I like my arm tattoos. They look fun and artsy and they remind me that I am a little stranger than I was at age 13. Well, perhaps I’m the same amount of strange but my energy is devoted to art and fun whereas at 13, I focused on the Bible and pointing fingers at the sinners all around me. Yesterday, I was eating lunch at Community Plate in McMinnville and I felt a sense of solidarity. The guys behind the counter all seemed to have tattoos. Oh cool, I thought. You have tattoos? Me too! I’m sure the guys there at “the Plate” are cooler than me by maybe a smidge or so but it was funny, I totally felt safe in this place. Other people don’t always feel safe when they meet people with tattoos. My grandfather still grabs my arm to check out the tattoos every time I see him. He wouldn’t trust a waiter or flight attendant with tattoos on her arms or a ring in her nose. He’d be afraid.
I’m afraid of people with big trench coats and excessively dark clothes and eye make-up. I think, Eek! What if there’s a gun under the coat? Or, why is that guy wearing so much makeup?
It’s easy to get confused by people that are different from us. We accept ourselves and thus begin to believe that what we think, how we feel, and what we wear is normal. When we encounter people who are far from this image we have of normal us, we develop fear and judgment.
I try every day to judge a little less and love a little more. I wish I could be one of those uber-chill people who just let everything fly, but I do have a few basic beliefs that keep me from being that way. Example: It’s not ok to take a gun and shoot someone because you’re mad at them or they won’t give you money. Example 2: Getting in a fight in a bar because someone said hello to your girlfriend is just idiotic. Example 3: Hitting on a girl in a bar and continuing to pursue her after she blew you off makes you a complete moron. I know. I sound so enlightened. That’s the tattoos talking, people, I’m getting chiller by the minute.