Her mother must be disappointed

I have thought a lot about whether I should write this. I have decided that I need to because I am still thinking about it. On Sunday, I headed to the airport to catch a plane down to the bottom of my lovely country. I want in casual Sunday attire, 3/4 leggings, a tunic and a cardigan. I checked in, and I headed to my gate. Nothing to out of the ordinary here. As I walked in there were about 30 other people waiting, some reading newspapers, some talking to their friends, others just waiting for the boarding call. Minding my own business, I sat myself down and turned on my iPad.

Then. It. Happened. I over heard a conversation. {I should note, this wasn't said directly to my face, rather on the chairs behind where I was sitting} It went a little something like this.
He said "Did you see that girls legs? They are horrible. Look at all those tattoos."
She said "Oh dear yes they are horrible aren't they?"
He said "She could of had the decency to cover them up while she was travelling. They are just awful"
The pair paused for a moment
He said "She probably doesn't have a job."
She said "Well who would employ her with those on her legs? She probably couldn't do much anyway"
He said "She might of been to jail you know"
It carried on for a while. And then ... then came the clincher
He said "Her mother must be so disappointed in her"

I was furious. I almost couldn't process my next move. I waited. I composed myself. And then I made the decision not to say anything. It wasn't worth causing a scene over two peoples opinions. And yet, as I sat on the plane knowing that these closed minded, ignorant folk had made this assumption about who I was, based on the fact that I have tattoos. What hurt the most was the assumption, that because of a decision to get tattoos that obviously my mother must be disappointed.

So here is my response. Because this is my space, and I can say what I want.

I am a twenty four years old. I graduated from Victoria University when I was twenty one with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Religious Studies and Criminology. I graduated from Yoobee Design School when I was twenty three. My professional career has included working as for a minister of the government, a national administrator for a Foster Parent organisation, an Academic Registry employee, and most recently a project co-ordinator for the Department of Corrections. I have around twenty tattoos. Each one either represents a significant moment, person or event in my life to date, or a reminder of something a little bit deeper. The ink on my skin does not effect my success in my education, career or life. In fact, I would argue it only really enriches it, because it allows me to express not only who I am as a person, but the things that mean the most to me in this world. I have incredible friends, a wonderful family who love me, and my life is pretty damn amazing.

I appreciate that tattoos are not for everyone. Much in the same way bare skin is not for everyone. I do not judge a person based on the fact that they chose to remain untattooed. I do not judge a person because they choose to colour their hair, wear contact lenses to change their eye colour, or the clothes that they chose to wear. When I made the decision to get tattooed, I was not thinking about other people. I was not thinking about the way that other people would view me. I got these permanent reminders for myself. I am not asking you to love them, I am not even asking you to like them. I do not believe that because I have tattoos I deserve anything less than anyone else.

And just for the record. My mother, loves me. Tattoos or not.

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