"... that you don't have to tell someone but you can just have seen." It's a very easy way to express something that you thought represented part of your identity that will still be seen when you don't think that anymore. If I were a young, failing artist again, I'd learn how to tattoo. And I'd specialize in custom designs that add material to existing tattoos to make them express what the person with the inky skin thinks represents part of his identity now.
ADDED: As I've said before, "tattoos remind you of death," and I love the idea of your body -- your body, not mine -- as a game of Exquisite Corpse.