I am not a criminal, I am not a drop out, I am not mean, I am not scary.
I am simply a woman with tattoos.
I have multiple large tattoos on my arms, legs, and hand, and I plan to obtain many more. Not because of the attention, not because I think that they will make me “cool”, not because they are all the rage right now, and not because I want people to think that I am a “hard-ass”. I solely get tattoos because I love them.
I have so much passion for every new piece of artwork. I love that I can put all of my trust into an artist who has NO eraser. It is thrilling! It is a massive leap of faith. I can almost feel my adrenaline racing thinking about the buzzing when you walk into a tattoo studio. At the end of your session(s), these artists give you this one of a kind gift on your skin that you can admire for a lifetime. A piece of ornate and meaningful artwork that you can proudly display on your body.
I love them because they make me feel sexy. Many fear that word, but I am going to scream it: I feel sexy! Sexiness is nothing to be afraid of! Some women feel sexy when they wear a new dress, when they speak in front of a crowd, when they wear heels, or when they go to the gym. I feel sexy all of the time with my tattoos (side note; I have never felt sexy at 6am, and no amount of tattoos will ever cure that). These pieces are unique to me and no one else in the world will ever have or could ever duplicate this lifelong artwork.
I look at my skin like some women look at their bare walls in a new home;
I think I’ll put some ink here.
Now there is a bare spot.
I’ll just add a little more ink.
Ugh, another bare spot.
Well, now it’s off balance..
Guess I should get some more ink.
Repeat x 100
It can get be exhilaratingly addicting.
More and more people are filling their bodies with artwork everyday; sentimental artwork, emotional artwork, complex artwork, hilarious and sometimes stupid artwork, but at the end of the day – we are decorating our bodies with a beautiful message for ourselves.
You would think that since our generation has made these everlasting accessories so common, that the looks and the questioning would be entirely less harsh.
But being a woman, let alone a mother, with an increasing amount of tattoos can be very emotionally exhausting… I have had people approach me to tell me that my children deserve a better life than what I am probably giving them.. (!!!!) Ouch. I get the daunting bystanders who enjoy telling me how beautiful I am without body art. I get people who come up to me in the grocery store to tell me “Well, I would never get that!” or “You look so scary!” I remind myself, “grain of salt, grain of salt, take that with a grain of salt..”
It can become very hurtful. Sometimes I question whether it will interfere with future career endeavors. Sometimes I question if I’m not as beautiful anymore because of what I’ve done to my skin. But then I look around me.. I see two happy children, I see an amazing husband, I see my writing, I see my supportive family and friends, I see ME. I am alluring. My skin does not bite and this artwork will not jump out at humanity. Why would I want to work for anyone who cannot look past my skin – my story?
I feel that we sign an invisible contract when we commit to that needle.. A contract that states: “I understand that I am more susceptible to public opinion. I understand that people will be curious. I understand that some individuals will ridicule me for my decisions. I understand that this is okay.”
Why would we put ink on our skin and expect people to not react? That is like wearing large pink bunny ears on your head and being offended that people glance up. We should expect it!
While I probably sound like a tattoo junkie, I want to add that there is absolutely NO problem with not wanting tattoos. They are not for everyone. They are a major commitment and unless you have the right concept and the perfect artist to execute your masterpiece to perfection, then you shouldn’t get one.. or you should wait! I merely wish that there was deeper mutual respect between those with ink and those without. I think, for women, the confusion comes from a social standard of what we are supposed to be: soft, delicate, pure.. But let’s throw that wallflower preconception aside!
I understand that one day they will begin to sag and they will fade, they will finish out their vibrant glory days and take on their remaining life as dark ink blots, but I will not regret them. They have made me happy. They have been a part of me. They will be in every picture and in every memory that my children will have of me. I know that with these marks, I have truly lived.
Venus image via Mallory Jarrell thatswhatshesaidart.wordpress.com