Lately I’ve been thinking about getting some ink. Nothing major, just a small gesture toward creative freedom and expression. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and never had the nerve to. Mostly because it hurts.
The other thing that held me back for a long time was my upbringing. Both my parents are anti-tattoo. Not for cultural or political reasons, but because a tattoo is permanent. As my mother pointed out, “what if you change your mind?” Plus, she’s terrified that I’ll fall victim to bacterial infection.
However, the loudest anti-tattoo factions seemed to be motivated by prejudice. In the course of my research – because, let’s face it, there’s no way I’d make a decision so permanent without extensive research into the history, process and benefits of tattooing, not to mention the best places to go – I’ve found a lot of negative press. The sad part is people who go to tattoo forums specifically to rant against tattoos. Two of the comments that came up most often were “tattoos are dirty” and “people with tattoos are criminals.”
I don’t understand why a practice that has existed for millennia, often conferred as an honor upon the best and brightest, is now regarded by many to be abhorrent.
Can anybody shed any light on this for me? Why do so many people hate tattoos and look down upon those who have them?
When I was thirteen, and then again when I was fifteen, my parents took my brother and me to the Gold Coast for a holiday. For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, that’s approximately two days drive from where I live in Melbourne. Mum and Dad, wisely, planned the trip with lots of bathroom and leg-stretching breaks, but there were still some loooooong periods in that car, all four of us together. The only thing that prevented arguments? Music.
I was born in the ‘eighties, so Elvis Presley and the girl groups of the sixties were not my normal listening fare. Until those trips. Mum bought a double CD of Elvis’s Greatest Hits, and during those drives, my brother and I became extremely intimate with over forty of the King’s songs. I can now sing many of those, and more, word perfect, and I can honestly say that I’m an Elvis fan. To the point that I visited Graceland while I was in the States. Anyone who has ever heard an Elvis song should make the trip. The man was so much more than just a singer, and his home and the museums were a revelation to me.
But between the wonderful Rock’n’Roll hits that I so love to belt out, there are some truly beautiful ballads. One of my favorite songs, full stop, no questions, is If I can Dream. Look it up on YouTube – the lyrics are wonderful, and the music so powerful. Sad songs, the ones that make me tear up? In the Ghetto, Don’t Cry Daddy, and An American Trilogy. Songs that made me laugh? Anything with a high note that my brother tried and failed to hit 🙂
Anyone else out there an Elvis fan? Or, who was the unexpected musical influence in your life?