(Sub dermal) Skin Deep

Since the mid 90’s I struggled to understand why anyone outside of a religious or military obligation would get a tattoo. To me, they’re like a permanent Velvet Elvis.

When I moved to Japan I saw kindred spirits in the older generations’ disdain for them. Of course, their concern is the Yakuza. Then I saw how some Buddhist monks reacted to tattooed Westerners and jumped on that, but more often than not that was due to some other transgression like filling a water bottle where one should be looking to cleanse themselves.

Yet my brothers have them. Odds are that at least two of my sisters do, too. I have friends and trusted advisors who decided the same way. Girlfriends, transitory and longer lasting, have had them, too.

I still don’t like tattoos. I think they’re short-sighted narcissism made long lasting just under the dermal layer.

Here’s the thing: like with my opinions on religion and politics, what I think about tattoos are mine. I acknowledge that I have an irrational disdain for them, and unfortunately it hurt some relationships I value greatly. Your mileage may vary.

I am learning to let it go, though it is a process.

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