Holidays vs. Tattoos and How to Deal With It

I’m not a fan of the holidays. I’m gonna say it outright – this time of year just stresses me the fuck out.

For all intents and purposes, you would think I’d love them – copious amounts of cooking/baking, drinking (hello!), shopping, dressing classy-ish, seeing friends out of their usual element. The thing is though – I stress myself out. If I’m making a casserole, I want it to be the BADDEST ASS casserole you have EVER put in your mouth. If I get you a present? I want you to cry, like – shed literal tears over how awesome the gift I got you is. I feel like if I don’t have high standards in these arenas, then fuck it, what’s the point? I guess there’s a look into part of my neurotic nature. If I break down crying after you don’t break down crying out of the sheer enigmatic ecstasy that is my coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe, well, now you know why… you heartless BITCH.

Ahem.

In all seriousness, and I know I’m not alone in this boat, but I’m not one for the holiday season. Granted, there’s something comforting about a yearly ritual, especially as you get older and you’re left to continue the ritual on your own. I do stress out about presents, and I do stress out about the food I make for my friends and family. This year, however, one thing I’m not going to stress out about – my tattoos.

A minute and dismissible topic for a lot of people, myself included (for the most part). However, a lot of people still struggle with bringing themselves to “outing” themselves to family with this form of self expression. This sort of prejudice may seem flippant, but in truth it’s a conversation a lot of people that choose this “lifestyle” deal with on the day to day.

A great majority of the people I hold near and dear to my heart have tattoos. Most of them are pretty much covered. In fact, most of my more successful friends are those with the most tattoo work. I’d like to take the time now to disclose that I do not associate with drug dealers, rapists, con artists, or criminals of any sort. I love the fuck out of my friends and am proud to say that I have nothing but respect for all that they do – in keeping the art community alive, in keeping the music community active, in protecting our borders and our country as a whole, in keeping criminals off the streets, and in keeping our families alive as nurses, doctors, veterinarians, and so on. It’s a choice. It’s a choice good people, as well as those who are more troubled than some, make. That doesn’t throw us all in the same boat. We’ve all been told, throughout our lives, to not judge a book by it’s cover – yet I still see that happening daily. In this day and age, one would think that we as a whole would be over this sort of pre-imposed judgement but we’re not. That fact alone breaks my heart.

It’s a way of expression. It’s not hurting you, it’s bringing joy to the subject. Most, if not all individuals that adhere to this lifestyle are active and supplementing the artistic community in a big way. Isn’t that a community we’d want to nurture for years to come? What would we have if not for the creative minds that decided to brazenly elbow their way through these crowds of conservative, tight lipped individuals? The same right-winged masses that then cried out for entertainment in the forms of books and plays and the like?

Who’s writing the screenplays you’re so enamored with? Who’s writing the songs you tap your feet to? Who’s illustrating or painting the covers of your books, magazines, your articles, your album covers? Designing the intro piece to your favorite cooking or “From ‘Drab’ to ‘Fab’!” show (barf)? Better yet, who’s cooking your $75 fillet mignon at that five star eatery? Who decided what sorbet to serve as a palate cleanser, and who perfected a mocha mint chocolate mouse that had you grabbing at the all-too-polite waiter for the recipe?

It was one of us. We’re behind all of it. We helped you keep up with your “fabulous” lifestyle.

How many news stories to you hear about, day in and day out, about us “kids” covered in tattoos committing heinous crimes? I keep up with the news. 8 or 9 times out of 10 (I will admit… I suck at math) it’s a straight laced dude with too much power seeing what he can get away with. THAT’S who’s corrupting your kids. THAT’S who’s putting powder up their noses and shit in their veins. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve never taken part in it, or even entertained the idea of perpetuating it. It’s heartbreaking and disgusting to me and every single person I associate with.

Thankfully, thus-far in life I have not encountered this kind of prejudice. Not a lot of people that I know can say that. I pray to whatever God is out there, that this will not stand – That people of every race, every religion, every sexual orientation, every constitution will be able to live how they see fit and will be able to do so under his or her free will. Right wing or left wing – in between or just doesn’t care.
I want you to be able to practice whatever you want, so long that it’s not physically, mentally, or emotionally hurting anyone. In turn, I would like to be able to do the same.

How, then, do those of us who encounter such prejudice deal with it?

Prove them wrong. It’s as simple as that. Be the awesome, caring, intelligent, understanding, vibrant, multi-faceted individual that you are and always have been. Through these normal, day to day actions the stereotype is quietly being torn down, hopefully allowing those with doubts to see that you did not just break out of prison to steal all of their worldly possessions to fuel your crack addiction.

Well… what if that doesn’t work?

Pffft… fuck’em.

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