Why is it that in 2014 we are still judged on appearance? Since when is it scientifically proven that if your appearance doesn’t fit into the rest of society you’re deemed as inadequate, dumb-minded, not capable of fulfilling a job, or living a happy and normal life?
Recently British trainee teacher Charlotte Tumilty made headlines when she was sent home from the Catholic school where she works because of her tattoos; that they were seen as “inappropriate”. The 27-year old mother-of-two has been putting herself through college to support and better her family, and yet has been denied a job which she is qualified for because her use of artistic expression – where is the common sense? This woman has not committed a crime, but is being judged and prejudiced upon because of her tattoos.
I have tattoos; 5 to be exact, one of which I got on Friday last. It is like an addiction; you crave the needle touching your skin, no matter how painful it is. The outcome is normally worth the couple of hours of pain. I come from a relatively conservative family; my mam is open to me having tattoos, but within limits. My brothers are somewhat accepting to it, but with my dad it’s a different story; I had to hide my first tattoo for two years. I suppose because I’m ashamed I’m letting him down? Which inside, I know I am. It’s the same with grandparents and other relatives. Why am I afraid that my own body will change their opinion of me?
Where did it start? At 16 with a boy, of course. I will never remember bringing him home and showing off his tattoos like a prized pony. My dad hated him. At the time I was going through a rough time with my own body; surgery and whatnot, and I thought inking my skin was a good way to take away from the already obvious scars on my body. My excuse was (and still is) ‘I have enough scars on my body already, I might as well make them pretty’.
Probably one of the most frequently asked questions, and I sometimes find myself forcing a meaning behind each tattoo. Don’t get me wrong I do have meanings, but I don’t always want to share these meanings. Maybe for fear of it sounding stupid, who knows?
I do get panicked with each tattoo I get. Reading through the consent form and seeing the words PERMENANT printed in bold letters. The first thing that goes through my head is not the pain, but regret; will I regret this decision in my later life? At the moment, no. Art is not something I regret.
I do worry about how people will judge me when they see I have tattoos. But to be honest, when they see the scar on my back they will probably make a subconscious judgment about me anyway. It disappoints me that employers still require employees to be free from visible tattoos. Now for my own sake, I will not get anything below my knees or on my arms or neck, because unfortunately that’s the society we live in. I do think of what my body will be like with tattoos when it’s aged and wrinkled enough to tell a good story; but I believe my scars (medical and artistic) will add to my life story.
I am a creative person, and I work hard for my place in this hectic life. My back restricts me a lot so tattoos are a way that I treat myself. I feel it’s something that gives me confidence and takes notice away from my countless other insecurities. It does make me sad thinking that my parents will be disappointed in me for choosing to let someone willingly scar my body, but there are a lot worse things I could be doing in this day and age.
Yes, they have yet to see the latest. Pray for Niamh.