By Brooke Greene / Staff Writer

Tattoos have been seen in a variety of cultures for centuries, whether tribal, symbolic, sentimental or modern, ink has worked its way through our history in many ways.

To some it holds great importance, to others, it is either frowned upon or not desired. While opinions are accepted, some should stay in the minds of those who feel one way or another about somebody’s tattoos. They are expensive, painful, and time-consuming, and while not everyone has a reason for the ink on their body, they did nonetheless put it there, on their body, willingly.

This decision is not impactful to somebody’s work ethic, intelligence, beauty, or class and shouldn’t be seen as any different than other decisions a person would make regarding their appearance.

“Why would you do that to your neck?”

“You have such beautiful skin.”

These are comments from a customer in my section at work one evening.

My response, “Your body is a temple, right? Decorate it.”

While he was not thrilled about my response, I thought it justified, as it is nobody’s business but my own as to what I choose to etch onto my skin and where, as this tattoo holds great significance to me. I got it with all of my girlfriends when we branched off to attend different colleges.

The customer’s ignorant commentary merely baffled me for a couple of days, until it was given more thought. I am a waitress on the weekends. This is nonetheless a lower class, entry-level job that requires little to no experience to pursue. It is a job that is not necessarily viewed with value or honor. With that in regard, I am attending Hutchinson Community College this year to obtain my associates degree in journalism, and next year, I will switch to complete HutchCC’s law enforcement program. 

I have always felt strongly about defending others. The roots of my childhood drive me to want to protect my town and those I love. Yet, if I am a cop with tattoos, I am seen as a badass. If I am a waitress with tattoos, I am seen as low class. The difference? Nothing. Just a dedication to the art that has meaning to me and a few hundred dollars. Some call it a waste, I call it an investment.

Tattoos are one of those things that do not need to be insulted or seen as trashy. People hang up ugly art in their house all the time, and would your house guests tell you that they don’t like it? Probably not, yet it is hung there anyways. If you don’t like the art on a tattooed person’s skin, maybe try to view it as that ugly painting in your friend’s house that you have hidden your commentary from at every get-together.

Tattoos are more than just art, or a silly choice of something permanent. To some, it covers up scars that they feel less confident about themselves with. Tattoos have been used to cover self-harm scars, surgical scars, bad accident remains, convert amputations into illusions of beauty, decorate the span of women who have had double mastectomies, or decorate the heads of bald people battling cancer or other genetic diseases that cause hair loss.

If the tattoo makes somebody feel more confident, then that is what matters most. There are a million different reasons to get a tattoo, but the one to judge that person’s decision to get in the tattoo chair should definitely not be you.

Kindness matters, what you say to others matters, if you would not say it to somebody you love, don’t say it to a stranger.

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