Photo by Timothy Paul Smith on Unsplash

Don’t Touch My Tattoos

It’s just my skin

Shannon
Shannon
Jan 3, 2019 · 3 min read

Tattoo virgin

It was the day after I turned 18. I walked into the tattoo parlour to get my very first tattoo. A stark black silhouette of a film camera that took up the majority of my forearm. A pretty bold move for someone who was legally considered a child just hours prior.

Fast forward two years and I’ve half a sleeve and random tattoos scattered around my body, from an eye on my ankle to a moon on my neck. It was at this point, when my tattoos became bigger, bolder and brighter that they started to catch people’s attention. And it wasn’t always positive.

You don’t have to love them

Look, I know tattoo’s aren’t to everyone’s taste, and that’s absolutely fine. Instead of wasting your precious breath and telling me, maybe use that breath and release some positive intentions into the universe.

Because I really don’t give a fuck.

The first time a stranger told me they didn’t like my tattoos, I was in work. A man who I was serving felt obliged to tell me that I was pretty, but he just didn’t like my tattoos. Cool. I genuinely do not care if people dislike what art I choose to decorate my body with.

Frank the ghost

Another common feature that appears in my unwanted conversations with strangers about my decisions on what I do to my own body, often features the topic of regret. I’m not going to pretend I have no regretful tattoos. Because I do.

I have an awful monstrosity of a tattoo. It’s quite small and it goes by the name of Frank and he lives on my inner arm. Frank is a ghost that cost me €30 (pro tip: generally cheap tattoos = bad tattoos). Frank didn’t heal too well and so he scabbed over and parts of the ink fell out.

So if you want to talk about regret, I’ll show you Frank. But does it consume my every waking hour, causing me immense grief and self loathing? No. I whip him out at social gatherings and everyone has a good laugh about how horrific, yet adorable he is.

I don’t care if you dislike my tattoos, and I don’t care if you think I’ll regret them.

But what I do care about is people who think they can touch me, just because I have tattoos.

The first time (and not the last) someone touched my tattoos freaked me out. Once again, I was in work serving a young woman, maybe 3 or 4 years older than me when she grabbed my arm out of nowhere, and I freaked out.

Here’s the thing.

I don’t consciously walk around every day of my life thinking “I have tattoos. I have tattoos. I am a tattoo’d person” 24/7. I forget about them. I am so used to seeing them that I become almost blind to them, like you become blind to your own freckles.

So when a stranger suddenly grabbed my hand across a counter while I was holding the best part of €100, I freaked. My first reaction was that she was going to try and steal the cash. It wasn’t until the “oh my god, your tattoo!” came out of her mouth that my worry was put at ease.

If I grabbed a random persons arm and held it in place while I used my other arm to stroke their flesh, I would fully expect to be punched in the face. You can’t just start grabbing people and stroking and touching their skin just because they have ink on their body.

It’s just ink on skin. It doesn’t feel any different than regular skin. It doesn’t glisten in the sun, it doesn’t change colour, it doesn’t have any funky textures. It’s just skin. My skin. Which I didn’t give you permission to touch. So don’t.

You wouldn’t go up to a pregnant woman who you don’t know and start touching her stomach, would you? No. Because she didn’t give you permission. You wouldn’t go up to a POC and start touching their hair, would you? No. Because they didn’t give you permission.

So stop touching my tattoos. It’s really weird.

Shannon

Written by

Shannon

Student // Crystal jewellery maker // Holistic health enthusiast // Mindfulness facilitator // Mental health advocate

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