sophie didn't do anything at all.

Friday, 23 August 2013

/ tattoo

Right. I have a tattoo. This post is going to be quite rambly as it's an opinion one. I haven't written without planning what I'm going to say for so long who knows where I will end up!

So, you can't see it when you first meet me, and sometimes, I think this is just as much a blessing as it is a curse. 

The problem with it being discreet is that the immediate assumption is that you don't have a tattoo (obviously) and people will happily knock those who are inked before they realise you're awkwardly trying to show them yours. In my case it's very awkward (you try flashing the back of your neck).

But here's the thing. As soon as I put myself forwards and say yes, I have one, they all change their opinion.

I hate that.

It's very two faced, and very obvious.

Out of all my friends, there are only two of us that have tattoos. We're also the most unlikely of people to have gotten them and the surprise is often plain to see. I'm still yet to understand what type of person would get a tattoo, and who wouldn't - quite clearly I have one but don't fit with the stereotype!

My tattoo
I don't think it's fair to discuss them without telling you more about mine. I'm not uploading a picture, despite it being a common design because my tattoo is mine. I'm also not telling you what it means to me because it's personal and quite frankly not something I need to share. I have a black swallow on my neck, just above my shoulder line, which most of the time is covered by my hair.

When I got it, I had both my parents permission. Despite being over eighteen I called them both before my appointment (my Dad didn't actually believe I was going through with it, you should have seen his face that evening...) and double checked they wouldn't be disappointed. They reminded me it was my decision at the end of the day, but checked I had fully researched everything about getting one and was in the know.

Yes, having a tattoo in a potentially visible position can affect employability. But I have never planned on entering into the corporate world - and so far haven't struggled to find a job whilst being a student. We'll see.

Tattoo meanings
Right, here we enter into the realm of justification. A lot of people will say they don't like tattoos unless they have a specific meaning to the person in question. But at the end of the day, what difference does that actually make? It doesn't set you aside as a person, and given that tattoos are a conscious choice - you have to find an artist, choose a design and sit through the pain and aftercare - they're hardly whimsical (yes I know some people get drunken tattoos, but if we let drunk people provide the representations in our society we'd be screwed). When I get asked about my tattoo everyone asks if I regret it. You don't ask people that about a haircut or their choice of clothing, so why be so forward. If I regretted it, I would have it removed.

The design and location
Every tattoo is unique. It's impossible to copy exactly, but some artists get very close. My design, really, isn't the best, but I still like it. The placement, the back of my neck, draws the second predictable question - 'why do you have a tattoo if you can't see it?'. Just think about that. It's a fair question, but I'm one of those people who bore easily so seeing it every day would lead to me hating it. I'm happy that it's only every now and again that I see it - it would be weird if I had it anywhere else just to sit and stare at all day.

Tramp stamp. God, I hate those two words. I think it's so degrading of people to draw a negative connotation - regardless of the stereotype - about someones appearance. What right do you have? I know it's hardly up there with racism but you really can't judge people on how they look - even if they chose to look that way! Tattoos are very personal things. They're part of the body, and insulting one is like insulting someones leg. Don't.

Mis-representation
And then there are those who go a bit overboard. I watched a Channel 4 documentary recently on individuals who get tattoos which are at the end of a strange scale. The thing is, those people who were being featured (and at points in a patronising and cruel light) were happy with their decisions. And that's all you can ask for. If it was a show of people wallowing in self despair at having Miley Cyrus all over their torso, then yes, public outcry is justified. But you rarely meet someone with a tattoo who is ultimately depressed about it, and that's quite refreshing.

I think everyone needs to be a bit more open minded. As I've grown older I've learnt to accept people as they are and enjoy them. Look past things you don't agree with (like tattoos and piercings) and take them as one package. There needs to stop being such strong opinions about what other people do with their lives, as long as it doesn't hurt you then it's all good.

And no, it didn't feel like sunburn. Or ants walking over my skin. It felt like a very small needle was being stabbed into my skin and it hurt a little bit.

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