Tattoos are stories — marked in ink and blood — quietly traveling around us all day on shoulder blades and wrists and across entire backs. These stories can be powerful, uplifting and even heart-wrenching. They can symbolize a life-changing event, they can be in memory of someone special, or they might exist simply because they’re beautiful. We spoke with 26 women who shared photographs of their tattoos and the varied reasons they got them. Some tattoos came out of heartbreak, others from moments of celebration.