I'm watching the news today and am again angered by something I'm pretty passionate about. It gets me all fired up.
When I was 19, I got my first tattoo.
My mother was livid. My father did not talk to me for 3 months. I guess I was surprised by that. I never got into trouble. I never did ANYTHING crazy in high school. I was going (most of the time) to college. I really didn't understand why they were so upset. My mom said once, "Don't you know that people with tattoos have trouble getting loans and good jobs?" "Nobody's ever going to hire you looking like that." "I don't want to see you all tattooed up in a wedding dress!"
I don't blame my mom. This was new territory for her. I'd never done ANYTHING remotely as crazy as getting a tattoo. I think they both were in a little shock. She didn't know any better.
I don't know why I got the tattoo. It wasn't anything meaningful. It was a small tattoo of my name of my left arm. It was all I could really afford at the time. I've always joked that when I'm 90 at least I'll be the only one who remembers my name. :)
But what I loved about it, was leaving the shop knowing that I had created a life event. I remember everything that happened when I got my first tattoo. How good I felt. How much those four little letters hurt and how just when I didn't think I could do it, it was all over. It was like a little achievement all of my own.
But soon, I had to learn what the word "cancer " meant. I found that my skin never healed. Cancer left me with large welts all over my body that will never go away. The one thing that helped me deal with those ugly scars, was tattoos. See that little button looking thing between the butterfly's? That is one of the smaller ones I have on my body. They range from that size to 4 inches. I look like I've been shot in some places. On the inside that's how I felt.
The one thing that always made me feel beautiful was covering or masking those places with tattoo's. I know that the first thing I see when I look at the picture above is my tattoo's. Not that little scar mixed in between them.
Tattoos healed me in a way. They gave me self confidence. They gave me a reason to talk to people. They gave me a reason to feel beautiful again.
So 9 tattoo's later..
*I have a good job that serves the public.
I was once asked if I had knew I was a sinner after an elderly woman looked at my tattoo's in distain at a local WalMart.. (yes, by the way I do know I'm a sinner.)
*I've gotten 6 loans and a few credit cards in my life
I once heard a man call me "Tattooed Trash" within ear shot. (why thank you!)
*I got married .. and showed my tattoos and no one fell over!
A lady from a church I went to asked me if I was one of those "goth girls" when I told her how many tattoo's I had.
*I love god and I think god still thinks I'm pretty awesome.
I was once told that only criminals had tattoos. (which is pretty amazing considering my profession)
*They all still look pretty amazing... even my first one .. 14 years later and I love them ALL for different reasons.
"You know those will look terrible and you'll regret them in a few years.." (hmm.. still waiting)
So after all that, what's got me all fired up from the news you ask???
The Army is getting ready to pass a ruling that new recruits will have to PAY to have their tattoo's removed to get into the Army.
New members will not be allowed to have visible tattoos on their arms, below their knee's or above the neck. "Solders should be recognized for their achievements, not their appearance," the Army said.
WTF. First, who in their right mind is judging a SOLDER for the fact that he or she has tattoos. You'd have to A. Be pretty stupid, B. Be pretty judgmental and C. Be pretty damn un-American to talk crap on a solder with tattoos. It NEVER should downplay or disgrace their achievements in ANY way. This isn't 1952.
Secondly, what does it matter? Don't we have more things to worry about than a man/woman who WANTS to serve his or her country that has a tattoo of a skull on their arm? Personally I'd want a person like that protecting me. It shows me they've been through some pain in their life.. and their not afraid to take on a little more.
I really don't understand why a tattoo determines any level of competence in a job... especially in our nation's military. Do you think that Al-Qaeda is going to judge us because we have solders with tattoo's on their arms? Will Syria shoot off their chemical weapons at the sight of a solder with a neck tattoo.
I think we are pretty safe to assume they don't give a crap. Their gonna hate us tattooed or not.
Save our money that you are spending (and trust me you are probably spending a lot of our money) passing a ruling that is a waste of time.
Tattoos aren't the enemy. It's probably time we focus our attention a little more on the actual ones.
I saw someone post recently on Facebook about Miss Kansas and the fact that they thought that the reason she didn't make it past the Top 10 (or how ever far she got) in the Miss America pageant was due to the fact that she had the serenity prayer tattooed on the side of her body. "It looked slutty!"
How's that? She's a fan of a PRAYER. She has a powerful message that MEANS something to her on display for other's to see. It's something she's proud of.
That's the best reason to have a tattoo. And it doesn't make her look slutty... it makes her look committed. She took words that she found inspirational enough to wear on her body FOREVER. That's pretty legit if you ask me and sexy.
I get that people say it's defacing your body. I get that people think it looks trashy. People have the right to their opinions. I won't judge. I just don't have to agree.
I went through a lot to get my tattoos. A lot of pain, a lot of money, a lot of life experience, a lot of time.. but I don't regret any of my tattoos. Never have. Never will.