Lately, there seems to be a plethora of articles pitching up on my home feed about tattoos and the personalisation of the body. I figure that it must be some sort of divine sign showing me the importance of discussing this issue.
I’m often confused by the brazen approach and the brash questions which come in numbers and are often rude but that doesn’t matter right, why concern yourself with manners when I have tattoos.
but what do they mean?
What will I do when I get old? How does my husband feel about my tattoos? Don’t our nose rings get caught together when we kiss (because my husband has a nose ring too)? Do I regret them? Did it hurt? How much did it cost? Couldn’t my money be put to better use? Why the grim reaper? What made me decide to get tattooed? What will I do when my kids want to get tattoos as well? Have you looked into getting them removed? What will I tell Jesus when I get to heaven? and my personal favourite… What do they mean?
There are also statements I hear all the time too, it seems not only do people have the right to question my choices but also inform me of why my choices were wrong. That’s a bit dark (when they see them)! You were perfect without them! You used to be such a beautiful young lady! You should have gotten something prettier like a butterfly!
Invasion of privacy
I can’t even begin to process why people think it’s okay to ask these kinds of questions. I would never walk up to someone and say, “oh you know your wife is kinda unattractive, I really don’t like the shape of her nose, why did you choose that one? couldn’t you have chosen a more pretty looking wife?” This might seem exaggerated but that’s what it feels like when you ask us these questions.
Why did I get a grim reaper? Honestly, because I thought it looked cool. Why do I have such dark images tattooed on me? I’m just that kind of girl. How much did they cost? Probably more than you think it should have but the truth is, when I’m choosing where to get ink done, I’m not thinking about the most cost-effective option. I’m thinking about the value of choosing an artist who will understand what I need done and do a really good job of putting it on my skin where it will stay for life. So yeah it cost a lot but my tattoos are something I’m proud of. I look in the mirror (half the time I don’t even see them anymore to be honest) and I see art. As for whether I’ll get tired of them, I haven’t gotten tired of my right arm yet so I’m going to go with no!
Stories in time
My tattoos each tell a story. From the lizard I got done at the age of 19 as an act of rebellion against my dad which I ended up covering up because I needed the space for a bigger tattoo, to the deeply personal 695 I have in memory of my father. Each of my tattoos tells a story but the story isn’t based on what the tattoo is. The story is about a time in my life when I got that particular tattoo and what was going on at the time. The two may be completely unrelated but I wear them on my body with pride and I don’t necessarily feel like sharing the “back story” with a complete stranger. Oh and yes, that’s a real thing. People in the street ask questions about my nose ring, about my tattoos. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. There I am, buying a pack of gum when suddenly the person at the till asks “did it hurt?” for a second I’m not even sure what they mean but then I see them staring at my nose. “Oh um, no not really” I manage to say before scuttling away before the next question pops out “do you have any others?” Seriously. If I did, and you can’t see them, do you think I’m going to stand here and tell you the intimate details of my body? Next you’ll ask me about my menstrual cycle. Go on, we’ve come this far. We’re practically besties by now.
I don’t often show people my tattoos because I didn’t get them to show other people how cool I am (which is what people often think tattoos are about) but because I wanted them. To be perfectly honest, I don’t care if people ever know I have them or not. If you go to the beach with me, you’ll probably see them but usually people react with surprise when they discover for the first time that I’m not the “nice normal girl” they thought I was (guess I’ve blown my cover now).
Occasionally I don’t mind showing them to people, but the best part is when people realise I have them in the first place. Apparently I “just don’t look like the kind of girl who has so many tattoos” ha ha it’s comments like those that make me smile. Hopefully I am exactly what someone with tattoos looks like. Everyone else.
Girls with tattoos
My friend J has tattoos. Not hidden like mine but all over and very visible. Her tattoos are beautiful and some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen are the photos of her with her arms all wrapped around her sons. Images like that always make me smile because I hope somewhere, someone is changing their mind about “girls with tattoos” because girls with tattoos have the potential to be just like girls without. We grow into women, we can be just as classy, just as loving, just as kind and can be as kick ass at motherhood as any one could without tattoos.
Having tattoos doesn’t make you more likely to be a drug addict, it doesn’t make you more likely to fail in life. It just means that person liked tattoos and went out and got some. And yes, it hurt like hell!