As I grow older I find myself slowly filling my skin with tattoos telling a story of my life. My parents have a different view on the portraits and designs I have permanently drawn on me than I do. They think they are ugly and have no purpose being on my body and are repulsed every time that they see them. My parents grew up in a Jewish household and have been taught that one who gets tattoos is committing a crime against their body by defacing it for eternity. However, in the generation that I have grown up in, tattoos have become a way to express yourself.
I look at my tattoos as artwork and my body is essentially a living, breathing, walking canvas. The ink that I have tells a story of struggle, strengths, and weaknesses. My parents look at it as an irresponsible decision that I will regret down the road. Growing up in different generations, my parents have a completely different view on my tattoos than I do. I currently have four pieces that mesh into two larger pieces. On my left arm there is a demon surrounded by cherry blossoms, and there is also a geisha holding a fan covering half of her face.
The cherry blossoms indicate a new beginning surrounding my inner demon and the geisha represents inner beauty and outer beauty. On my right arm there is a samurai mask depicting my strong side and also an octopus expressing my ability to adapt to tough situations that approach me. This is my way of expressing the struggles and conflict in my life, while also expressing strengths and joys. My parents believe that if I wanted to express those emotions that I should write a book or speak about it. They grew up in a generation where tattoos were not popular and the only people that got them were sailors and people in the military.
But the tattoos have meaning to me, deep meaning. I will remember what they represent for the rest of my life and they will never lose their meaning to me. People are likely to see more tattoos on the generation that I am living in rather than the generations before me. The majority of my friends have tattoos ranging from premedical students to art major students. From talking to my friends they seem to all say that it is their way of expressing feeling and emotions. But when I talk to my parents and relatives their answer is that since I have tattoos it would be reasonable to think that I partake in other devious activities.
The outlook on tattoos where I have worked is that they seem unprofessional and intimidate others. In restaurants my managers, who are usually over the age of thirty, seem to have a negative outlook upon a full sleeve of tattoos and have made me cover them up with long sleeves or a piece of clothing. The difference in opinion on tattoos between two generations is astronomical and almost the complete opposite side of the spectrum. I am curious to find out what the viewpoint will be on tattoos as the people of my generation are the most senior employees and if as many actions will be taken to cover up the tattoos.
The time I have sat through in order to get all of my tattoos is close to twenty five hours and I have spent close to two thousand dollars but it has all been well worth it. My sister is an artist and argues that if I spent that time to draw my own work that it could be more useful and easier to show other people. I disagree with that because my tattoos travel everywhere I go and they also are a topic of conversation when I go out with my friends. My parents also believe that if I were to spend have of the money and time towards something productive that it would be a lot more beneficial.
Throughout high school I was in art classes and graphic design classes which I used my creativity to produce pieces of art, I have used the same creativity to design and come up with my own tattoos. With every piece of art my tattoos will always have a deep seeded meaning to me, I do not wonder about what other people think of them, to me they are a part of my life. The generations are changing with what is popular and socially acceptable. My parents still seem to be numb to the changes but are slowly accepting with what society is doing. I agree with tattoos and what they represent and how people express their feelings.
Without my tattoos I would not be me, they will always be a part of me and my being. My parents were raised in a different era where tattoos represented rebellion and deviousness, but in my generation they portray stories, emotion, and have a lot more meaning that people think. I do not regret any of the artwork I have done and wear them with pride. My family accepts me for who I am, even though they do not agree with every decision I make, they do stand behind me and support me. With every generation comes changes in style and expression, I just hope that people can see what tattoos mean through my perspective.