This I Believe

tamara - west palm beach, Florida
Entered on October 11, 2006

Hidden Tattoo

Don’t do anything in today, that you’ll later regret tomorrow. This is a simple rule many of us wish we had followed. Once it’s too late.

Growing up in a Caribbean family it was taught that you should not mutilate your body in anyway. Getting tattoos were forbidden; having piercing all over the body was inappropriate.

But, I wasn’t raised in Jamaica I was raised here, in a generation that embraced butterfly tattoo backs and tongue rings. I grew up in this world of creative individuality. Then, at 17 I got my first tattoo. Maybe, I was being rebellious at the fact that I wasn’t allowed, or maybe it was just the crowed of people that I hung out with. My jeans helped to cover my hidden tattoo on the very lower part of my stomach. Only because I knew it wasn’t accepted by my parents, but at the time I loved it. My love led to my addiction and by the age of 22, I now had three and was in the process of my getting a fourth one to cover up a past mistake, my third. The last tattoo led me to a large reminder that now sits on my right ankle every night.

The thought never leaves me that I am now banded for life. There was a time when the only people branded were slaves by their owners. And here I stand, branded by my own foolish decisions. Here I stand, in a room of prestigious, wealthy, and most recognizable men, that I now work along side. At 24 I’m not young girl anymore, but a professional woman. At cocktail parties I wear long skirts to cover what is hidden. I stand branded, but I don’t want to be judged.

Don’t do anything in life that you’ll later regret. My father always said, “a wise man will learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.”