Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tattoos and parents, oh my!

Hey everyone, I am still here. I have been busy with various other things in my life like work and such. I have been trying to decide what to blog about and I found something that at least for me was kind of funny and frustrating.

Last week, I had an interesting interaction with my parents. My dad had been struggling with his health for a few days and ended up in the hospital. I kept in touch with my parents to make sure that he was doing okay. He was released from the hospital and made it back home when we had this conversation. We talked about how he was doing and hoping that he will feel better. At the end of the phone call, I asked if there was anything else they wanted to talk about. My dad asked, “Did you get a tattoo?” I answered, “Yes I did.” His response, “Do I need to take my strap across your backside?” (I am 39 years old and yet my parents still want to talk to me as if I am 10.) Now at this point, I asked, “Did you see my pictures on Facebook?”

Let me give a little background information before I go any further with this story. If you have read some of my older blog posts, you know that Blondie and I got our tattoos back in mid-May. We showed our friends, but we did not immediately advertise this fact to various family members. Blondie showed her tattoo to all of her family including her parents and they were fine, hardly a reaction. We actually received many compliments about how pretty and cool looking they are.

My parents are a different story. A few weeks after getting our tattoos, my parents took a flight through Salt Lake City, Utah out to see my brother’s family for their son’s baptism. We planned to meet them for the evening, but we did not want them to see our tattoos. My tattoo was easy to cover since it is on my chest, but Blondie’s tattoo is on her wrist. We went through great lengths to cover her tattoo up and not make it noticeable. Here is the reason why we did this. My parents were heading to my brother’s house for his son’s baptism and we did not want to cause an issue in between. I was afraid that if they saw our tattoos, we would receive comments from my parents such as, “We were looking forward to our grandson’s baptism, but seeing your tattoos ruined the spirit for us. This tainted our visit since we could only think about what you have done to your bodies.” I did not want to be responsible for ruining their experience, so we did not reveal our tattoos to them at that time. Our visit went well and they had a nice spiritual time at my brother’s house.

Fast forward to July. Blondie and I have decided that we no longer need to hide our tattoos from anyone, including my parents. We took pictures of ourselves with our tattoos and posted them on Facebook. Blondie set her main picture as the new one of her with her tattoo. I did not broadcast mine. I simply created a photo album and put the pictures in there. In essence, my tattoo pictures would not be seen by accident, someone would be looking intentionally.

Now let us return to the conversion that I had with my parents last week. My dad used these words when he asked me, “Did you get a tattoo?” I replied yes and then I asked if he saw my pictures on Facebook. He said, “Yes, I saw your pictures.” My response was, “If you saw my pictures on Facebook, then why did you ask me ‘Did you get a tattoo?’ when you already knew that I did?” He said, “I wanted to hear you tell me.” Completely frustrating.

They then went on with asking me if I was going to get more. I told them not right now since we are spending our money in other areas at the moment. (Have no fear, I will definitely be getting more tattoos, they are just a little bit expensive.) Here is another gem of a question, “Are you going to let your son and daughter get tattoos now?” What the hell? Yes, since I am an adult and decide to get a tattoo, this now means that I will let my 13-year son and 10-year-old daughter get tattoos. What kind of logic is this?

I told them, “No, I was not going to let my children get tattoos at their age.” They then proceeded to talk about all the ugly fat women that they see with tattoos and skimpy bikinis at the lake. Just unbelievable.

Well, there is a nice glimpse into the futile and completely frustrating relationship that I have with my parents since I did the absolutely worst thing ever, I decided that the church is not true for me and my family.


  1. I used to think my dad was an unreasonable tyrant and well, while he was at times, he is quite different today. He can still get mad but I have come to realise (by stepping through the fire) that he respects others opinions even if he doesn't believe in them for himself. Now I wouldn't say he's the easiest person to talk to, he tends to preach a bit but at least he knows when to back off. I have discovered a new side to him, he joined the church when he was just a bit older than I am now (he was about 34 I think) he got baptised when I was born. Before that however he was very much a free spirit. He left his family in England when he was in his early 20s and spent the next decade surfing and bricklaying around Australia. Now that my parents are divorced he seems to have remembered how that old life felt and has chilled out a lot. I wish he would get rid of Mormonism but well, it's not up to me is it. Aaaaaanyway, long comment here. Looks to me as though you've got one tough nut of a dad. I wonder how deep that rough exterior goes. I think you're in for a bumpier ride than me in that area. But I do hold out some hope for you that in time he will accept you for you. In the meantime, my advice would be to break free from the restraint and just openly be you. But hey, what do I know?!

  2. I would fill my kids arms with temporary tattoos (the type that come with bubblgum) for the next visit to Gran & pop's or failing that, have a nice portrait done and send it to them.


  3. Sometimes I feel regrets that my parents aren't in my life any more, but I suspect that my interactions with them would likely be very much like this. Our family was very much a like micro-version of the Church, my parents were perfect and spoke "The word of God" and it seems that just like the Church too, membership in the family is a "You're with us, or you're against us" type deal.

    I'd probably do something like TGIAA as well (Especially since temporary tattoos were forbidden when I was a kid as well - appearance of evil and all of that), but way to take the high road in all of this!

  4. He he he. I like the idea of the temporary tattoos on my kids. That is funny enough that I just might have to do that.

    Just a clarification on the "Do I need to take a strap to your backside" comment. My dad was not truly serious when he said that to me, kind of half joking. The interesting thing is that I think he wishes he could discipline me like a child and yet he can't.

    My dad is very sensitive. He portrays a rough exterior and says whatever he wants to people, but if anyone stands up and talks back to him the same way, he gets offended. He can hold a grudge like no other. I am certainly not on the good list right now.

  5. Wow. It was such a passive-aggressive approach to the issue. His approach was so, well, "Mormon"... It is almost like he wanted a confession out of you. I am sorry.

    My mom is the same way so I understand your pain.