I have permanent ink on my body that will be there for the rest of my life, so what? Tattoos have been something the old folks cringe at and the youth adore. Millenials have quite the sweet tooth for ink and I happen to be one of them. But with tattoos come judgments and hasty comments, for example:
“But what if she meets the man of her dreams and he doesn’t like her tattoos?”
Those were the words spoken by my grandmother after finding out I got my third tattoo, two birds on the fronts of my ankles. The contradiction of my grandmother’s statement actually made me laugh out loud. If the man of my dreams doesn’t like my tattoos, well frankly, he’s not the man of my dreams.
After lectures from the parents and more worrisome comments about my future, I was feeling frustrated and disappointed. Not over the fact that I got tattoos and my elders hated them, that wasn’t too shocking of a reaction, but by the fact that they were worried about the judgments I am going to face from other people.
I’m a student, I work at Panera Bread, I live in middle class suburbia, I don’t drink or smoke, I’m a Christian and I like spending my weekend nights eating ice cream and watching too many episodes of 19 Kids and Counting. I’m not a felon, I’ve only received one traffic ticket, but hey it was for an illegal U-turn after going to a YoungLife dance party, and I stand at the intimidating height of five-foot-one. I just happen to have tattoos too.
I’m not trying to list all the things that make me a great person, but what I am getting at is just because someone has tattoos doesn’t immediately make them some burnout kid who’s going to be stuck working at a fast food joint. These quick, irrational assumptions people make towards others’ appearances are what really grind my gears.
We’ve all heard it before, “tattoos are ways of self-expression,” but they aren’t for everybody and I understand that. I’m not going to call someone a sissy or “goody two shoes” because they don’t have tattoos and never plan on getting them. I’m not going to think they’re some preppy, boring person because they haven’t been inked up yet. So why should I be labeled for having tattoos? Or put in a box that I have to fit in because I now have tattoos?
This labeling can be seen in many other areas whether it’s gender, ethnic or racial backgrounds, clothing, or where someone is from. All these preconceived notions people make up in their minds for the way other people should be are not okay. It’s not up to you how I act or who I am. I get to choose that. Stereotypes tell people that they should stay in one lane; that they can’t stray from this one idea because of what they look like. This, my friends, keeps people from achieving and moving forward, it tears people down, and only let’s certain people become successful because they “look” like the person for the job. It holds you back from knowing someone for who they are as an actual person.
I understand that no matter how long I stand on my soapbox and preach about hasty judgments; people are still going to make them. But I still challenge others to take a step out of their own status quo for a second, and see people as human beings with their own opinions, personalities, interests, and feelings. I dare people to have a conversation with someone before forcing him or her into a box they don’t get to choose for themselves.
I will remain happy with my tattoos. I will not accept the judgments or comments that are made towards me because of them, but I will simply remain myself. I won’t backlash towards those who disagree with me and satisfy their thoughts that I’m some immature, young adult who is going to regret these things down the road. Maybe I will end up hating them and wonder what I was thinking, but why does it matter to you? I will continue to be myself, maybe get more tattoos, and when I do meet the man of my dreams, I will marry him and have an awesome, tatted up, world changing, kick ass family.