This Is How I Handled Getting Tattoo Shamed At The Coffee Shop
I was sipping on my coffee waiting for the rest of my order...(yes, I drink coffee with a straw) which is another story for another day, when the guy standing next to me online made a comment to me under his breath about all the tattoos the barista had. She was pretty decorated, but who was this guy to comment on her creative expression. I just said, "you know, they're probably really meaningful to her". Then he looked me over and said, "oh you got em' too".
His tone was a bit flirty and a bit condescending all at once. I'm sure he was just kidding when he asked, "are any of them drunken mistakes"? It was kind of surprising though that both the barista and me could be so judged just by being there. I should have just ignored him but instead, I engaged, maybe I thought I could offer a teachable moment? That's the mom in me I guess.
I patiently told him that they were all intentional, they were not done until I was 40 and they are all positive reminders for me every day. I explained the one on the inside of my left wrist has the names of my three daughters so they are always with me.
The one on my left ankle is the latitude and longitude of Rockefeller Center in NYC. This one was twofold, it reminded me that with every step I took in my career I would be closer to getting back home to the tri-state area. Also, my mom took me to go ice skating thereafter she had a long fight with cancer. She passed away when I was 19 but I think of her and our special time there almost every day.
Then finally I have a tattoo on the side of my right forearm of three arrows. My sister-in-law and my oldest daughter, Bri, and I all got them together. One arrow for all three of us, reminding us to go forward or rise up. For me, if you raise your hand up, the arrows turned into a greater than signs, meaning nothing is greater than God.
I was hoping he would have a wave of self-realization wash over him and he would understand that everyone has a story and a creative way to tell that story is through tattoos. I always felt that if you identified with something or someone so much that you wanted those very feelings on the outside of you, then you are ready for one. It literally felt therapeutic for me to get them for that reason. It was telling the world what I was all about.
I wanted that guy to stop judging and start being curious and kind. Instead, his order was ready so he up and left. So much for a powerful ending LOL!