One of the first negative responses I received about my tattoos happened when I was at Missouri State University. I was walking back to my dorm room when a woman threw (literally) a paperback of the New Testament at me. She told me my tattoos were a ticket to Hell. I thought, “You know me because I have tattoos?”
It seems like it should be a moot point these days. So many people of all ages in all parts of the country have tattoos. They are no longer the expressive forms reserved for hardened criminals or Naval officers. But, some in the marketing world publish views that would have been more fitting during the Carter administration.
See this poor soul: Tattoos as a branding statement: Art or desecration. After reading this article, I was a bit fired up.
The author states,“Tattoos are not widely accepted in the business and professional world. This isn’t likely to change soon.” I disagree. More companies are accepting of tattoos and changing their policies. Bank of America is an example of a corporate company who won’t turn away someone just because they are inked. Bank of America Spokeswoman Ferris Morrison said, “We have no formal policy about tattoos because we value our differences and recognize that diversity and inclusion are good for our business and make our company stronger.”
What is most disheartening about the author’s view is the lack of empathy for those who choose to tattoo their bodies. What my New Testament friend and others fail to realize is that each one of my tattoos mark an important time in my life or honor someone I love. I can’t speak for all tattooed people, but I know I’m not alone. Here are what some of my tattoos mean to me:
Mandy Tabaka, my cousin, role model and idol passed away March 15, 2006 after a long battle with Leukemia. I was heartbroken and didn’t want to let her go. I found a shirt with her handprints on it, and decided to have them tattooed in her memory. This means I have a piece of my cousin with me at all times. It brings me peace knowing she is with me. Everyone heals in different ways, but for me, tattoos help my healing process.
When I was little my dad would read me Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat was our favorite character because of his mischievous ways and his witty responses. When my parents got married my dad gave my mom a rose garden in the backyard so she could have a lifetime of beautiful roses. For my 20th birthday I got a tattoo of the Cheshire Cat holding a rose and Indian feather to represent my parents. It is one of my favorite tattoos and I love how unique and personal it is to my family.
My brother has grown to be one of my best friends. We have matching “Love” tattoos on our wrist we got as Christmas presents to each other one year. I think our bond is very special and I see our tattoos as a reminder that blood is thicker than water. Family is forever.
Oh and you think tattoos are just a fad for young people? Both of my parents got their first (and not last) tattoos when they were in their 40’s. My Grandpa got his first tattoo when he was 79 years old in memory of my Grandma. I see my tattoos as a very positive branding statement. My artwork is my way of honoring my family, loved ones and moments in my life that have made me stronger. I love when people ask me about my tattoos because it gives me the opportunity to open up about my life and share my stories. If an employer is judging their potential candidates based on appearance and not based qualifications, they could be missing out on a truly spectacular employee.