The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. One of the great things about a tattoo is it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that in order to be a working professional, it is categorically *impossible* to have a tattoo… because how can someone with a tattoo be a professional? We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. 

 

Swimming at the community pool with my two year old daughter Grace yesterday I was struck by her fascination with a young man standing on the edge of the pool who was covered in tattoos. She openly stared at him and then smiled and said “look mummy, a bird, butterfly. Man draw on the self” and she giggled. Which left me and the young man giggling too.

It struck me then that for Grace those tattoos were just a cool drawing of birds and butterflies. Grace loves to draw. Its her very best thing to do. She also loves to draw on herself and I just let her do it. It all rubs off in the wash, and when she’s old enough to make informed decisions and wants a more permanent drawing, well for me that will be okay. For her Grampa maybe not so we may have to hide it from Paps for a while!

It made me think, when does the (now diminishing) taboo about having tattoos become a thing? Grace certainly didn’t judge the young man on his choices of self expression, would she have had she been five? Would she have had she been 12? 15? 18? I wonder when societal norms and rules imprint themselves on us in our development as human beings.

One of my biggest wishes as a parent is that Grace and Frances grow up without societal prejudices informing their decisions and how they act. I want them to grow up loving and accepting as many differences and choices in others as possible. I believe they will be happier for it.

Is prejudice not just a fear of that which is different to us? I don’t want my girls to live in fear for that which is different to them I want them to embrace it. Feel richer for our differences.

As a parent this is one of my big things. So if Grace ever does judge a guy at the pool for having tattoos, or different eyes, or burn marks on her skin, or different clothes, I will definitely have a conversation with her about embracing differences. But I also know as a parent, our kids learn more from how we act, than the conversations we have, so if I want my girls to accept others, I better make sure I practice what I preach always.

Tattoo’s are not for everyone. But they are very special and important to some. I think that’s cool. How utterly boring if we were all made the same right?

I didn’t take a photo of that guy at the pool so instead here is a photo or two of Grace doing what she loves best.

 

Grace painting