Some of you might not know this but I have tattoos. Quite a few of them. I love them. All of them have very personal meaning to me and all of them a story. (Even the one that I’ve had changed to something else!)
I’m often asked what I’m gonna do when I’m old and wrinkly? What I’m gonna think of them? To be honest, I’ll love them as much as I do now, they are a part of me and I have amazing memories attached to them. Its so exciting for me to think of more ideas for tattoo’s and when and who I’m going to get them with. What new memories I’m going to create.
I got my first tattoo aged 16, me and my friend Dee wanted one for ages, one day we skipped school and headed to a tattoo place we had heard about from our Maths teacher, Mr Donachy. (of all people, eh?) We got the bus to Govan and the place was closed. Determined to get a tattoo that day, we headed back to town to a place in the Barras (a market area in Glasgow) we knew would be open, its kind of a shady place but we were under age and we knew no-one would question us there. I got some Japanese writing that said “Danger” (for years after, I told people it meant “Brave” because I realized how silly “Danger” actually was.) I loved it because it was my first tattoo but when I started to love tattoos I decided to have it re-worked into something else. About 4 years ago I had it changed into a celtic style butterfly, the symbol is still there, I can still see it, its just part of something more beautiful now.
A few of my tattoos I had done with my sister and best friends, these ones are my favourites. I had one done with my team mate/room mate in the USA when I was at college. I have memorial tattoos and I have a lot of butterflies. All of them have amazing stories and memories for me, some better art work than others but all of them special.
Society is more accepting of tattoos, I think something like 1 in 5 people in the UK have a tattoo now, but I still think people negatively stereotype the heavily tattooed. People think they’re into heavy metal, drinking, trouble makers, etc. I think it is especially difficult for women with tattoos, they are treated a little differently from men, especially heavily tattooed women. I think some of the acceptance comes from the fact that more and more celebrities are getting tattoos. David Beckham and Rihanna are two examples that come to mind when I think of people in the public eye with tattoos.
I can’t say I have experienced much of this discrimination or stereotypes first hand, I haven’t been in a situation where someone has judged me for my tattoos, if they were, I didn’t notice. (And I find that hard to believe, I notice everything!) One of my friends once told me she wouldn’t get a tattoo even though she really wanted one, because it would make people in her work treat her differently, like she wasn’t as respectable, as intelligent, as professional, and as much as I understand this point of view, (some people try to bring successful, intelligent people down because they feel inferior themselves) I can’t say I’d let them influence my decisions in life. If what you see in front of you isn’t what you are looking for, or if you don’t like it, then we don’t fit anyway. I’m gonna be me, whether you like it or not. (A blog I read recently sums this up perfectly: “Why yes, I will put a bumper sticker on this Ferrari”)
Some of my friends have a tattoo or a few, some have none. Some think I’m “badass” cos I have them, some think I’m silly, but they all still love me because at the end of the day, I’m still the same person…and I’m not pushing them to go and do the same to their body. Its their choice.
Some people ask me if I’d let my daughter get a tattoo when she is older. Well, why not? Her mum and dad both have them. If she wants one, of course. I hope to raise a strong, confident, self assured young woman who will succeed at whatever she wants in life…with or without a tattoo. Get ready world! Haha.
I love my tattoos, all of them. They make me who I am, they’re part of me… and nothing and no one can change that unless I let them… or add some more tattoos!