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“You know that is going to be there forever, right?” “What will you do about it when you get old?” “What will your kids or future husband think?”

Being young and having tattoos is tough, or some people think. These are among the MANY questions I have been asked about my tattoos. As a nineteen-year-old, I feel confident enough to make my own decisions as an adult, because the people asking those questions want you to act like an adult, right? My tattoos all have special meanings to me, and I love them as dearly now as I did the moment I got them. In short, to the judgy people who talk behind me when they see my pieces, here is what I think. Yes, I realize this is permanent, that is part of the reason I got them. My tattoos remind me of meaningful advice and virtues that I believe in every time I look at them, they serve as a reminder for me to try and be a better version of myself. I have one on my arm that says Serenity: I got it because of a prayer my grandmother and dad taught me when I was young, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Each day when I see it, I am reminded of this. It gives me the strength to go on during a bad day, a reminder that things out of my control should not be worried about, and simply to be strong and courageous always. When I get old, I will love them just as I do now, and hopefully be able to say they helped me live a life that I am proud of. They remind me of things I want to portray and believe in fully. I wouldn’t marry someone who dislikes my tattoos, and I would not raise my children to judge based on what is on someone’s skin, or how they choose to express themselves. We have grown so much as a country over the years, but the judging has got to come to an end. No one should be looked down upon for expressing themselves or simply getting something they like or want. Expression can be shown in many ways, and all of the ways should be encouraged. Acceptance needs to grow and be spread by kindness. Teach your children this, teach anyone by doing, that if you show acceptance, you will receive the same and more. Keep this in mind: If you do not like tattoos, I do not judge you for not having any, so please do not judge me for mine.

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