I hate tattoos: they disgust me!
Oh, I have so many judgements about tattoos and the people who disfigure their body by wearing them.
You don't want to know what I think of people who have tattoos; especially women who have tattoos! You really don't want to know if you're a woman with more than one (discreet) tattoo.
At least, that was my position in the past.
These days, while I choose personally, at present, not to ink my body, I find tattoos fascinating. Every tattoo has a story. Every tattoo means something – usually a profound something - to the person wearing it. Every tattoo is a statement. Tattoos are no longer just tattoos for me: they are art; and tattoo artists are exactly that, artists.
My change in attitude did not happen overnight. There was not one event, or one conversation which altered my way of thinking. It was not any one book I read or one person I met. It was a combination of many things over time.
There are other issues on which I have changed my opinion over time. Most of these changes in attitudes have been reflected in (are a product of?) changes in society's thinking, but not all: my attitude towards the use of medication to control the symptoms of bipolar, for instance.
But, I don't want to talk about my judgements then, and my judgements now; but what happens when I meet something about which I used to have negative thoughts and feelings.
Because the ghosts are still there. There's still this whisper over my shoulder, "Tattoos – disgusting!"
It's absolutely not what I think now, but a cold shiver runs through me, because I am ashamed of the way I used to think. I feel the weight of guilt about my past self.
But, let's think. We tend to judge history by our modern values. I am visiting friends in Virginia right now. Fredericksburg was the home of George Washington; where he lived and where he kept slaves. Slavery is abhorrent to us now. We think it should always have been abhorrent to every right-thinking compassionate person. But three hundred years ago, if we were white, we might have thought differently. We might have thought the right thing to do was to treat slaves decently and fairly: to look after them and care for them. Freedom might have been outside our paradigm of thinking.
Our past ways of thinking are in the past. Hopefully every change to our thoughts and attitudes produces more love and acceptance. Hopefully every change means we embrace more closely ways different to ours. We are not who we were, and we cannot change who we were. We can, however, accept who we were without guilt.
I used to hate tattoos.
You know what? These days I think they're really cool. And one day, perhaps, I'll get that semi-colon tattooed on my wrist.
(And - you may have to google that one!)
A Moodscope member.