Many individuals who come from some Latino background probably know the consequences of getting a tattoo, and if they went through with it, they understand the horror of revealing to your family! God bless you!

I come from a household where we were raised in an odd way. Most Latina mothers will always say, "If you get a tattoo, te voy a chingar" (I'm going to kick your...), but my mom wasn't ever truly against tattoos, despite how her mother was about them. She hated them and especially believed that women shouldn't have them. In her days though, tattoos were more for gangs and such, so I understand why they have such a bad connotation.

But here's the thing: though they had tattoos to represent their gangs and such, at least it represented something dear to them, though it wasn't something particularly good.

Regardless, there are a thousand different reasons why you would get a tattoo, but there is always a similarity in why we get them: they mean something to us. Whether it be that you want your body to act as a canvas for beautiful art or you have a story to tell with each of them, they are yours and only yours. Employers and families should understand that before judging someone's character.

Tattoos, along with piercings and colored hair, give many people a terrible stigma, but in fact, most of us who have all of these are actually great people.

I went to a high school where I couldn't have colored hair, piercings or tattoos because it "gave off a bad image of the school." I worked as an Ambassador representing the student body, though it wasn't truthful.

There are more to these students than the black and white version you place us as.

I wasn't some kid who loved STEM or was very much close to his faith. I didn't identify with what my school had us be, let alone who I portrayed myself as. I truly loved my high school but I should have a right to express myself and be free from persecution.

Now that I have graduated, I've had the freedom to express myself the way I want. I have blonde hair now and piercings and most recently got my first tattoo--first of many! Tattoos to me have always been a beautiful piece of artwork you can display on your body, but more importantly, as my mother taught me, they were something that had meaning.

Despite my grandmother hating tattoos, I got one of her signature. The words, "Delia Fajardo" are spelled below my collarbone because she is forever in my heart. She helped me become the man that I am today, and though not all of us can find something that meaningful in our lives sometimes, you should get something that represents you in some shape or form because tattoos are one of the greatest ways of expression!

This is a note for anyone who either doesn't like tattoos or perceives those with tattoos are "bad" or "unemployable:" don't judge us on our appearance! We can do things that would surprise you and you will never know our value until you give us a chance. We have talents and gifts like everyone else and we would love to show you if you're willing to see us for who we are. We don't get these because we are trying to make you hate us; rather, we get these because they are a representation of ourselves. They show you who we are because we aren't afraid of showing it and making it known!

So please, I beg you, look at us the way you look at your friends or your family and see us as people because our preferences shouldn't leave a perception of how I work or how I treat others. All they are are ways to express ourselves like everyone does every day of their lives. Except we do it through art.