Letter from America
Written by Ellen Neumann
Sullivan County, New York
February 10th, 2012.
DPNLIVE.com published an article written by me entitled Tattoos are not taboo today. I clearly stated my personal feelings about the art of tattooing and why I did not care for it. I asked for comments from my readers and WOW! Did I get an eye-opening earful! The opinions and comments I received made me realise there is a lot more to this present day phenomenon than I had previously considered. In fairness to those many intelligent inked people who took the time to reply to my article, I will tell you what I have learned.
Make no mistake: I believe every person (American, Irish or other) has the right to do whatever they choose with their body. If you want to get a single tat or cover yourself with them, I defend your right to do so. It matters not if I like it. My opinion takes a back seat to your personal freedom always. I also have a right, as a free person and mother, to express my thoughts.
Mark S, a young man who is heavily inked and was kind enough to allow me to photograph his tats (one of which I used in my first article and one I am posting on your left and below) is a decorated US Army veteran who served America valiantly in the recent conflict in Kuwait and Iraq. He now works as a deputy sheriff. His arm bears a message in bold letters: “What does not kill you will only make you stronger”. He also carries a tattoo of an angel surrounded by the world “Only the good die young” for his beloved grandmother who passed into eternity several years ago. Mark put great thought into the reasons he got these tats and sports them with deep pride. He is a grown man and knows exactly what he is doing. I respect his right to do so.
Jennifer G, a young lady from Georgia, wrote “…. when I was younger, I did stupid things when I was upset. I couldn’t always handle the emotional pain so I would slice my wrist to deal with a pain I could handle. I put a symbol of love there so if I ever tried it again, I would be forced to stop and think of all those I would hurt in the process. It has already helped me numerous times in the two years I have had my tattoo.” Jennifer is both courageous in sharing her story with the world and proactive in her effort to overcome her problem. It never occurred to me that a tat could be helpful yet Jen showed me it can. Bravo Jen.
Carol H wrote: “...To prove commitment to my upcoming marriage, I got a tattoo! A small blue rose on my left shoulder, the same side you wear a wedding ring…” Julie W states: “I do have tattoos… They are personal to me and yes, they will age and change, but so will the rest of me…”
Sandra S says: “…Some people tell me that once you get a tat, you want more; that the sensation of the actual act of getting inked (for some) is said to be near erotic.”
John P claims: “…They are my way of being non-conventional. I was getting them long before they became the current rage. I am 62 years old….”
Kyle K tells me: “It is estimated that 16 per cent of Americans have at least one tattoo. In a population of around 310 million, that puts the number of tattooed Americans roughly at 40.6 million people.”
Jack B proclaims to be “…a very big tattoo fanatic and love all that is tattoos…”
Poignantly and passionately, Diane SO writes: “I have a daughter who has many tattoos... all over…. I am proud to walk with her. She is a beautiful soul and has lived a lifetime for her young age… I know what matters in life, and quite frankly I don’t think tattoos matter. If someone turns away from me or my daughter... it is their loss. I have learned the hard way not to be judgmental. Sometimes it reaches around and bites ya!“
The above mentioned are a sprinkling of the comments in which people explained their reasons for making a commitment to ink. They are old and young, male and female, from different walks of life and with different philosophies. All are motivated to express themselves in the same way for different reasons. They are all thinking human beings who have made a common choice.
If I am going to be honest (I have to be in all fairness) I will say this: although my opinion remains the same it has actually softened a wee bit. I am not saying it would make me happy if one of my children made the decision to ink their body. Oh no, not at all! Yet I guess if this happened (Dear Reader: Please do not tell my children I said this) and they could give me a really good reason for doing it, I just might live to a ripe old age in spite of it! There, I said it. Tattoos are not lethal. They are not evil. That’s the truth of millions upon millions of people and they are sticking to it!
I welcome your comments. I will listen to you. Go for it!
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