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Tattoos All Over My Body
A Small Sampling Of My Ink
To Ink Or Not To Ink...
Tattoos...I grew up surrounded by inked up folks. My step monster (aka step dad) was a biker and had a shop in our garage. This fact and the pool table on our enclosed patio contributed to a constant flow of men and women with body art. It was only natural that I got my first tattoo when I was just barely 18 years old. I endured 4 hours of pain caused by a homemade gun, a prison tattoo artist and LSD in my system. Not to mention the fact that I was laid out on a desk in a motorcycle shop in Ukiah California surrounded by 10 bikers cheering me on. The tattoo is set of Harley Wings in the small of my back and is about the size of my hand. This was a long time ago in 1978, before a tattoo in this spot was designated as a "tramp stamp". This tattoo began a lifelong addiction to ink!
A few days later I sat in a chair in the same shop, same artist, not under the influence of LSD and got my second tattoo. It is a bit tamer, small and simple. This tattoo is scene on my left shoulder with mushrooms, a butterfly, the sun, some birds and clouds in the sky. I should also mention that my first two tattoos are black ink only. My regret with these tattoos is they are too dark to add color to.
I have been under the tattoo gun twenty more times. Bringing the count of tattoos to twenty-two. I became so addicted to tattoos that I became co-owner of a tattoo shop in upstate NY so I could have work done for free. Well, the free part was only a portion of my decision to buy in, it was also a great deal and I was longing to live somewhere where the seasons were visible. I grew up in San Diego, CA and the seasons there are pretty much invisible.
Each of my tattoos have deep meaning to me and a lot of thought and emotion went into each piece. Today it is somewhat fashionable to be inked up. I wonder sometimes if people actually think about the fact that tattoos are forever. As long as the body lives, so does the art we place on it. I am grateful that I considered this with each piece. Also I am blessed to only have the regret that I cannot put color into the first two pieces!
When I began getting tattoos it was a rebellious statement. A statement I made with pride and consideration. The shock value was a kick for my ego. The mentality I carried for years which began in my childhood from the biker influence. The "outlaw biker" image was that of a social outcast and movies were being made like "Hells Angels On Wheels". So, when I put on my hip huggers and backless halter tops I drew a lot of stares! Just what I wanted at the time. It fed the whole image and fit my need to be rebellious. I loved the attention.
As the years passed, I no longer craved the shock value and settled into the love of body art. I have many visible pieces and can only cover them if I wear long sleeves and pants. I have found that I must do this at times to get a job or be taken seriously. Many people still judge those of us who have alot of art work. I suppose this will always be a problem. This brings me to a story I want to include here.
I interviewed for a job in downtown San Diego at a Law Firm. I knew from experience that I needed to cover my tattoos. I did just that and I landed the job. I was placed on the standard 90 days probation and began work. I took care to cover my ink for about a month and a half. One day I went to work in a very conservative skirt, sleeveless blouse covered with a blazer. I planned the outfit carefully. I wanted to get the feel from my boss and co-workers once they saw my ankle tattoo. I was pleasantly surprised. I saw a few eyes catch the tattoo and look away quickly. No scorns or sneering was noted so I made sure I sat in such a way that I could catch the reaction to my calf tattoo. Once again, no comments, sneers, or anything I felt was negative. I was impressed and felt at ease.
Every afternoon we had a meeting regarding progress for each open case. It often got very hot in the conference room and I had endured many sweaty moments there. I made a decision before this meeting that I would remove my blazer. I waited until each person disgarded their outer layer and I too took off my jacket and placed it on the arm of my chair. I watched carefully to see if there was any negative looks my way. Not one person skipped a beat. I felt good and the meeting went on like any other meeting.
The following morning I came to work covered from head to toe. I did have a short sleeve shirt on and felt confident it would be alright to take it off if need be that day. I sat at my desk and my phone rang. My boss wanted me in his office. Not thinking a thing I went in and closed the door as I had many times. This was not an uncommon request first thing in the morning. He asked me to sit down. His voice and demeanour gave me the first clue that something was up. He informed me that they were choosing not to keep me on for my 90 day probation period and that I was being let go. I asked why. He said it was for "personality differences" with some of my co-workers. I laughed and said, "they are offended by my tattoos". He stated that he did not have to say any more as I was on probation and the statement he made was sufficent to let me go. I laughed all the way to my desk where I picked up my things and walked through the office on last time. As I walked through I was faced with the sneers, snorts, and scoffs from all the women in the office. The men kept their heads down, avoiding eye contact. I stood where all could see and said with laughter in my voice, "farewell to all, I hope your daughters get lots of tattoos". I probably should have left out the last part but it felt good at the time!
To ink or not to ink? It is a personal choice. It does however have consequences from those around you. It can even get you fired!
God Bless...Becky Jo