My first tattoo run-in with my mother was simple, yet iconic. I was wearing khakis, rushing through the kitchen on my way to work when she asked, "Is that a permanent or temporary tattoo?"
I replied with, "Well, it's pretty permanent," and walked out the door.
First, Dad, I am sorry. I know how much you hate them, and the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint you. The time has come where I traded in my Spongebob transient ones for something with a little more substance, and a little more burden. However, I didn't just get one to get one. It's not always as impulsive as a decision as many people imagine it is. My tattoos have meaning. They bring me back to who I am. They remind me of the things that are important, and sometimes I truly need the reminder. Tattoos represent the magnitude of forever and that is what people are scared of— things that last forever.
It may not be important to you, but it is to me. It is how I've expressed some of the most important things in my life, including ice hockey, the people who are no longer here to share my life with, and words that have gotten me through the absolute hardest of times. They are stuck with me, so they will continue to.
I was worried about how I will explain them to a child, a friend, a significant other, or an employer, but if my character and ability to be a mother, friend, partner, or employee doesn't speak for itself, I would rather not have those people in my life. My individuality and integrity will determine my ability to have a good influence, not the marks on my body. If my parents are so worried about it, they shouldn't have let me cover my face and body with butterflies and rainbows when I was young.
I live in the moment and tattoos are one of those things where I don't want something ridiculous permanently on my body, but I am not going to make a decision not to get one to prevent a hypothetical problem so far in the future I can't even foresee it. I may not make it there, and that isn't to say YOLO, but it is to say you never know what is going to happen to you.
As I have gotten older, more tragic things have happened. I have seen things I never thought I'd see, and I have done things I never thought I'd do (like getting a tattoo). But in the end, I know I am, just like Dr. Seuss, and if you bother to ask me what my tattoos mean, I will gleam as I tell you the whole story, because one icon, line, or word can mean that much.
To me, my tattoos are a message to my parents that I am growing up. I have experienced things that have shaped who I am so significantly that I felt compelled to draw them on the body they gave me. So, I didn't tell them. I waited for them to ask.