Yesterday, N picked out a pack of Hello Kitty tattoos at the store and I bought them for her because I told her that she could have one thing from our grocery trip. I was surprised that she chose tattoos, but really not that surprised since both her father and myself have tattoos. When we got home and she helped me put groceries away she requested a tattoo on her arm. I obliged and applied it to her bicep and when it was transferred she excitedly said “Oh mommy, how cute! More tattoos?” So I applied another, and then another, and then her arm was full of tattoos. Who am I to say no to self expression? It’s her body and I’m not going to dictate what she does with it. Obviously she’s still young and there are things to be taught and things she needs to stray away from for her safety but tattoos are not on that list. I see nothing wrong with making a masterpiece of your skin, after all it is your canvas to make those masterpieces.
We visited my parents today and I immediately got rolled eyes and “why would you do that” and “that’s trashy” about it. And that really bothers me. It bothers me that it is that big of a deal to let my baby have fun decorating her body, especially when it’s the farthest from permanent that it gets. I have tattoos, I should have known that I was walking into an eye rolling party today, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and went anyway.
We went to the store to pick up a few things since my parents are coming over for dinner and it was absolutely heartbreaking/infuriating how many dirty looks I received from complete strangers, and not to mention all of the people whispering under their breath while glaring at me. You would think I took her out naked (which is funny since I saw quite a few underdressed children in the store…), but I didn’t take her out naked. She was well dressed, from head to toe, with a pink tee shirt and denim shorts paired with some tie-dye Toms. Her hair was groomed and pulled out of her face. But nevermind the fact that she’s clean and well mannered (no really, she says excuse me and sorry to every single person in every single store we go into because she’s polite), what really matters is the fact that she has an arm full of Hello Kitty tattoos. It only matters that I raise her beneath a rock and force her to conform to opinions of people who don’t know us and that’s a shame.
When I say this, I do not say it lightly. I say this without hesitation: My child will not be raised under a rock. She will not be raised to shudder at every glare and nasty comment about her appearance. She will be raised to be strong and to love herself. There will never be a second that passes where she doubts how she looks if I can help it. Love is spoken here, not ugliness and negativity. It terrifies me that I am raising my daughter in a world full of hatred and horrible people, but I will do my absolute best to remind her that she is her own person and no one can change who she is. I would not want her any other way because if she was anyone else, she would be a stranger. If someday she decided that she wanted to tattoo every inch of her body and come out as something other than straight I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at her. She is who she is and I cannot change that, nor do I want to change that.
Self-expression is so important at this age; at every age. It’s so important to be introduced to art and let children figure out who they are. N may be two years old, but she’s aware of many things. She sees things and hears things I don’t want her to hear and I would appreciate the world being a little less cruel to her.