The Tattoo Taboo (and more)

It’s taken me a while to come up with a topic worth talking about tonight, but I think I’m going to go with TATTOOS.

I find this to be an interesting subject, as the reactions and opinions are vast and varied among age groups, cultures, religions, and so on. Actually, opinions of body alterations in general are interesting. As a functioning member of society with a tattoo (or two, [it’s split in two] if you want to look at it that way) and a nose piercing, I am all for tattoos, piercings, and body mods. It is important to note that my stance on this did not sway due to my choices – I’ve always been all for it. Always.

Tattoos and piercings have been around for ages. Yet for some reason, if you’re piercing something other than your earlobes, it’s suddenly controversial. You have a tattoo? Welcome to the taboo club. People are very opinionated when it comes to these subjects, and the best part is the people who have the most to say are the ones who are mostly against it all.

 

For example, my dad. I’m not entirely sure how his thoughts work toward tattoos on people outside his family, but I do know that he would probably have a heart attack if he saw a tattoo on my body. He didn’t talk to me for 24 hours after he noticed my nose, and he still throws out a “why don’t you take it out?”  about once a month. I know he regards people with visible tattoos as strange or messed up in the head, which is among the most utterly ridiculous bullshit that comes out of his mouth. There is literally nothing wrong with people’s brains for getting a tattoo or piercing their tongue. However, people like my dad exist, and they do not like it that you would dare display something permanently on your body!

And that’s my favorite part. That these people are so stuck up and full of themselves, that they act as if THEY’RE the ones that sat through the pain of needles piercing their flesh. Excuse you. Excuse you right now. If you don’t like my decision to alter my body, I have news for you: it has literally 0% to do with you, so mind your own business, and shut up cause I didn’t ask for your opinion in the first place. 

And neither does my nose piercing. I truly resent the fact that I’m not allowed to wear a nose hoop at work for the reason that “it could aid in losing sales” and my favorite “you could have a crazy customer who would try to rip it out of your nose”. That would probably never happen, as nose hoops are very closely buddied up to your nostril and you need quite an amazing grip to rip it out. But the fact that someone might not want to buy something from me because I have a gold wire circling my nostril is honestly beyond me. Why is that offensive? What morals, what beliefs am I offending? What sins am I committing? The truth is none, because all of those reasons are manmade. While I was lamenting my decision to get my tattoo, I ran into several “signs” and told me to forget about it and move on, that it’s really okay. My favorite was a song lyric from a Romanian folk song that read “sins are of the earth”, as in they’re manmade. Ironically, I thought it was so brilliant, I decided to add it to my list of tattoos to get in the future.

However, I think the general consciousness of our society as a whole is beginning to get better about this. While people like my dad still exist, they’re beginning to dwindle and become more of the minority, as more people of my generation are growing up and getting tattoos and piercing parts of their bodies you didn’t even know you could get pierced, as well as changing the “rules” and norms of what is and isn’t okay, especially in the workplace. As an artist striving to become CEO of my own fashion company, I vowed long ago that no matter what level of employment my employees will be at, they will 100% be allowed to show their tattoos and piercings without judgement and repercussions. Because it’s really not that big a deal. And one of the best feelings in the world comes from people asking you “what does it mean?”

Messages

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my brain has this tendency to unearth Romanian words in place of really simple ones like car trunk. Earlier, a group of four very tall siblings walked into my store and the first thing I thought wasn’t wow they’re giants, it was wow, they’re uriaș – the Romanian word for giants. I have no idea why this happens, but it happens quite often. It’s like I simply can’t remember the English word for whatever it is I’m trying to say, but then I automatically remember it in Romanian.

Anyway, I don’t remember how exactly I had planned on transitioning this post, but I recently altered my body in a permanent way. I’ve been oscillating between loving it and feeling a horrible sense of regret and guilt. So much so, that the day after was conveniently Sunday and I went to church seeking answers. Thankfully, I got them.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s very hard to hear at my church cause it echoes. However, what I did hear, I firmly believe I was meant to hear: that we all have our crosses to bear and that God forgives all sins. Honestly, this made me feel way better about my decision because I take it to mean God doesn’t really care what I do to my body.

Funny thing is, like I said, I keep oscillating between loving and kinda hating it. The next day, I was painting and thinking about life and my recent decisions while listening to traditional Romanian music. While I was in a “I can’t believe I did that, why did I do that” phase, the following lyrics played: “păcate sunt pe pământ” which translates to “sins are of the earth”. It’s not necessarily that I go seeking these messages, but that whoever is watching out for me is sending them to me to make me understand that what I did isn’t the end of the world and isn’t something worth being condemned over. And it is such a relief every time.

Earlier I was feeling negative about it again. I sat down and scrolled through my Tumblr dash and found this: ”
Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate.”

I swear someone is looking out for me. I have to believe that because it can’t just be chance that these messages are hurtling themselves my way. Also, somewhat ironically, this recent body change has brought me closer to God. Or perhaps broaden my spirituality. I’m okay with that.