Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 21- Being Heavily Tattooed

If you guys follow me on my various social networks, you probably saw today that I posted a comment left by someone on my video about how my tattoos actually grossed her out. I really thought this comment was funny and kind of dumb and I laughed it off and posted it as a joke.
But it got me thinking about being a heavily tattooed woman in 2016.
I started getting tattooed 15 years ago. The world was a different place then. You just really didn't see that many heavily tattooed people-- least of all women. I have always been a punk at heart and I have always wanted to sort of live on the outskirts of the norm. When I started getting tattooed... I did it to be different. To be unique. To stand out. And boy did I!
What I didn't realize was the lifelong dedication visible tattoos are.
I get emails all of the time from people asking advice for first time tattoos or from people wanting to get hands/necks/faces. Let me first say that I am just one person who has lived with being heavily tattooed for many years, and these are my experiences and opinions. But I know that a lot of my equally (and more heavily) tattooed friends tend to agree.
Before you get heavily tattooed, you HAVE to think about it. Tattoos are not something that should be done on a whim. Especially big pieces, or very visible pieces. If you are going to a tattooer with any sense of ethics... they will also tell you these things. Most reputable tattooers won't tattoo hands, necks, or faces unless the person is already heavily tattooed and already spent some time living in that body. This is for a reason! They aren't just trying to be dicks, I promise.
One of the major things you have to get used to is the attention. And a lot of people get tattoos in the first place for attention... but oftentimes don't realize what they are getting into. Get ready for daily stares. Daily questions. Daily touching. Get ready for people to want to talk about tattoos in the most inappropriate places. There is nothing more awkward than your gyno inserting a speculum while she asks you which tattoo hurt the most. Get ready to be judged when you are trying to appear professional. Once you get tattooed, your personal bubble no longer exists. I have been touched, grabbed, and fondled by men and women equally with no permission asked or remorse given for not asking. I was once standing in line at the grocery store, having just finished a heavy workout at the gym. I was wearing a sports bra and a tank top, and the woman behind me ran her hand down my disgustingly sweaty back and said "Wow! Your back piece is beautiful!" Dude. Just no.
I can say that the world has changed a lot in 15 years. I don't get nearly as many dirty looks as I used to. Now that tattoo shows are the norm, people don't judge as harshly. Preppy girls now have neck tattoos. It is a different world. In general. You will still get haters, I promise.
And even though society has shifted a little... corporate America hasn't. Getting a job with visible tattoos is still just about as hard as it used to be. If you don't have a set career, please dear God do not get your face tattooed. Nothing bums me out more than seeing 19 year old kids with no future plans that are fully blasted. I got lucky to have the job that I do... but I still don't have my hands, neck or face slathered in tattoos so that if, God forbid, I ever need to get a "real" job, I can cover everything up.
At the end of the day... tattoos are a personal choice. No one can make that choice for you. But think long and hard before you make the commitment to be a "tattooed" person. Honestly... I got them in the first place to be different. And now I kind of just feel like another one of the flock.

23 comments:

  1. Just do whatever you want with your skin...nobody forced that asshole (sorry for the unkind word) to watch your video...if someone don't like certain things why the heck they watch????sadly there's a lot of assholes like her worldwide...keep going on cherry I learned a lot of the vintage pinup thanks to you...regards

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  2. My husband has wanted to get a full sleeve nearly forever, but he is in a director position at a large company. He has spent the last two summers wearing long sleeved dress shirts (even when he visits a plant; think "surface of the sun" type heat) to test whether or not he could manage keeping his arms covered.

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    1. That is one of the smartest things I have heard in a long time!

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  3. My husband has wanted to get a full sleeve nearly forever, but he is in a director position at a large company. He has spent the last two summers wearing long sleeved dress shirts (even when he visits a plant; think "surface of the sun" type heat) to test whether or not he could manage keeping his arms covered.

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  4. I have a few tattoos. Nothing you can see if I don't actually show you. As open minded as I think I am I still have a hard time seeing people heavily tattooed. That being said people should do what they like...it doesn't bother me and I appreciate art. My daughter is 16 as incessantly talks about how she is going to have a sleeve on one or both of her arms when she's old enough. I don't suppose I am against it entirely it's her body but I do appreciate you giving a warning to those who would do this permanent thing at a young age. Make some plans...live some life...and remember...in the corporate world nothing says "HIRE ME" like a neck tattoo.

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  5. I love your tattoos and you inspired me to get my chest piece which I am so in love with and plan to expand. I'm 33 with a career but if I ever get fired or don't get a job because of my tats I will assume that that is not the job for me. My tattoos are part of who I am. I feel a bit sad that you say you just feel one of the flock,yes it's more common now but it's people Like you who have Inspired others to express themselves in that way. Love u Cherry xx

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  6. Working in an office and working with a lot of different clients I so far have tattoos that can be easily covered up. I have three but would like more. I agree that you should think hard especially in hard to hide places. I also think they should mean something! There is nothing wrong with picking a premade design if it speaks to you but I think if a tattoo has some kind of meaning or memory attached you won't regret it...well unless it was done very very badly. I think they look beautiful on you, they suit you. Don't let the haters get you down!

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  7. I wish I had done more thinking about my tattoo. I am only 18, 19 in a month, but it was a month after my 18th birthday I got mine.
    It holds several meanings for me, but the main heavy one was for a miscarry at 17 and for losing my brother and for losing a relationship I loved due to a mental disorder. It's just a little cloud with some words on the inside. But the guy put it on my breast and not my shoulder, so now I can't wear tops I love because it peeks out and it's so heavily shaded it almost looks like a dirt smear. I love the thought behind it and it helped me overcome grief because with the loss of my brother and relationship within days of each other, I really needed something to keep me grounded. I lost my job over it, because it's not the most attractive. I didn't speak up about placement or the way he had shaded it on paper. I should have, after all it was going to be on my body, not his. But he also wasn't licensed and I hadn't gotten my state I.D. yet.

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  8. I'm a teacher and want to get at least one full sleeve however, I understand that in my line of work it doesn't look great. What I find interesting is there are male teachers with forearm tattoos ( I do have tattoos but they're covered with clothes).. That being said my husband and I have decided when we retire, it's on!! We're both getting full sleeves, we just have to wait 30 years.. I do appreciate your post because I have students that are already tattooed and I worry that they're so young, but I also wonder who's doing tattoos on teenagers that are underage..

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  9. My first tattoo EVER is in my hands. I got my fingers tattooed, including knuckles and it's the only tattoo I have. I'm only 19 and I must Admit I saw myself reflected on what you wrote. Now I realize my artist wasn't the most professional tattooer out there, as a bunch of people including you say that a professional artist will not tattoo visible places if you have a clean canvas, but I don't regret about it at all. I'm about to graduate university and I have a full time job, and other little jobs I do here and there. I also plan on get as much tattoos as I can, Not to stand out or to get attention, as so much people is tattooed nowadays, but because I just freaking love them since I was a child. Thank you for sharing your experience lady!

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  10. I am heavily tattooed as well. It's been a life long journey from the age of 17 to now(41). I now have 2/3 of my body covered. I totally agree with you on this. My personal space has been invaded so many times throughout the years, that I almost expect it now. It's almost like being pregnant 24/7 365 days a year. Strangers feel as if it's okay to touch my arms, back, legs, etc- just like they do to a baby bump! I've been grabbed and whirled around by strangers. Just so they can check out all of my work. I've even had people that felt as if it was okay to nearly disrobe me, to see my back.
    I work in a medical office and have for the past 20+ years. I wear long sleeves and tights or pants every day. In Texas, that's quite hard when it's 100 degrees out. But it's required and I suck it up.
    I do not regret any of my art work. I love all of it. It is all a part of who I am. I've always marched to my own drum and will continue to do that until I die.
    Young kids go full throttle and get tattooed thinking it's cool and sets them a part from others. Sadly, they don't put a lot of thought into their decisions and end up with things they eventually regret. A reputable and respected artist will discourage you from getting obscenities tattooed on you. They will also discourage the places of your body that you can't cover up with clothing.
    If you haven't decided yet what you plan to do with your life, make sure you think it all the way through. Just because you love Care Bears at 18 doesn't mean you will want to see that Care Bear on your shoulder or calf when you are 40.
    This is NOT something to do on a whim or a drunken night out. Choose wisely, not just the art work you get, but who you choose to let do your work. The artist is even more important than the art you pick out.
    Remember that good tattoos aren't cheap and cheap tattoos aren't good!!! This is a lifetime commitment.

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  11. I am heavily tattooed as well. It's been a life long journey from the age of 17 to now(41). I now have 2/3 of my body covered. I totally agree with you on this. My personal space has been invaded so many times throughout the years, that I almost expect it now. It's almost like being pregnant 24/7 365 days a year. Strangers feel as if it's okay to touch my arms, back, legs, etc- just like they do to a baby bump! I've been grabbed and whirled around by strangers. Just so they can check out all of my work. I've even had people that felt as if it was okay to nearly disrobe me, to see my back.
    I work in a medical office and have for the past 20+ years. I wear long sleeves and tights or pants every day. In Texas, that's quite hard when it's 100 degrees out. But it's required and I suck it up.
    I do not regret any of my art work. I love all of it. It is all a part of who I am. I've always marched to my own drum and will continue to do that until I die.
    Young kids go full throttle and get tattooed thinking it's cool and sets them a part from others. Sadly, they don't put a lot of thought into their decisions and end up with things they eventually regret. A reputable and respected artist will discourage you from getting obscenities tattooed on you. They will also discourage the places of your body that you can't cover up with clothing.
    If you haven't decided yet what you plan to do with your life, make sure you think it all the way through. Just because you love Care Bears at 18 doesn't mean you will want to see that Care Bear on your shoulder or calf when you are 40.
    This is NOT something to do on a whim or a drunken night out. Choose wisely, not just the art work you get, but who you choose to let do your work. The artist is even more important than the art you pick out.
    Remember that good tattoos aren't cheap and cheap tattoos aren't good!!! This is a lifetime commitment.

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  12. This was very interesting! Love your tattoos xx

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  13. The last few sentences struck hard. I only have 6 tattoos, but most are visible during the day and the comments and questions. I waitress and bartend, and by now I'm so sick of talking about my tattoos. I also get a lot of "wow I never could get a tattoo. I want to stay pure." Bla bla bla and it just gets old. I've said a few times that if I could go back in time, I probably wouldn't get them again. But when I stop and think about the sentiment that went into deciding on them, I know they weren't a bad idea.

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  14. My favorite tattoos that are on you are the leopard stars on the back of your legs. Those are fantastic! And when I met you in Sturbridge, MA. I was so excited to see them! LOL.

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  15. I love this topic! I have two and do plan on getting more, but I do remember working for a corporate company that had very strict dress code rules. No visible tattoos and no Doc Martins! One of my tattoos is on my ankle and I had to wear slacks all the time. In their eyes, nylons was not covering up your tattoo. They didn't want to see them at all! With that said my niece wanted a tattoo since she was 14 (she's 22 now), and I promised on her 18th birthday that I would get her that first tattoo. I thought she would forget, but that didn't happen, so of course the weeks leading to her birthday she reminded me about it and so I sat her down and had a very similar conversation with her about tattoo placement. Her tattoos are not very visible, so I guess she listened to me. LOL

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  16. I love ink; I got my first one at 18 (happy birthday to me) and I have gotten them for the last almost 20 years yes I am almost 38. I work in the medical field and although a lot of people are ok with it there are just as many who think it is trashy. I do my best to keep them covered out of respect for patients mostly because it makes my job easier, ie explaining why would you do that to yourself? doesn't it hurt, and of course will you keep getting more? lol yes it hurts, no I don't care that people judge me on them, yes I will continue to wave my "freak flag" xoxo

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  17. My English teacher has one full sleeve and is working on filling up her other arm and legs. And, being that she teaches 16-18 year olds, not a day goes by without her teaching our young know-it-all selves a thing or two about how the world works. She told us not to get tattoos until we are at least 30, or until we are mature enough to commit to having a tattoo. She taught us that tattoos are art, which is not something you hear often in the stuck up little town I live in. She has also told us about her struggles with her tattoos. She told us that it was almost impossible to find a job that took her seriously as an honors and AP teacher because she has tattoos (but she also mentioned that her favorite activity is letting people judge her as a "stupid freak" and then opening up her mouth and shutting the judgmental fools up by displaying her intelligence). Most importantly, she has taught us time and time again that our generation can be the group that breaks down these social barriers. Though I probably will never get a tattoo myself (due to my insane fear of needles), I am greatly inspired by both you and my English teacher and I see your tattoos as not only symbols of your uniqueness, but also your strength and confidence. Keep up the good work Cherry in everything you do, because beyond your tattoos, you are an amazing, kind, beautiful, smart, and strong inspiration to myself and countless other ladies and gents (especially in the vintage community). XOXOXO

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    1. Thanks for your kind words! And your teacher sounds pretty awesome!

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  18. I only have 6 tattoos, but I can relate to this so much. I'm 27 and started at 21, my last tattoo was 2 years ago. All of my tattoos were thought out for long periods of time and each had to be in a different city with meaning to me. 3 tattoos are visible most days, 4 in summer. As a waitress/bartender/restaurant manager tattoos aren't so uncommon (though my bosses still aren't huge fans and I can see them stare sometimes), but I have to deal with so many customers asking about it. My advice to my younger co workers is really think about it before you get it. I'm used to them now, but this isn't a fun piercing you can take out later or a funky hairdo that will grow back. This is ink on skin and it will be around for many many years. I honestly think that if I could to back in time, I wouldn't get them. It is what it is though.

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  21. This is something I've thought about for awhile and I'm actually scheduled to get my first "public skin" tatt tomorrow. I've wanted one for a long time and after walking around with a full sleeve on my left arm for 5 years now I can 100% agree with everything you said here. It does get tough sometimes just trying to go to the store but for me its about being comfortable in my own skin. I guess what I'm trying to say is question your own motivations first before you jump into something you can't jump back out of.

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Thank you so much for stopping by! Please be nice and kind with your words even if you have something to criticize. I am trying to answer to as many questions as possible but please have some understanding that I cannot answer to all of you. XOXO