After finding this post by Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet I was reminded how much of a good thing tattoos have been for me! They are a great people-filter and have boosted my self-esteem and confidence levels. I've shared what each of my tattoos are and why I have them (here, here + here) but I haven't really talked about day-to-day living with tattoos.
There has never been a better people-filter. Sometimes I'm really surprised by the kind of people that are "into" tattoos. And then sometimes I'm completely disgusted with people. I'm always amazed at people's lack of respect for someone else's personal space if said person has a visible tattoo. I can't help but shake my head and silently giggle each and every time I get a "Can I see your tattoo?" while the person is simultaneously grabbing your arm and bending it into a magical contortionist pose. No response is needed on your part in these situations. Obviously you really wanted someone to turn your arm into a pretzel (duh).
But people are mostly just curious. And people are definitely bold about their opinions on tattoos. And they love telling you that "you're not the kind of person who should have tattoos". Having tattoos has helped me respect other people and love them for their differences more. It has also really taught me how to handle people and their differences. It's taught me how to be more forgiving.
My tattoos have taught me how to love myself. I was a much less confident person before I started getting them. A simple little black-outlined mermaid helped me love a part of my body that I found most disgusting. Getting a beautiful lady surrounded by pretty flowers, butterflies and a tea pot helped me love my skin color when her skin became the same as mine. A wise-looking wolf reminds me daily that my family is the strongest positive force in my life and to always be good to them. A portrait of a lady bordered with wings and magnolias reminds me that although my Meme doesn't "like" tattoos, she still loves me and wants me to be whoever I feel that I am (and she would probably DIE if she knew I got it for her). The little birdies on my back remind me daily to just breeeeathe (okay so maybe I sort of kept holding my breath while getting those tattooed and almost passed out a few times).
It's funny how much my skin has toughened up by getting delicate and pretty things put on it (which is really my only requirement when deciding what to get a tattoo of next). I've never noticed how many looks I get from strangers in public places and I still don't notice until I'm with my sister and she points it out to me. People are mostly just curious and looking isn't what is offensive to me.
It's the guy that told me I "made" him ask me to hike up my shorts by having a tattoo located on my outer thigh. I guess I "made" him suggest I start only wearing bikini bottoms to my coffee shop job from then on. Or that other guy who told me that people only get tattoos for attention (please note the paragraph from above--I never notice when people are looking at them).
But it does make my day when I get to show people the anti-stereotype of a tattooed person (I don't mean that in a snarky, sarcastic way--I genuinely feel glad at the opportunity). Sometimes I really surprise people by being a warm and friendly person!
So tattoos. A total blessing in my life. I've always known I'd have tattoos and one day I'll probably be almost completely covered in them. I don't think they're for everyone. My mentality on tattoos is completely different from a lot of other people's. I'm not afraid of not liking one of them one day or of aging or being pregnant with tattoos. I think tattooed wrinkly skin is probably prettier than plain ole wrinkly skin : ). I like the idea of being a tattooed bride (insert "mom" or "grandma" or "CEO" in there if ya wanna). Ohh! An old church-going lady. AWESOME.
What are your thoughts on tattoos? Anyone have an opposing opinion on what I've written here? I'd love to hear it! I'm also in the market to get another one (within the next month!). What are your favorite tattoos? I need ideas people!!