Before you get comfortable to read this, I will like to warn you that this is really a very personal issue to me; I have tattoos and so, I may be taking things overboard. Pardon me if my words will sound like I’m criticizing or condemning; maybe that’s the point of the whole article. You may also think I’m trying to justify people’s reasons for inking their bodies; that also may be the point of writing this too. Either ways, this article may offend you, condemn you, you may like it and you may be indifferent to it; the choice to continue reading this is absolutely yours but I will like you to read this to the end, to understand a little bit of how painful it is to have your body inked in an almost complete Afropolitan society like Nigeria’s.
Welcome to this part of the world where everyone thinks tattoo is a billboard that announces to the public how “bad” you can be. You see someone with a tattoo; no matter how insignificant or little whatever drawn on the body is, you become judgmental, concluding in your mind the person sporting the tattoo is either loose or a tout. Here, tattoo is as bad as the 666 mark or even worse because the devil has suddenly turned more trustworthy than you. People start to question your integrity, your intellect, your belief and all that. If your tattoo is the bold type or in a very obvious part of your body like your hands, neck etc and can’t be hidden by clothes, you have your work environment streamlined to only certain places that won’t mind having a tattooed worker on their payroll. Even then, they watch you with eagle’s eyes waiting for you to commit the littlest crime or you become a prime suspect in every crime committed at the office.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been told I would never get a job if the company about to hire me knew I have a tattoo. In my mind I would go “Really? Not even if whatever I have in my head can turn the company around for good? Even if my ideas and intellect can set the company at Dangote level?” Talk about discrimination of the highest order and this is even worse and foolish because the so called permanent tattoo is not so permanent, it can be lasered off. People judging and condemning all because of a body art that can be removed; that’s like a white man hating on another white man all because he coated his body with a temporary dark paint. Everywhere you turn; even on social media, there is someone pointing and deducing the kind of lifestyle you have based on the tattoo on your body. To them, the girl with the tattoo is promiscuous, bitchy, dumb, possible drug addict, alcoholic and has no plans for herself and her future kind of girl. The guy with the tattoo is the bullet popper, always cursing, pants sagging, drug addict, street urchin, alcoholic, no plans to be a better person kind of guy.
Even the media, through movies, billboards, music videos, has somehow helped to promote these images about people sporting inked arts on their body. And because of these thoughts or crazy distorted images, we are not “fit” for good jobs, good relationships, good lifestyle; in fact, everything good should be taken from us and it gets me thinking a harmless tattoo makes us the bad guy or deserve the worst when there are people out there with terrible habits and characters. What happened to the rapists, the sociopath, the ritualists, the woman beaters, the real thieves, the drug addicts? They deserve better than us because their is nothing on their body to show who they are? It’s okay to be evil in private and then point fingers at innocent people in public because of body arts? You may think that some people with tattoos are these things, yeah, you’re correct and so are people without tattoos too. Tattoos are bad cos the bible condemns it? Yes, very true. The same bible points to us that even if our sins are as red as scarlet, God is ready to wash us as white as snow. The same bible pointed out how “all” have sinned and come short of God’s glory, not few people, not certain people, not only those who have tattoos but everybody. As far as I know, we all have one really bad attitude that is worse than having the body inked.
So, stop with the condemnation already. We may have marred our natural skins with beautiful work of artificial arts but that does not stop us from being good people, devout believers, intelligent, ambitious, creative thinkers and a lot more; there is so much more to us than tattoos. Don’t judge us, we are more than who you think we are….