Okay, so I'm thinking about getting another tattoo. It's the flower above, but it's much smaller than my last piece. This one in particular has special meaning to me - it represents Ecuador (my mother's birthplace), and all my extended family on my mom's side. If it had a little talking bubble, it would say, "Hey! I stand for Pug Mom's love for Ecuador, her heritage, and her family!" The flower is called a lantana, and it grows in Latin America - there's actually a species that only grows in Ecuador. It is one of my biggest visual reminders of Ecuador - on my first visit to Ecuador, when I was 7 years old, I remember the house being flooded by overgrown lantana shrubs. And my cousins and I would go out, pick the flowers, and make little flower necklaces. Not a big deal, but something I've always remembered.
Now, some people have expressed concern that my current tattoo (and my next) will adversely affect my reputation and my career. And to a certain degree, I understand and agree with them. I realize that - generally speaking - most adult people have negative connotations attached to tattoos. They think they're trashy, indicate gang membership, association with scum, etc. And I know that a person with visible tattoos will often get discriminated against just because of their tattoos - regardless of the quality and artistry of the pieces.
I understand this, and I am under no illusions that I should be treated differently because my tattoos are "special", or that people will change. Because, honestly, it takes a very long time for people to change. Maybe my kids' generation (or my kids' kids' generation) will accept it. But not my generation. And certainly not my parents' generation. Knowing this, I still chose to get my current piece done. Why? I guess it boils down to the fact that it is important to me, and I don't believe I should have to live my life and make my choices based on what other people will think of me. I have thought very long about this, and I am morally and spiritually at peace with my decision.
However, like I said, I realize that this might influence other peoples' opinion of me. With that in mind, I made the decision early on not to have any tattoos that are visible in a short skirt and sleeveless shirt. That way, no one in my professional life will have the chance to judge me on anything other than my personality or work ethic, because there's nothing for them to see. And yet, I am managing to stay true to myself and not do things simply for other people.
And yes, my tattoos aren't invisible - you will be able to see them if I'm in a two-piece bathing suit. Or in my bra and panties. But those two situations are usually reserved for people very close to me. And I am only close to people who accept me completely - with or without the tattoos.
So, basically, I think I've covered all my bases. Making sure I present a clean-cut image to the professional world? Check. Still live my life the way I want to? Check.
And now, what do you think? Am I being unreasonable? Too optimistic? Think my boss will hunt me down at the beach and fire me for having a back tattoo? Have you had any experiences that support one side or the other? I'd really love to hear your opinion. And be honest. I'd rather hear the truth, as bad as it may be, than have you tell me everything will be just dandy. So, spill the beans, people!