A. and H. love my tattoos. Which doesn’t say much, they love coloring on paper, books, and walls, so why would someone else “coloring” on their Daddy be any different? I am aware that people see my tattoos, and, I’m guessing, that they make certain assumptions based off of what they see. That is normal.

And if someone can’t see my tattoos, say, I am wearing clothing that covers them up, then A. is more than willing to let people know what they are, and, more importantly, where they are on my body.

We were looking at bumper stickers one day, A. and H. pointing out ones that they liked, I love my kids, but a retro shiny Elton John peel and place is just not for me, and won’t be on our car. To divert their attention from his large glasses and glittery smile, I quickly pointed to a peace sign, “Hey, that looks cool.” to which A. said, loud enough for all to hear, “Why would we get that one, you have one of those on your bottom” I quipped back “But A., I don’t hang my bottom out of the car while I drive.” This was met with a quick smile and a “Don’t you love em” from a stranger. Yes, I do, they aren’t judging, the way the rest of us do, they accept people for who they are, they see their Daddy for Daddy, not the pictures on his body.

My Protector.

I recognize that tattoos have become more popular in recent years, and therefore, more accepted by mainstream society. Seeing a Dad, with more than one tattoo, hanging out at a Children’s Museum, is not as uncommon as it once was. The increased acceptance of something that was once “taboo” in some circles, seems relatively simple; your granddaughter has a tattoo, you love and know your granddaughter, she isn’t a ne’er-do-well, you can then make the leap that people with tattoos are, well, people with tattoos, and not ne’er-do-wells.

People look at one another, and they judge, they do. I judge people based on the way they look – I don’t treat people poorly due to my assumptions, but I slide one of my many “people categorizing” lenses over my pupils, and proceed with caution. Everybody gets the same caution. I try to have an open mind, and don’t hold “my” judgment over you, but that isn’t always easy to halt either.

Having an “open mind” does not mean that you are accepting of all behavior. It doesn’t mean that you believe in a lawless society where basic rules of civility don’t apply. There are rules, and there are social mores that should be upheld, but I don’t believe that any of those ought to be grounded in hate, or based off of the fact that you simply “don’t like” something, I also think it does a huge disservice to all of us when you make an assumption, based off of appearance, and decide that pulling a trigger is easier than opening your mouth. Literally and figuratively.

My Papa Sense tells me:

I have been more pleased than displeased with having an open mind and taking the time to get to know people. See, I have come to find out, contrary to television and radio, that most people don’t care, most people don’t hold your politics, clothing choices, race or religion against you. We are told they do, we are taught to fear, but when you step outside and breathe unconditioned air – you find out that people like other people, and, like me, just want other people to call friend, and family members to accept them. I know that our kids will challenge our views of the world as they grow up, especially in their teen years, but I hope that I continue to see them, their friends, and their friend’s families for who they are, and not what I think I see.

Click HERE and see my other tattoos with brief descriptions.