Tattoos…..once reserved for military (I think of the Navy), and motorcycle gangs, have become quite the norm today. A lot people consider them trashy or crude, or unnecessary. It’s actually hard to find someone without a tattoo today. I’ve seen trashy and poorly thought out tattoos, but I’ve also met rude, classless people who have no tattoos.
I am not pro or anti tattoos. If someone wants to have one, that is entirely their choice. I wouldn’t want anyone to get one from peer pressure. I also wouldn’t want anyone to get one just to have one, without giving much thought to what they’re putting on their body. After all, it is permanent. I don’t think anyone under the age of 25 should have one, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as honoring a family member, or commemorating a special date. What we value at 18 is not necessarily what we value at 25. Therefore, I’ve told my children that I would prefer they wait….if they still want the same thing at 25 that they did at 18, then go for it. Also, a tattoo or piercing should never keep you from having the job you desire, so location is also something to consider.
I haven’t always felt this way. I used to think they were inappropriate, and you shouldn’t scar your body this way. However, as I have gotten older, and have faced some personal tragedies in my life, I don’t have such strong feelings about something that shouldn’t make a difference in my life. Someone else’s tattoo, and the way they choose to express themselves isn’t my business, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. I don’t take issue with someone who is practicing self expression. If someone wants a tattoo, and wants to express themselves in an artistic way, that is their choice. I have seen some beautiful tattoos on women who have had mastectomies. I have seen others cover other types of scars that may be a reminder to them of a painful time. To cover their scars with beautiful artwork is coping in a positive way, a statement of survival, and it is their choice. To some, the choice to have a tattoo is a very personal one, and the message they choose to display may mean something very deep, or be very emotional for them.
Some tattoo art is also beautiful (and some is quite hideous!). Artists of different styles and methods should respect another artist’s work. I can’t imagine that it’s an easy art to master! It would take years of practice, patience, and talent. I would think the skin as a canvas would be much different to work on than a mural on a wall!
Self expression, creativity, and honoring what we love in a display on our bodies is not something to criticize or condemn. Respect the message. Respect the artist’s work. Respect the individual with the display of self expression on their body. Respect.