Do my tattoos bother you?

I’m fascinated by the debates about body piercings and tattoos. Maybe I’m more tuned into them than the average person, but I’m fascinated.

I’m fascinated by tattoo art.
I’m fascinated by tattoo artists and how they got their start.
I’m fascinated by the reasons people get their tattoos.
I’m fascinated by people who hate tattoos.

I work in Corporate America, so I have to hide my two tattoos. It’s just not acceptable to show them. I’m okay with that because it’s just how it is. Not necessarily defending, I just don’t choose to take on that battle. It’ll be difficult this summer when other women are wearing pretty open shoes and nice tops with pretty necklines. But, I’m okay with it. It’s the profession I’m in.

At home, I watch tattoo shows with my kids. We talk about the art, the process, why people get them or get them removed. One of the funniest questions I’ve ever heard was from the friend of one of my kids, “Did you get that in prison?” Why, yes, yes, I did. They typically give full color foot tattoos of grapes and grape vines in prison. And, yes, I was in prison. Ummmm No. I went to a tattoo parlor and a really amazing artist did his magic.

Why did I get grapes and vines tattooed on my foot, you ask? A bunch of reasons. HAR HAR

Tattoos are such personal decisions and tend to have very personal significance. Some people want to share, but some meanings are just too complicated to share, much like my grapes. My other tattoo is also complex in its significance to me.

These personal decisions, these personal statements are why I don’t understand why other people are so offended by someone else’s tattoos. I haven’t heard of someone forcing a tattoo on someone (I believe that would be a punishable offense). Outside of religious reasons to not get a tattoo, does it matter who has one or doesn’t?

When I came home with my first, one of my kids was excited, one didn’t really care and one cried because I was forever changed. Now, four years later, two of my kids (my daughters) believe they’ll get tattoos when they are older. My only rules are that they wait until they are older so they don’t end up getting a face tattoo on a whim, they think through what they want and, if possible, pick a place they can cover it, if necessary. Now, this is a mom talking. These are my daughters. If I end up with wedding photos 20 years from now in which my employed daughters are wearing their wedding dresses with full-sleeve tattoos, I have to be okay with that. Their bodies are theirs, not mine.

Tattoo art is an amazing skill. One wrong move and your canvas is forever changed. He/she can’t erase and start over. It takes a skilled eye and hand to look at the soft, curved medium on which to work, determine the correct placement and stay focused for hours at a time to create a forever piece of art.

I don’t have to like the sugar skull, pin-up girl, portrait or tribal someone else has, but I try to step back and look at the tattoo for what it is – self-expression of one of the highest degrees. A thought or feeling from a moment in time captured forever by an artist.

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Patricia J Grace

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