How Tattoos Are My Form Of Self-Expression And Why I Don't Care That You Hate Them

I have been fascinated by tattoo culture and the tattoo industry since I was a little girl. I remember being 15 years old and begging my parents to let me get a small tattoo on my ankle — I was an annoying little sh*t and hounded them relentlessly.

After months of harassing, they finally agreed, but under one condition: I had to get straight A's the following semester.

Since I was an unmotivated D student, I think they assumed it couldn't  — or more likely, wouldn't — be done. They were wrong.

I got my act together and earned all A's but they wouldn’t let me get a tattoo age 15, so I negotiated for a nose ring. As much as my father hates facial piercings, he figured it was a slightly better option since piercings aren’t permanent.

Besides, I had already had a tongue piercing, so what's one more? I acquired that little gem when, at 14 years old, I snuck out to a sketchy shop in the middle of the night and begged the piercer to do it for me without adult permission. Forty bucks later, I was smiling ear-to-ear and bleeding from the mouth. 

I got my first tattoo when I was 18 years old and since then, I've amassed quite a nice little collection.

Obviously, I knew when I decided to start getting tattooed that some people might not agree with it or may find it unappealing or unattractive.

I'm okay with that. It’s not for everyone but I like a bit of decoration on my canvas. To each his own, right? Well, apparently not so much. I've found that plenty of people find it completely acceptable — necessary even — to tell me that they don't like my tattoos.

This baffles me. I would never go up to another human being and say, "Hey... that hair color is God-awful on you," or "Wow... you looked way better before you invested in those big, fake clown tits."  So, why is it okay to insult something that I find to be really beautiful?

Do people not realize that once you make the choice to get a tattoo, it's a permanent decision and is therefore now a part of that individual? So insulting it is like insulting any other part of the person's physical makeup? 

Is it really still appropriate to judge people based on their tattoos? It's 2014. Long gone are the days when the only people who have tattoos are sailors, degenerates and criminals.

Yes, I have tattoos. I also have a college degree, a full-time job and I've never cheated on anyone. The blonde next door doesn't have any tattoos but she’s been with half a football team and has a thing for Percocet.

My chosen profession probably doesn't help the situation too much either: One bar creature, who had ranch dressing dripping from his third chin, flat-out said that I would be much better looking without any tattoos. "You're such a pretty girl, why would you do that to yourself?"

Another time, a customer asked about the meaning behind one of my tattoos. I told him, he thought about it, decided that it was stupid and then chose to inform me of this.

I guess I should have called this complete stranger and asked for his opinion before I decided to get it because now its already there and you don't like it and HOW WILL I SLEEP AT NIGHT?

Apparently the age-old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, keep your f*cking mouth shut," wasn't in everyone's childhood handbook.

Of course, not everyone is completely awful; there are a lot of people who do appreciate the art and I am more than happy to talk with them.

Regardless, getting tattooed makes me happy and doesn’t hurt anyone else — I really don't care if you don't like it. I accepted my own father's disapproval of my tattoos, so your close-minded drivel doesn’t make a difference for me.

Just stop being rude because it’s annoying and just makes me dislike the human race. If it bothers you so much, please, feel free to hit up the nearest church and pray for my tortured soul. Otherwise, just live and let live.

Photo via We Heart It