Comebacks and Tattoos
“You’ll never find a husband with all of those tattoos.” Real words from an old school family member. Now I’m going to be real with you; up until that very moment, I had never thought about another human or their opinion while getting or considering a tattoo. Someone else’s perspective just never crossed my mind. However, right then, I was offended and at that moment I cared. Self-doubt set in, the what ifs and insecurities of my very permanent decision.
Some years later, their fears were proved unfounded when I found a man that loved me and married me, even with my tattoos. Soon after, I began my half sleeve. The tattoo that sparked the comment from my family member was about an easy-to-hide piece of art with a lot of personal significance. The half sleeve also had significance, and having it now makes me feel like myself.
The point here is that it can be that small. A thoughtless, small statement, made by someone you care about, or even a stranger, has the ability to turn into a steep slope of self-doubt, a lack of self-confidence and suddenly, before you know it, it carries over to other areas of your life. You begin to make decisions based on fear caused by this quick, thoughtless, passing statement.. You start to opt out of doing something you really love because … fear; there is this fear of being judged and that – that’s just the beginning.
From there, you likely then begin to judge other people because of your lack of self-confidence and your inability to be who you want to be. You judge the people that are doing, or saying, or being what you want to do, say or be. They are living the life you want to live and the only difference is that they don’t care about other people’s judgement, or even better, their ignorance is bliss.
So, let’s fast forward four years. I’m no longer married, but my half sleeve is still there – duh – and dI love it. It means SO much to me. There is no insecurity around it. It is part of me, it makes me … me. So, the conversation of finishing my sleeve begins, and I have more of a story to tell, so why not. I begin to think about it, research topics, and eventually something resonates with me. I decide on it and book my appointments. Now, we’re a year into this single-in-my-30s thing (ugh the dating scene, am I right?) and all of a sudden, as my appointment nears, here comes that self-doubt. It creeps in and it fits like your favorite, oldest pair of shoes. Too comfortable, no support, and yet you can’t shake it.
“What if I can’t find someone to love me?” I ask my best friend. She’s silent, in awe I think because she thinks I’m the cat’s meow, I mean she really really loves me even in my ugliest state, she sees me. I proceed with, “what if someone won’t date me simply because of my tattoos?” “Then you don’t want them and they don’t see you and they are NOT meant for you,” she says with ease. She is so confused by my sudden doubt of something I was so certain of two weeks ago. “The plan doesn’t change, the man that is out there for you is going to love YOU, the whole you” she finishes. This is why she’s my “best” friend. She’s right and I know it.
My point? Self-doubt has kept us all from way more than a tattoo. The fear of being judged has taken more from you than you even know. It’s time to stop living for anyone but yourself. Who cares about the stranger on the train judging your latest wild hairstyle, or the family member that means so much to you but doesn’t understand your decision to quit your well-paying but miserable job, or the friend who thinks you should stay with the partner that doesn’t make you happy because, well, it’s easier. You have been given this one shot, this one opportunity to give this world a gift … the gift of you. No one else can do it, no one else can be it, so I have a serious question. What would the world be like if we let the naysayers win? If you never became the most authentic version of yourself?
You have to fill your own cup. You have to be the realest version of you. Don’t be afraid to scare off those that weren’t meant for you. You will find the people that are meant to love you and more importantly, you’ll have found yourself along the way. So, go out there and be yourself, go with your gut and don’t doubt it because it knows you.
I also have a favor of you. Let this be a lesson the next time you judge someone else. Instead, when the judgement creeps up, ask yourself what characteristic of yourself do you see in them that you dislike, and if you express your judgement to them and they begin to doubt themselves, what truly beautiful gift did YOU just steal from the world?
Start today. Start listening to your gut and thinking with your heart. Pass less judgement. Instead, choose to uplift the ideas and spirits of others, and please, please above all else, be you. Give the world that gift. Who knows, it might be something we all need.
It’s time to make your COMEBACK. Buy the ticket, quit the job, take the trip, tell them you love them and get the damn tattoo.