If you insult my tattoo, you're insulting me too

The grumpy girl rummages around under the bed. She pulls out a soapbox, puts it down and gets the fuck on it.

You guys, I am pissed off. It is probably ridiculous to get so pissed off about this but I can't help it.
So, it's late at night, I'm in bed with my computer, just hanging out on the intarwebs while my wife is snoring away next to me (she's sick with the flu, so I can't really blame her for those hideous noises).
I'm hanging out on teh twitter where people are lovely and tolerant and talk to me in a normal way. I'm talking to a friend about tattoos and literary tattoos and that I'm considering getting more ink (an Ani DiFranco quote in case you wanted to know). And then I made a huge mistake and went to facebook where I posted the following line:

"thinking about tattoos again."

Harmless, no? You'd think. But suddenly this person throws this comment under it:


WTF? That was pretty much my reaction although I tried to put it to paper/screen less violently.
Then another fb-friend jumped in on the anti-tattoo-side and the whole thing (de)evolved into the usual
"tattoos are bad"
"don't get one"
"you'll regret it"
"at least don't get a big one"

and the most helpful comment of all:
"it'll never come off again".

NUH UH! You don't say! Really? Boy, I never knew! Good thing you told me that.

I ended up deleting the whole conversation including my initial status update. Maybe I shouldn't have, maybe that was a sign of weakness and they'll go straight for my throat next time. But I really don't want negative people who don't know jack shit (I actually first typed "jack schitt", thank you Mr. Fforde) about tattoos to go ahead and diss something that is so intrinsically... spiritual for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm agnostic; just to qualify the kind of spiritual that I'm talking about.

I don't expect anyone to think that tattoos are awesome. And I will always always be open to questions about my existing or future ink. But I will not take it lying down if people feel the need for uninformed badmouthing. If they had commented with questions on what I am planning to get and why etc. then I wouldn't blame them for saying "not for me". But to cry out "don't do it!" without even knowing or asking for details - that's just mean and, well, uninformed.

I think about getting a tattoo good and hard. Which is why I only have one so far and why it took me about a year to actually get it. Because I want to be certain. Now, I do realise that these anti-ink-people might have only encountered people with random tattoos that have to be covered up later*, but you'd think they'd know (or at least consider) that I am definitely not one of those people.

If I get a tattoo it means something. My ampersand tattoo (check out Amanda Palmer's song Ampersand) is full of meaning and emotions for me. Sure, I might not always have those exact emotions but it will always remind me of them, of that period in my life. Tattoos are a sort of chronicle. Looking at them, touching them - sparks memories. There are things I want to remember physically, on my body. On other people tattoos will tell you stories, stories of pain and elation and wonder and understanding. It's beautiful.

Sometimes getting a tattoo will even help you let go. For me the process of the "&" being engraved into my shoulder is strongly entwined with letting go of my dad who had died a mere month earlier. It wasn't planned like that, I'd had the appointment for months before that, but it happened. The meaning of the tattoo itself has nothing to do with my dad, but rather with retaining my sense of self when Finn and I got married. Of being me when Finn and I are so often perceived as this awesome couple-entity. Finn&Andie. Yes, we absolutely are that - that one couple that everyone envies, and I love being part of that. But I am also, and mostly, me. And that's what my ampersand is about.

So if someone swats tattoos away as something stupid and irrelevant I get mad. Because they don't know the whole story. Hell, they haven't even asked for it! And they're being judgmental.

Now again, just like two years ago when I got the ampersand, I find myself in a time of transition.  So much has changed these past months, my diagnosis and meds and thus my sense of self, my confidence, my connection to my creativity. I feel that it is, again, time for ink.

* I recall a hilarious Tinkerbell-"can you cover this up?"-incident I witnessed at the tattoo studio^^

The grumpy girl is feeling a little less grumpy now and stores the soapbox under the bed again.

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