After getting my first “big” tattoo, I decided to stop by my grandmother`s house to show her how beautiful it looked. She had never looked down on any of my other ones, so I was not expecting a bad reaction. I walked in the room and said, “hey,” in a happy tone, and she said it back, but the moment she noticed the plastic film wrapped around my arm, her face immediately expressed disappointment. She turned to me and said, “I can’t believe you’re so young and you’re already ruining your body, your beauty… It breaks my heart to see you harming yourself like that…” I tried to revert the situation, but she just kept talking. “Really, do you think people are going to take you seriously? Good luck finding a job in the future. Can’t you see how dirty you look? Every time I see someone with a tattoo I think they’re dirty, and that’s what people are going to think of you now.”
That shows me how my grandmother and all the people who associate tattoos with self-harm don’t really understand what makes people want to get them. Honestly, there might be someone out there who likes the pain, and I would never judge them. However, I don’t do it because of the pain. To me, it’s all about art and aesthetic. It’s one of the greatest forms of art, in my opinion, because you will carry it with you no matter where you go forever. It’s a way to keep a memory of a dear friend, or a family member, to express yourself, to show your love for what you love and to give “hints” of your personality.
So, in response to my grandmother’s comment, here’s a list of things that make you a dirty person: being dishonest, being judgmental, looking down on people, being arrogant, treating others with disrespect, rolling in the dirt, paint wars, spilling salsa all over you, not taking showers for a month, I could go on but this column would turn into a book.
To all my tattooed friends out there who have faced hate from random people and from their families, who have been looked down upon, who have been told they’re bad people and they have no future, I say, don’t even think of considering these comments.
Where you’ll get in life will depend 100 percent on the effort you make to get what you want. Don’t let a group of prejudiced people tell you who you are and what your future is gonna be like based on something they see as a bad thing. So ignore the bad comments, be kind, be honest, be smart and be persistent. Work hard and you’ll be whatever you want. Don’t forget, it’s all in your hands; it all belongs to you. Your body. Your art. Your future.