud of how many people were actually happy to accept me – and the love I get there,” he says.
“I can’t really explain the symbolism behind it, really, but it’s there for some reason, I just have no idea why, and I don’t think I ever will because it’s just me.”
Dying to tell them
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