Midlife and Tattoos: Why I Ink

Featured Member Post

No, I am not barreling at the speed of light toward a midlife crisis, I'd like to squash that idea right now.

Yes, I realize that at 40-something many people are removing their tattoos not getting them.

No, I am not desperately clinging to my youth by pretending to be edgy and cool - I'm ALREADY edgy and cool, just ask my kids and then ignore their snorts and eye-rolling.

Yes, I may possibly be out of my mind, but the crazy is what keeps y'all coming back for more so I'm  unleashing a whirling dervish of it here in today's post. You're welcome.

I am getting another tattoo. 1 + 1 {will soon} = 2.  (pfft, who says I'm bad at math)

Saturday I have an appointment with a tattoo artist to realize an image I've carried in my head for a long time. I'll be armed with printed examples, several of them, and a whole bunch of vague ideas of what I want. With any luck, Mr. Artist won't hang up his stabby-inkgun-thingy forever when he's done with my consult. Check out my inspiration wall.

Why? Why am I marring my body forever? Again.


Butterfly

Image: Tattoo_Lover via Flickr

 

I suppose saying "because I want to" isn't enough of an answer, so I'll try and explain.

I've wanted a tattoo since I was a teenager - way, way back in the day when parlors were few and far between and the only people you saw exiting them were likely on a first name basis with the booking officer at the local jail. Where I grew up the tattooed teardrop next to the eye was all the rage - a favorite of the gangs, who were usually the only ones sporting ink. The tramp stamps, tribal bands, sleeves and torso/back covering murals were virtually non-existent - at least they were not on public display.

Yet, I loved the simple tattoos I did see and I've watched the craft evolve into a true art form over theses many years. Call me crazy (if you haven't already, you know you want to), but I love the idea of using skin as a canvas. Also, too...it is incredible the amount of skill and talent necessary to create a work of art on the human body. Tattooist, good ones, are amazing.

I know, I know...your fingers are poised over your keyboard, ready to regal me with all the virtues of not marring my body for the rest of my personal eternity. Here, let me save some time - just visit this link to the Mayo Clinic and it will cover all the basic health risks. Yes, there are more, I know. And, you can research the risk for contracting AIDS and such via tattooing on the CDC website, but I think you'll find the risks are just as great, or greater, in...say...going to the dentist. Yup, through a clean reputable tattoo parlor the risk for illness is very small.

The biggest risk of tattooing? Society - mainly the perception of me they'll form once I show inked skin.  In other words, if my ink is in a highly visible spot, getting a job might be THAT much harder.

Societal perception, as a whole, is very negative toward The Inked.  But I want to challenge those stereotypes and preconceived ideas - ideas formed through word of mouth, not real experience with an individual. We form our ideas based on outward appearance - you are less likely to trust the teller at the bank with your deposit if you can see lots of inked up skin. So, companies ask their employees to cover them up. Isn't that person still the same under their clothing? Does dapper attire make a person more respectable, responsible and trustworthy? For heaven sake, our politicians and smarmy bank executives who've bilked oodles of money from people wear suits and 'respectable' attire! I don't know what their skin looks like under their suites, but I'm willing to bet it isn't covered in tattoos (and honestly, I really don't want to envision them nekkid so soon after eating breakfast).

I want to challenge you to think of that heavily tattooed (or not so inked up) person as someone who can help balance your checkbook, not just your tires. I want you to think that person is able to manage a successful business or care for your children, not just serve up perfect foam atop your cappuccino. The number of tattoos does not translate to a lack of brain function or propensity toward crime, manual labor or living a lifestyle on the fringe of society. Many of you already know this and I'm likely preaching to the choir.

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.