There is something about me that everyone notices when they first see me. It’s not that I am a member of the LGBT community. It is not the fact that I have highlights in my hair or that I have pierced ears.
No, what people notice me for are the nine tattoos up and down both my arms.
I get many compliments on my ink. Some people ask who my artists are and how much everything cost me. But the one question almost everyone asks is “how did you manage to get a job with so many tattoos?”
I will be honest, in my field of film and digital media, I tend not to see much discrimination, but I know there are plenty of death stares for people in fields like medicine and business with tattoos.
I find this discrimination completely repugnant and undeserving to the vast majority of people with tattoos. We are people, too. We just like to decorate ourselves.
Many people will say that getting a tattoo is a choice, and if it was not obvious enough, yes, I chose to be tattooed. However, I do not think we should be punishing people for expressing themselves so long as it is not overtly offensive to anyone.
A tattoo on somebody is just a form of them expressing who they really are on the inside.
I have dealt with people thinking I am dangerous and edgy for having tattoos. If you got to know me, you would know I am a hard-working individual who likes to have his friends over for movie and anime nights on the weekends.
In my college career, I have never gotten below a B in any of my classes, and the majority of the time, my days are spent working on class work and being involved on campus. I have also worked multiple jobs since I was 16, and I just got hired on for a summer internship.
Many people often cite the one skinhead with a swastika tattooed on his forehead, or a man with a giant expletive tattooed in bold lettering on his neck they saw on Facebook. They will point out that these people should not work anywhere where they are visible to the public.
I agree. Those tattoos are by all means very offensive, but why would you punish me because I have a Cleveland skyline tattoo on my shoulder?
I understand the traditional professional look, but I do not think that it should leave out tattooed individuals. I look good in a suit, and all of my tattoos are covered up unless I roll my sleeves up.
But even tattooed individuals can give off a professional look without covering them up. Even women with tattoos look stunning in dresses. To me, tattoos go well with anything. I do not see why people make a fuss about professionals having them.
The vast majority of people with tattoos simply have a symbol that means something to them. It may not make sense to you, but to that person it could have a huge story behind it.
Tattoos can also be a fashion statement or simply a work of art that person enjoys.
Tattooing is as old as humanity itself. Why are we trying so hard to erase something that goes back millennia ago?
The oldest known mummy, Ötzi, had several tattoos on his body. Many of the Egyptian mummies we have found also have ink under their skin. These people who lived far before our time saw tattooing as a rite of passage or used them for healing purposes.
People who get tattooed today are using that same idea developed during the stone age. We are using our bodies as a canvas for our art to be shown.
The ink under someone’s skin does not define who they are as a person.
I am in no way saying that everyone should have to get a tattoo or that we should not have a problem with skinheads and racists with offensive pieces on their bodies.
What I am saying is that we need to change our view of how we look at tattooed individuals. We are not circus freaks. We are people too. The ink under my skin tells a story, and if that story is offensive to you, I am not sorry.