I have friends who own businesses who wouldn’t consider hiring anyone with visible tattoos or non-lobe/multiple lobe piercings. I’m here to tell you that it’s a mistake if the only reason they’re not being hired is because of the body art.
I should mention that I have three piercings in each earlobe, three cartilage piercings in my left ear and two in my right, tragus piercings in both ears, a rook piercing in my left ear (the right will be done soon), and a nose piercing. I also have 18 tattoos. None of the tattoos are large, but some are visible even when I’m work-attired.
Why you should hire my decorated sisters and brothers:
- I’m awesome. Those same friends who wouldn’t hire someone with tats/piercings probably would hire me. They know me and know that I’m pretty damn great when it comes to being a good employee. I learn quickly, go above and beyond, and am a joy to have in the office. I can’t be the only decorated person with those qualities. If you know one, there have to be more.
- We are patient. Piercings can take a while to heal. My cartilage piercings took a full year (each of the three times I got them) to heal. They were painful. I got one ear done and waited until that ear mostly healed to get the other ear done. Then it was another year of pain. At least the piercings are done quickly. Tattoos, depending on how big and/or detailed can take hours over multiple sessions to complete. My biggest tattoo took an hour to complete and it was incredibly painful to finish. This was after I’d done three smaller tattoos. It’s the only time I’ve ever wanted to stop.
- We are creative. All types of body modification require some kind of creativity. We look at our bodies and see not what’s there, but what we feel should be there to fully express who we are. We get that picture in our minds and either design the tattoos ourselves, or know what to tell an artist to create. It takes a special person to see something where there isn’t anything.
- We know all about commitment. Tattoos and piercings require commitment. There’s a dose of pain involved in both. We don’t go after that just for fun (okay, most people don’t). Piercings will heal, but you may have a mark. Tattoos are hard to get rid of. You can cover it with another tattoo or try laser tattoo removal, which doesn’t always erase things completely. We go into a tattoo or piercing knowing and expecting that it will stay with us forever.
- We know who we are. Body modification like tattoos and piercings are extensions of who we know ourselves to be. Everyone has their own reasons for picking certain tattoos, but they generally all have meaning behind them. Even the tattoos people get at 18 when they’re out from under their parents’ watchful eyes. Sometimes what we value changes, but at the time the ink went onto the body, it meant something.
For fun, I’ll share my tattoos with you.
My first tattoos were an infinity symbol and heart to represent infinite love. Initially I’d wanted the infinity symbol in the heart, but as it turns out, that’s the international symbol for polyamory. Since that’s not my life, I opted for two separate tattoos.
I have a shamrock on the inside of my left ankle to represent my stepfather, one of the most insane American-Irish I’ve ever met. He had a shamrock on his right bicep. If you look closely, you can see the shamrock is made up of three hearts.
On the inside of my right ankle is a ladybug whose body is a heart. My mom and the women in her family all rock the ladybug style. Since you wouldn’t catch me wearing anything with a ladybug on it, this is my tribute to them.
After I met my husband I wanted to pay tribute to him, so I got the word “bliss” tattooed over the arch of my left foot. That’s how he described our relationship. (You’d have to ask him if he still describes it that way. I’m not sure if my tendency to forget to shave my armpits gets in the way of the bliss.) The dot over the “i” is a heart.
Near the elbows of both arms, I have Celtic symbols. On my left is the Celtic tree of life (with a heart at the core) and on the left is the triskelion (also with a heart at the core) which represents progression and personal growth.
I have a spoon with a heart in it on the inside of my right wrist to remind me to take care of myself and my many medical conditions.
On the inside of my left wrist is a light bulb with a heart filament. This is my way of representing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate.; only love can do that.” It’s a reminder to myself to go into each day with love.
As happens to many married folk, I gained weight after we said “I do.” My wedding band no longer felt good cutting off circulation to my finger, so I stopped wearing it. I decided that it was a little screwed up that Mr. Lyndsy was wearing his band and I wasn’t wearing one, so I got a ring with a heart tattooed on my ring finger.
My left foot tattoo represents the people who have made a serious impact on my life over the years. They’re each represented by something different. I have plans to add something else soon.
Garth Brooks’s song “Standing Outside the Fire” has been a motto for my life. I’m the kind of person who likes to dive on it, even it means I’m going to get burned. The flaming heart is me getting right on in there.
The three paws (with hearts as the base) on my left hip represent my fur children: Buddy is blue (the halo to show he’s gone to doggy heaven), Kizzy is purple, and Mica is pink. I love those furkids even though they’ve gone to live with other people while I’m in the desert. The important thing is that they’re happy.
The bow on the outside of my left leg is my way of accepting the nasty scars left over from my tendon transfer surgery. I can pick up my foot, but it’s pretty obvious that the doctor was not a plastic surgeon.
I’ve dealt with severe depression since 2007 and more than once have considered making an exit from life. To show that I ended up choosing otherwise, I have the semicolon tattoo on the outside of my left leg. I didn’t love the regular semicolon, so I turned it into a heart and comma, and attached it to a balloon to show rising spirits.
I love rainbows and sometimes need a reminder to dance and enjoy. The tattoos on my left inner arm are all about expressing joy. They’re little people I started drawing back in high school (I think) and I’ve always loved how happy they look. They each have a heart core with a different color.
I’m a big fan of unicorns, probably because I think I’m pretty magical. This unicorn’s name is cupcake and she is throwing some wicked shade. She’s got a My Little Pony style cutie mark that’s a heart. I also have a unicorn horn on my middle finger. I’ll let you figure that one out.
After the first two, I designed all of these myself. I don’t think I’m an artist, but I wanted what was on my body to have been created by me. There’s only one where the tattoo artist made any changes, and I’m okay with them (the flaming heart). I waited until I was 32 to get any, since I wanted to be sure, but I’ve wanted them since I was 18. They serve as reminders of who I am and what I value in life. And there will be more. Many more.