The girl with the tattoos

It seems that almost everywhere I go, especially in the summertime, people will stop me to either compliment my tattoos or to barrage me with questions about them.

OK, Im not that tatted up, but I do have six tattoos, which seems like kind of a lot for a 20-year-old. To be fair, only three to four of them are actually visible if Im wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and none of them are particularly large. But people usually notice at least one and proceed to be shocked when I show them other ones.

Theres always the awkward Oh, what is that? and then they look closer and can obviously make out the stack of books and a coffee mug on the back of my left arm. Or What does that mean? when they see the three hearts on my left wrist, representing my two sisters and I.

I dont mind the questions and comments on my tattoos not one bit. In fact, I love when people ask me where I got them done, how much they cost or what a certain tattoo means to me.

What I dislike is when people particularly those in older generations try to warn me about my own future and my own body.

I appreciate the concern about whether Im going to be able to be hired or not, but its unnecessary. I have strategically placed my art in areas of my body that can be easily covered with business attire.

I understand why they think I might need to slow down, but my tattoos are a form of artistic expression for me. I know for a fact when Im old and wrinkly, Ill look at these tattoos and remember how much they still mean to me and all the memories associated with them.

I hope tattoos will continue to gradually be perceived as less of a problem and more as a way to see whats important to someone. Tattoos are becoming more and more prevalent amongst our generation, so employers and the world in general will have to adjust accordingly. For me, my tattoos represent my interests, my appreciation of beauty and my passion for art. That is something I will never regret.

What I urge you to do if you have or want a tattoo is to ignore those people who tell you what you can and cannot do when it comes to your self-expression. Do whatever the hell you want (as long as its not offensive or harming others), and show the world who you are.

Whether its through art, music, fashion, writing, social media, tattoos or anything else, define yourself; dont let the world define you.