I get it. I look different, and it is very much on purpose. I didn’t know it was that different until I ventured out of the bubble world of Colorado, and I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. Now I know.
I have loved tattoos since I was little, dreamed of being illustrated. It’s not like I grew up in biker bars or with grizzled old military guys with anchor tattoos. I was surrounded by Beat poets, Deadheads and musicians. Yeah, I was pretty much surrounded by a bunch of Hippies. When I saw someone with tattoos though, I was immediately drawn to them and always have been. Today tattoos are still quite unusual for women I’m sure we all know the stereotypes that go with them. There are still places you can get fired for wearing forever art. But I love them, I love the process. I have found that the art of tattoo, the whole process turns out to be quite a great metaphor for change but more on that some other time.
I am proudly sleeved, with a few others etched into me here and there. I am always thinking of the next piece. My hubby and I now collect them as we travel. Wonderful forever mementos, way better than a refrigerator magnet or a shot glass.
I’ve gotten used to the stares…mostly.
I am now used to people touching them.
I have realized that the looks are because I’m different, and people are curious. I believe that curiosity is a beautiful thing so I make it a point to be approachable and kind when asked about them. Cliché alert; be the change you wish to see.
I also happen to have a full head of pink hair, finally. I wanted pink hair forever and couldn’t do it. Could not dye my own damn hair. Too radical, what would people think? Well now, I know.
Kids look at me like I’m a cartoon, a My Little Pony. I see a tiny pointed finger and hear a squeaky innocent voice “that lady has hair like a pony!!” It makes me smile every time. I will smile and say that I love the ponies too, and see their parents smile.
Random strangers touch my hair and say they don’t have the balls to do it. Little old ladies approach me and whisper to me that they wish they had the courage to have hair like that. In a beautiful way, my pink hair has been a conversation starter if I allow it to be. People talk to me about it and so now, I welcome the conversations appreciating their courage to ask. Some have asked how I do it, some ask why? Having pink hair, something so seemingly unimportant, taught me another lesson in a very blunt and direct way. People waited too long, or never did what they wanted because they were afraid of what other people would think. Life is too short folks.
I am a defector from what a woman “should” look like I suppose. I could be prouder but it took a long time to get here, to a place of still delicate self-assuredness. Don’t think for a moment I don’t question my sanity on a regular basis when I hear snarky comments or see a very out loud eye-roll. Sometimes I can remind myself that it might still be me, that I’m just being self conscious. Sometimes that shit still stings.
Some of us were not made to fit in, or we just don’t want to anymore. My tattoos and pink hair are different, and I guess daring. They have given me courage to act in other ways. Maybe it is a case of fake it till you make it, but hey most days I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Now excuse me, I have a tattoo appointment.