Wearing My Heart Out On My Sleeve

Chandra - Port Townsend, Washington
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in wearing my heart out on my sleeve. I remember my high school years and how I would draw up ideas for different tattoos I wanted to get. I anxiously awaited my 18th birthday, only to find out my parents were against the whole idea. They said what any other parent would say, “Tattoos are forever and what if you decide you don’t like what you have gotten, after a year you can’t do anything about it.” I tried to convince them there was no way I would regret the few tattoos I had in mind.

Not once did they ask what I wanted which only made me push the subject further. I finally just stopped asking and right around Christmas of 2006 my dad got a tattoo. After that they knew they couldn’t refuse my request. After all as a parent you can’t tell your child they can’t do something and then you run out and do it.

They paid for my first two tattoos. One was a memorial tattoo for my brother Tyler which meant a lot to my family when they saw it. The other was a simple one on my wrist which reads “Seize the day.” It is a reminder to not dwell on the past and to live in the now and enjoy what you have.

While recently working a new job a third tattoo would get done on my forearm opposite my brother’s memorial. I was on my way to get my family coat of arms and I wasn’t sure if this job would support a new tattoo but I thought to myself it’s not going to be offensive and it’s my body. A friend I had recently made went with me to get my new ink done. After my tattoo was finished we headed back to my friend’s house. She lived with one of our co-workers who began to tell me that I was going to be fired for what I had done. After putting me down for having tattoos he began to tell me no one would hire me after this job because of the way I dress, my tattoos and the big earrings I would wear. I was afraid I was going to lose my job.

My boss didn’t seem to say much about my new tattoo, except she wanted it covered up while it was healing. Apparently the blue saran wrap was too flashy. This didn’t bother me because it was temporary but the comments about me having tattoos began to make me angry. I believe there is discrimination against tattoos. Whether it’s people who don’t understand them, people who are afraid of them or people who feel threatened by you if you have them. I believe in showing the world that tattoos are more culturally acceptable and that every tattoo has a story behind it just waiting to be heard.