I got my first tattoo at the age of 25.
I had long been terrified of needles, and am an incredibly anxious person.
I was also a late bloomer. When everyone was getting tattoos for their 18th birthdays, I was wondering when I’d finally have a real boyfriend and if college was going to be different. But at 25-years-old, I was slowly coming into my own—suddenly a bit more confident, financially independent (for the most part) and starting to create a real life for myself.
My first tattoo has a story that goes much deeper than that, but it is not really a story for public consumption. (However if you would like to buy me a glass of wine and sit on a grassy knoll, I will gladly share more.)
Tattoos are a personal thing to me.
Which leads me to an incident a few days ago. Nothing irritates me more than conversations like this:
“Eww, tattoos are gross. Why do you have them?”
“Well, they have personal meaning to me.”
“Yeah, well then explain to me the personal meaning of that one!”
Yes, because there is nothing I would love more than to explain something deeply personal, so personal I chose to permanently reflect it on my body, to someone with that attitude and condescension.
This was followed by:
“Well, if you display it publicly, then you must want people to comment on it.”
Wow. Just, wow.
Sorry, lady. If you wear tight pants, it doesn’t give me the right to comment on your butt, so please don’t assume I am “showing off” my tattoos and asking you to comment on it.
My tattoos are a timeline of my trials, tribulations and successes.
Every one of my tattoos was intricately planned and designed with an artist, who I told very private things to in order for the design to accurately reflect my story.
They all came after a time of significant change in my life, both good and bad. While other people’s opinions of my tattoos do not matter to me overall, there is a bit of a sting when I hear negative comments.
I understand tattoos are not for everyone, and that is fine. And I do not expect people to understand the significance of them. But please do not use your dislike to belittle me or to judge me.
And do not expect me to tell you something incredibly personal to you when you clearly have not earned the right.
But seriously. Who’s going to buy me that glass of wine?
Author: Sarah Cox
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock