I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t she just go dog sledding or have an extra shot of tequila?” It’s a fair question but it’s just not how I do things. A tattoo just seemed, you know, a little more exciting.
I never really thought about how it could affect me in the professional world. After all, I’d been travelling for six years and, lets be honest, my biggest dilemmas usually centred around what food I could afford. I definitely didn’t spend much time thinking about the tattoo that takes up half my arm (#ignoranceisbliss).
(Watch: Mia Freedman get her ear pierced. Post continues after video.)
When I first got my tattoo I noticed people staring at me (which was really confusing because they hadn’t even met me) and I realised it was because of my tattoo.
I got a lot of compliments but I also started to deal with things that I’d never anticipated and couldn’t prepare for. Namely people scowling at me.
Obviously, not everyone looks and gawks but I could definitely feel death stares upon me as I waltzed through the gardening section of Target recently.
While I was working in a fairly alternative environment when I returned home, I started to encounter something I hadn’t before – judgement. Usually from people with birth dates pre-1958. One day a woman started lecturing me randomly, yelling things like: “I hope you can get rid of that!” Ouch.
Getting a position in an office environment is still difficult for someone with tattoos and it blows my mind.
Kim Kardashian has built an multi-million dollar empire off an orgasm and we are still caught up with people having tattoos because it doesn't look 'professional'?
All job interviews I go to, I hide my tattoos. I know it might sound preemptive but I don't want my tattoos to get in the way of all my really amazing skills. And believe me, I notice employers eyeing my sleeve up.
In fact, my current job as a flight attendant requires me to hide them everyday. I am fortunate enough to work for an airline that is understanding and has a uniform that can cover up visible tattoos. But there are still some airlines that will not hire staff with any tattoos anywhere. (Post continues after video.)
One time at a group job interview, the employer had everyone roll up their long sleeve shirts and take their shoes off so the recruiters could inspect them to make sure they had no visible tattoos.
In my current internship, I came to the job everyday for the first four weeks wearing nothing but turtlenecks in 30 degree weather before sussing out whether it would be OK to wear short sleeve tops.
I never want anybody to think I don't take my job seriously, which, unfortunately, is how some people see those with tattoos.
Having a tattoo doesn't mean I am less intelligent than anyone else (although, my dad might disagree), it doesn't mean I am a bad person and it doesn't make me any less reliable than someone without one.
I think it's time we let the tattoo-clad population roam free in our office hallways. And it's time for me to live my truth.
Do you have tattoos? Tell us about them in the comments.