Unapologetically Inked: Why I Got Tattooed So Young

Unapologetically Inked: Why I Got Tattooed So Young

I have no regrets about choosing what art to put on my body.
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I love my tattoos. I'm proud to say that I've designed them all myself. Tattoos require a ton of planning, courage, and even more self assurance. The former has always been a challenge for me. My first piece was much more than just a tattoo, it was more than just my first tattoo. When I sat down in that chair I was doing something that nobody in my family had ever done. I'm the first one on either side of my family to have tattoos. It's not that my parents are super strict and it's not that I did it to piss them off or to be rebellious. It's that they just didn't understand why I'd made this choice for my body.

When I got my first tattoo my parents naturally had a lot of questions - even though i'd been talking about doing this for years.

"Why do you want something so permanet?"

"Why do you want to do this when you're so young"

"What could be so important that you want to put it on your body forever?"

The truth is that I'd considered and answered all these questions in my head a thousand times. And each time I arrived at the conclusion that this was still something what I wanted very badly to do.

My first and most special piece was for my grandfather and for myself. I got that tattoo about a month after his health had started to fade. He'd already been weakened in previous years, and we knew that an additional battle with cancer would make it much worse. So the minute the concept crossed my mind I knew this was going to be the one. On my right inner bicep. I have the the word ALENKA surrounded by upside down and right side up question marks. Alenka is Czech for "Little Alena." My grandfather always called me that. The tattoo is not only done in his memory, but it represents my heritage, everything I know about being Czech and everything I may never know. It's a tattoo that is timeless and will ring just as true as the day I got it.

I chose a tattoo to express this part of myself because I felt like I would get the most out of the experience. I personally feel that if you are willing to pay someone a decent amount of money for someone to drag what feels like a vibrating cat scratch across your skin, whatever you're getting must be worth it.

My grandfather passed away last April. I was devastated. I knew almost instantly that I was going to want to get a memorial tattoo for him. I decided to wait a year before I got anything. I've found that the first year without someone whom you loved so dearly is hardest. Each holiday or special occasion without them is like an old would being opened over and over again.

This will be my third tattoo, maybe my last for a while now. Choosing to get tattoos at an early age has given me a lot of faith and confidence in myself and in my decisions. I feel more secure in the choices that I make and that has benefitted me deeply.



Cover Image Credit: Alena Mayer

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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The 5 Types of Retail Customers

A run-down on the many forms of customers you either encounter as a retail employee or are guilty of being.

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We all get summer jobs or seasonal jobs at some place to get that extra cash when we find ourselves broke after spending $300+ on Ubers/Lyfts in under a month (possibly speaking from personal experience). This in turn led me to broaden my job searching horizons and led me to work at a fast food chain that goes by the name of 'Salsaritas' (ironic since my nickname is Salsa, also was not intentional) and currently a retail store at a local mall. So, I guess it's safe to say that I have come across a lot of different people with a whole lot of personality. Working in these types of industries, it can sometimes be really hard and pretty interesting. So voila, here we go:

1. The Always Angry Customer

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This is the customer that is constantly angry. They walk in pissed off and they want everyone else to know that they are pissed off. This type of customer also uses at least one of these following sentences: "Let me talk to your manager. Who's your manager?" or the "How long have you been working here for?" Honestly, there's not much you can do to help them other than try to just do what they ask for and get them the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

2. The Messy Customer

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Easily one of the most annoying types of customers (sorry). This person will walk and run their hands through an entire counter or rack full of perfectly folded clothes, unfold them, and then just leave them on the counter or on the floor. They also have the "it's fine, it's their job to fold them" mentality. Honestly though, how hard is it to put a jacket or shirt back on a hanger? And if you're this type of customer please, please, please, put what you found back where it came from. Sincerely, every retail employee ever.

3. The Super Nice Customer

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This customer is god-send and thank god that they exist. They are the ones who you can just tell are genuinely good people. New at work and don't know how the hell to ring up a customer at a register? No worries, they'll wait there patiently, smile at you, and occasionally tell you that "you're doing great sweetie." They treat you like you're not just a retail employee and at the end of the day, you just wanna give them a hug for making your day feel less shitty.

4. The Talkative Customer

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There's two parts to this one. This type of customer is either talking on the phone while you're ringing them up at the register or is just trying to get to know literally everything there is to know about you. If they're on the phone, it's impossible to know if they're responding to you or to the person who they're on the phone with. The worst part is when they hold up one finger to signal to you that they'll be just a minute and leave you to just awkwardly stand in front of them while trying not to listen to their entire conversation. The other part is when they just want to get to know you which is cute and all until they're just trying to analyze your entire background, where you're from, what you're studying, etc. Luckily if you're like me who wasn't born in the U.S. with a very ethnic name, you just scored yourself a talkative customer. Well done and good luck getting out of the conversation!

5. The Last Minute Customer

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Imagine that you just did an 8 hour shift and right when you're about to clock out and head out to go home, you see a customer walking in literally a minute or two before the whole mall is about to close. They'll probably ask you if you're about to close even though they can see that there's not a single person inside there other than you. They'll also probably tell you that they know exactly what they're looking for. It's never true and get ready for that OT. But hey, on the bright-side, you'll get a fat pay-check.


So, the next time you find yourself at a mall...Remind yourself to pick up something you might've accidentally dropped, keep in mind that workers are human beings too, and kindness goes a long way because at the end of the day, that employee could be one of your loved ones.

Until next time,

Salsa.


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