A few nights back I started writing my next installment of The Way I “C” It and one of the topics that I had chosen to write about was the broad world of Tattoos. I realized, though, after only a few short minutes that what began as a short blurb became a full blown blog about the topic. Apparently I had far more to say on tattooing than I had originally thought so I decided to eliminate it from next week’s installmentand give it the space that it deserves. Here are my thoughts and I welcome yours as well:
Let me be the first to say that tattoos are no longer as taboo as they once were. In fact they are so ubiquitous now, that it’s strange to walk down a street and meet someone without a tattoo somewhere on his or her body. Anyone from a mechanic to a school teacher may have them hidden away somewhere without any of us even knowing it. We all get tattoos for different reasons: to commemorate the life of someone lost, to mark a significant change or milestone in one’s life, or to simply express a facet of someone’s being. No matter the reason, tattoos are making their mark upon the world.
When it comes to tattoos I will admit that many are trashy, poorly done, and most likely the result of poor decision making skills. I would not, however, say that all tattoos are this way. I have seen tattoos that are more stunning than anything I could ever see in a museum or gallery. Tattooing is an art form and to argue otherwise is simply ridiculous. No matter your taste or personal stance on the subject, nobody can deny the art involved. It is time-consuming, detail-oriented, and demands incredible precision and talent. Like any other art form it requires effort and creativity.
I personally have six tattoos that I display publicly at work and whenever I leave the house. They are a large part of my identity and act as reminders of who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. Each image tells a story and reminds me of things when I begin to lose my way. With that being said I am a firm believer that each and every individual should have the right to express him or herself in any way he or she sees fit without the unkind and unwarranted comments from other people. Day in a day out I am met with things like “you look horrifying” to “you’re a child who cannot make proper adult decisions.” Comments like these made over the last four years that I have had my tattoos have driven me to a point where I would like to make myself perfectly clear about several things with regards to this topic:
- My tattoos are not trashy in the slightest and each one tells a story about my life. Furthermore, four of them are my own artwork so by condemning my tattoos you are insulting me as an artist.
- The decisions that I make about my body are my own and no one else’s. I am twenty-three years old and have had my tattoos for quite some time now; I spent over a year designing and deciding upon my first two tattoos. Not a single day has gone by where I have regretted my decision.
- You have no right to comment about something you know nothing about. It is fine to ask questions, but when you approach me with unkind words, you better be prepared for anything I have to say in response.
- Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Just because you find something unpleasant does not mean someone else will.
- You should never assume that those of us who have tattoos have not fully considered the repercussions of doing so. Yes, I have permanently marked my body, but how are you to know how I will feel about them ten or twenty years down the line. You are not me and your regrets may not be my regrets.
- Although my tattoos are a large part of my identity, they do not define me as a person. To assume you know the type of person I am by looking at my tattoos is a mistake on your part. Furthermore, people who meet me for the first time are stunned when I roll up my sleeves because they would “never expect” someone like me to have tattoos.
While some tattoos may be trashy or poorly done, others are beautiful and skillfully drawn. We all have different reasons for getting the tattoos we do, but one thing remains certain for all of us: our tattoos are not entirely indicative of who we are as people. Each one tells a story in some way. Instead of condemning the art, maybe those of you who are against it should take the time to approach it with curiosity and an open mind. You may find yourself discovering more about a person than what you originally would have by simply judging him or her on outward appearance. Open your mind; you may be surprised at what you learn about others and about yourself.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry
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