Yes. Tattoos make you feel like less of a person. No, they don’t.
I’ve said it a million times: Tattoos are a part of who you are. I know this because I was one.
I was a person who could ink my whole torso with the same ink I used to write my names. I was a tattoo artist.
And yes, I had a reputation. People called me “Hip-Hop” or “Mexican” or “Chubster Girl.” I was a “Hipster.” I also had the nickname “The Kid With The Tattoo.” As in, “I’m a punk kid.” People hated my way of making tattoos. I had no control over who was drawn to what body part. I was just in it for the money, y’know?
“People hate my way of making tattoos.”
The stigma of tattoos is huge. It’s so deeply entrenched as to be unnoticeable. It’s so ingrained in our psyche that a lot of my friends had to take their tattoos to get work done. I had to leave school to get a part-time job. I had a tattoo on my head that was so big I couldn’t walk or talk. I literally couldn’t. I had to wear a mask that covered most of my face—just to get into the tattoo parlor.
If the stigma was removed that’s how I would feel about tattoos today. When you are stigmatized as a tattoo artist, you become very self-conscious and fearful of your work. You’re a lot more careful and self-conscious with which tattoos you use and where you put them. It’s a lot harder to tell people no. You feel you have to have tattoos of a certain shape or type on you. You have to have certain types, colors, or designs on your body. They have to be on you for at least thirty seconds.
It’s a much more conscious choice to use a different tattoo format—like a letter or a number. It makes it more difficult to get work. But in the end, it just feels more meaningful. I think more than anything, it’s a tribute to what I love and who I am.
I got sick over a tattoo I did of the name of my best friend on my back. My friend was gone for a while. I just wanted to show everyone that I love and care about them and I miss them. Like, it was just
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