i’m 32 and i have a tattoo, oh my!

so it has been a week now with my feathers and, quite frankly, it has been a tumultuous beginning.  my first night was a high, i was proud of them and felt, well, cool – i had just a teensy bit of a strut when i exited the tattoo studio : )


the next day tripped me up when the first few people i revealed it to had nothing but negative things to say.  while i understand that people have strong opinions about tattoos, i was shocked that they didn’t have the tact to keep it to themselves.  at first i thought that their disapproving bafflement was amusing, but then as others joined in and it escalated to scolding & disgust, i wilted.  i wish i could say that i got indignant or even angry (although that did come later), but i was honestly still too sensitive about my new piece of art to withstand the beating… so i slowly covered it up and didn’t show anyone else that day.  so sad!  you know when you say a word over and over again is starts to sound weird and loses meaning?  i did that to my tattoo.  i stared at it until i couldn’t see what it looked like anymore – it became shrouded in those negative remarks, blocking out the beauty and meaning.  i panicked.  tattoos are permanent!  did i make a mistake?!  was i being stupid?! am i a terrible mother?! (yes that was the content of the unwanted remarks) what will my grandma think?!  i really hadn’t prepared myself for such a backlash…  once i received the gift of tattoo money for christmas and settled on a image, i immersed myself in the world of tattoos until it was normalized and happily skipped down the path to my appointment without really looking back.  that night i had a little cry with my husband and absorbed his perspective until i regained confidence in my decision.

it sucks that my first day was so tainted!  but no matter where i am on the emotional spectrum, i am bonded with my feathers…  even at the low point when i frantically considered removing them, it felt like i was considering getting plastic surgery because someone said my nose was big or something equally inappropriate.  i’m an adult, darn it! and i made a decision that some might not agree with or like, but i didn’t do for them, i did it to express myself and to try something new and because i wanted to.  and i like it, so there.  ; )

i wonder, does a prominent tattoo place a person in a new category where others can brush aside common social graces and let their unwanted opinions fly?  was this an anomaly or have you experienced anything like it?

~ rena

10 thoughts on “i’m 32 and i have a tattoo, oh my!

  1. Your tattoos are lovely and graceful and suitably symbolic, an aspect that will allow them to have happy longevity in your heart, which is something not everyone considers when they get a tattoo. Your feathers are also unique which makes them very cool. I don’t have any tattoos; I had a plan to have the moon goddess knitting the stars, reclining on the crescent moon tattooed on my mastectomy scar but sixteen years after the surgery I still have occasional hive-like reactions around my scar and I quite like that the scar looks like Mt. Erebus, although I thought if I got the tattoo, I could go half-bare-chested in the summer. Alas. 😉

    It’s sad that so many felt the need to voice negativity when shown your tattoos. These days everyone seems to think that their opinion needs to be expressed and that it matters. I’m sure every voice does, but, a good thing to remember is that everything ANYONE says is really about themselves and their own attitudes and fears. Life is an inside job but most make it external. Alas, again, words have power and it would behoove those people to realize that being nice and saying positive things feels good and adds to the greater well-being.

    Your experience adds to your strength; there are no mistakes. We’re here to experience and joyfully dance in the world. You go, girl! Love the tattoos!

    1. Wow! Thank you for taking the time to write such a supportive & insightful comment! You’re right that spouting harsh negativity speaks more about the person then the focus if their energies – I should say a prayer for that person : ) it was just unfortunate that they were my first encounter – since then people have been lovely & curious & my faith in humanity & my tattoo is restored ; ). I think your tattoo idea would be full of wonderful meaning & you should do it! All the best to you!

  2. aww…that sucks rena 😦 know that the tattoo’s beautiful, and more importantly YOU are beautiful (in and out). ppl will have opinions, and you always have a hard time deciding on one thing, so this decision (after the fact) of course will be hard on you. but it’s a beautiful tattoo, representing your girls, your creativity, your life…looks great 🙂

    1. thanks michelle : ) you know me, i’m such a meddler with everything! whether it’s a pair of jeans or a wedding dress or anything i always have to make a small change… i don’t know why! a tattoo is a pretty crazy thing for a person with my personality to do… part of me isn’t sure how i got to this point! anyway, it’s nice to know that you support my crazy decision and get why i did it … thank you 🙂

  3. s we may like to think that it is very main stream, it so only among certain groups. I have had tattoos for over 20 years and I have moved on the social ladder from an outcast and rebel to a deviant to brave, depending on who you talk to. I have had same reactions with my large piece. I get things like, you are so pretty why would you do that, to, its so big! People will get used to the new you and you will bring you to your art as well. Does that make sense? The tattoo does not make you anything, you make that art. Wear it and let it be a part of your journey…

    1. your words are so true romana! i’m realizing now how opinionated people are about tattoos and i feel far too fragile at this point to handle it… i don’t like having to defend my self all the time and i’m thinking that such a prominent tattoo might get tiring only because of that. i like what you said about “you bringing you to your art” – right now i feel like it’s shaping me (to myself & in the eyes of others), but it should be the other way around – i make it what it is. i’ll get there. right now i want to keep it semi-private (as much as you can when you write about it – haha!) until i am firmly connected, then i will feel less vulnerable to negative remarks (or passive negativity). i feel that more then anything i have learned a lot about myself on this journey & the tattoo has taken on even more meaning to me. i like that.

  4. I have tattoos and I love them, I have not had anyone personaly tell me that mine are wrong, but I have heard people say that oh that person is covered in tattoos they wont be a good employee or there just all on drugs ect. . Dont let someone else make you feel bad about your body art, its yours not theirs. And your the one matters

    1. Thank you for saying so : ) I have a great appreciation for body art too – It tells a story that is so personal and yet creates connections & conversations. Aside from that poorly timed & inappropriate experience, I have had such support and it has been lovely, especially from people right here on this blog… Like you! Now I’m ready to get another one & more prepared to defend myself from that offending person 😉

  5. Absolutely gorgeous tattoo’s you have there. The feather design is lovely, the balance and harmony of the colours and lines are great. They look wonderful on you. Love your felting too!

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