My first memory of a tattoo was the old-school rose inked on my grandfather’s forearm and how beautiful it looked with its vivid colors and cursive script spelling out my grandmother’s name in loops. My grandma, on the other hand, despised the ink regardless of the homage to her. To her it was disgracing and an eyesore.
Now, I know there are two people in this world when it comes to tattoos: my grandma and me. If you’re like my grandma you can’t stand them. If you’re like me then you admire them. You may even have a few for yourself. Now, this is going to be aimed at the former of those two: the anti-tattoo people. I am not writing to tell you to go out and get the first tattoo that you can find and I am not writing to tell you to accept every tattoo out there. I simply want you to stop, breathe, and think before you judge the ink. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told to cover up my beautiful tattoos or given sideways looks due to the work on my skin. Now I get that you don’t want them, but why judge my personal decision? It’s no different than when you decide to augment your appearance or augmenting your self-image, whether that is through Botox or even by learning a foreign language. I don’t criticize you on those or go out of my way to emphasize my disgust. A tattoo is an intensely personal decision, so just remember that the ink that you see has a story and that the individual sporting it loved it so much they wanted it on themselves forever. Yes, I know tattoos are popular in the prison system and the gang culture but they have such a beautiful history aside from that too. It is known for being part of tradition in most cultures and it is an art form. Yes, the deprecation of tattoos based off of those less appealing aspects is understandable but it also is incorrect to judge a whole group of people based off of a small unfavorable segment. Fixating on one negative portion is depriving the greater tattoo community from some much-needed respect. Next time you see someone with some ink, look at it and ask them about it. Most people with tattoos, no matter how they look, get stoked when someone asks them about their ink. I love it; it gives me a chance to share some of my favorite literature with people. Now, I can never change how my grandma feels about tattoos but I have gotten her to respect my personal decisions. If you walk away from this article with anything, just have it be that people with tattoos are no different than you. Instead of buying a canvas, they turned their bodies into the canvas. Tattoos are like little memories and if you ever want a good story, speak up and spark a conversation. I am not asking you to change your life drastically, simply to respect your fellow humans with tattoos. They’re like walking art galleries, look past the stigma and even take the chance to learn something about their decision. You can stay like my grandmother, but please don’t judge me before I speak just based off of illustrations on my skin.
Photo Source: www.zastavki.com