For most of us, the first answer we get when we ask our parents if we can get a tattoo is "there is no way in hell".
Why is that though?
When I was in high school asking my mom for a tattoo, the answers I got ranged from rational answers to bizarre ways of saying no. The number one reason I wasn't allowed to get one was for the purpose of jobs. "Where do you see yourself in four years?" my mom would ask me, to which I would respond, "Law School." The answer to that would always be, "Well do you really think you a law firm would hire you with tattoos?"
The other things she would remind me is how my skin will get wrinkly and my tattoo will sag and get gross. My mom would give me reasonable responses such as I might not want it 50 years from now. My dad on the other hand, would not hear me out and spit out the most illogical reasons as to why I can't get one. "No because then you'll get fat! Just no!". I personally see zero correlation in tattoos and body weight, but it seemed there was never a way to argue back.
My Side of the Argument
I decided if there was something that meant so much to me, I'd get one.
My nana was my best friend. I would go over to her house almost every week and we'd have sleepovers all the time. I cannot put into words how much that woman meant to me. My favorite part about her was her brilliant sense of humor. She also had the most beautiful handwriting I had ever seen. Halfway through my senior year, I woke up one morning only to find she didn't. She left me a note signed "Love, Nana" with her pristine cursive.
The only thing that made me get out of bed in the morning was people reminding she was watching over me. I knew she was my guardian angel. I got into a car accident and I felt her save me from being more hurt than just the concussion I got. Reflecting on how she was always watching over me, I wanted a way to physically remind myself of that. I decided a tattoo was the best way to do so.
Graduation and prom came and I did not even want to go because she wasn't there to see me. All I had was a bracelet she gave me to remind me she was there. I wanted something permanent so I felt she always was with me and I wouldn't need to remember to put on a bracelet.
The Bold Move
I decided I needed to get a tattoo. Every single one of my friends at home had one. But it wasn't even peer pressure that made me get one. I just needed a way to feel she was with me. I needed her as I started college, left my parents, made new friends, etc. I had my whole life ahead of me and I couldn't handle the thought of her not holding my hand through it.
So, right after I graduated high school, I went for it. I went to one of the best tattoo shops on the island (shoutout Irish Jay's) and on my ribcage got her handwriting saying "Love", along with a daisy because they were her favorite flower. I got it on the left side of my ribcage, protecting my heart, as she, my guardian angel, protects me.
That was the best decision I ever made. Whenever I miss her, I just run my fingers over my ribs and immediately feel better. It may sound crazy but it is the best coping mechanism for me.
I'm Still the Same Person
If my parents knew I did this, I would probably be sent to a convent or something because according to them, tattoos are the worst thing ever.
Guess what, I'm still the same person.
I will still get a job and I will still want this in 50 years. Whenever people find out I have a tattoo they respond in shock. "You? But you're classy. I don't believe you". I've been with people before who have seen me without a shirt on and literally stopped conversation because they've "never actually been with the kind of person who would get a tattoo." Yet there we were.
I do think of myself as classy, but even my other classy friends have tattoos hidden under their clothes.
The point I'm trying to make is that societal norms have changed. I agree, years ago, tattoos had a bad connotation. But today, I genuinely believe it is acceptable to have them. Especially meaningful ones. At home, nearly every one of my friends have at least one. At school, I find several people have them as well. People automatically correlate tattoos to gangs or scary motorcycle groups. When the truth is 9/10 people I know with tattoos got it because of something meaningful. Most people don't even know I have one because you can find places that are so easy to hide.
The argument I try to make to my parents is I genuinely think tattoos are acceptable now. Just because I have one and want more, does not change my work ethic or the way people view me. Most people are surprised when they hear I have one, then love it and the meaning behind it when I show them.