This is me. Love it or leave it.

A facebook friend of mine recently posted how she wouldn't hire someone for her business, to watch their kids, or clean her house of they have tattoos. While I see (sort of) where she's coming from -- she's a Baby Boomer, and it's definitely seen less "acceptable" among people from her generation-- it definitely made me think.

I got my first tattoo at 18, the summer after my first year in college. I chose to get a swallow (it's a swallow, not a sparrow!) on my foot for a couple of reasons. The first was that, traditionally, swallows (shut up) were tattooed on sailors for the completion of a journey circumnavigating the globe. For me, my first year in college was DEFINITELY a challenge and a journey. I originally got it without any red, because that's Stanfurd's color-- another reference to college. Another reason for choosing a bird was that in elementary school, my best friend called me Birds, because the way I wrote my name in cursive looked like Birds, instead of Linds.

Tattoo #1, freshly inked in 2007.

touchup and shading, early 2008

I got my second (and biggest) tattoo in the fall of 2008. I'd just had a really awful breakup that summer, followed by a metric shitton of emotional upheaval and huge life changes. I'd been planning this one for a while, saving up for it, but had to put it off for a couple months because things had gotten so bad post-breakup. In hindsight, getting this one might have been partially a way of externalizing all of the pain I was feeling at that point, but it also has a deeper meaning. I love the traditional style, and having the heart-shaped lock and key served as a reminder that don't need someone else to find the key to my heart, as it were. That I'm whole as myself, not as part of a couple. It's a big piece, and I know my parents think I'll regret it... but I don't. I mean, my skin isn't perfect anyways... so I might as well add something pretty to it, right?

Freshly inked, Fall 2008

In addition to my tattoos (which I certainly see as a means of self-expression), I have nine piercings. Yup, 9. 7 in my ears, my nose, and my belly button (the product of a stupid trip to the piercing parlor at 17 where I lied about my age, hah). Do I still look pretty conservative? You betcha. In the winter, people don't even know that I have tattoos. In the summer, they're more obvious. Half the time, I forget they're there until some stranger randomly comes up and touches my back -- that's a post for another time, though.

Here's the thing, though. I have two tattoos and nine piercings. I also have TWO bachelor's degrees from the #1 public university (go bears!) and a shitton of work experience. I've started a business that's growing at a huge rate in a horrific economy and become almost totally self-sufficient in a matter of six months. I'm loyal (sometimes to a fault), compassionate, and if my school grades are any indicator, pretty darn smart. I've gotten one ticket in my whole life (for talking on the phone while I pulled out of a parking spot) and have never been so much as called into the principal's office for behavioral issues. So, to be frank, while I respect her as a person, I think that outlook -- to refuse, bar none, to do business with or give any responsibility to someone simply because they have tattoos-- is antiquated at best. Do I initially hesitate if someone has super crazy facial tattoos or look like the lizard man? Yes. Does that make them any less of a responsible/good person? Nope. No more than not having tattoos means that you're automatically trustworthy.  I think there's still a line, in general, about what's accepted... some tattoos, tastefully done, no big. When you start with the crazy flames up your neck? Definitely less socially acceptable. Appearances are important, there's no way around it. But am I any less worthy of a job -- or more importantly, your respect-- because I have a couple tattoos and some body jewelry?  Am I any less awesome because I chose to express my creativity through artwork I designed myself, in a style of expression that's been around for centuries? HELLS no. If you think I'm irresponsible, untrustworthy, or just less than you because of that... well, you're missing out on a whole lot of fabulous over here.

{This is what you're missing out on! Minus the cat. Plus darker hair.}

What do you think? Would you hire someone if they had visible tattoos? Does it depend on what the tattoos are of? (I, for one, want nothing to do with a person if they have swastika tattoos. Or shitty kanji tattoos, but that's because I tend to go for idiots who have them!)