I Hate Tension

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. Something happened this evening I cannot get out of my mind. You know how I said that Hubster and I went to a church service earlier (well, technically yesterday at this point)? Wednesday evening there is a service, followed by a church-wide dinner, and then an adult Bible Study class. I rarely go to the Wednesday service because I find myself very busy on weeknights, although I do enjoy the service. I had not planned to go this Wednesday but for some reason I found I had some time and the desire to go (Although by the time I was free to go I arrived a half hour late. Oops!)

Anyway, as you know I got a new tattoo on Thursday. My 6th tattoo. At this point I am fairly proficient in all the anti-tattooing arguments. The most severe hold to the 18th century idea that tattoos = murderers and whores. There are religious arguments against it as we should take care of our bodies and any change in our appearance is a dis-figuration of what God has gifted us. There are the “proper” folk who look at it as tacky or “unrefined”. I don’t try to pressure people to get tattoos, they are incredibly personal, permanent and painful.

So back to my story. We had dinner and were visiting with friends, and one asked to see my tattoo. (I had come from work and was in scrubs, so it was not visible.) Out of respect to those who may have not wished to see it, I tried to discreetly pull up my pant leg to show her. She complimented it and we had a nice chat about how much this tattoo means to me and how already it has done some significant emotional healing for me. However, there was another woman who saw my leg, and her facial expression was one of extreme unhappiness disgust. A mix between if she had bitten into a lemon, and the concept of “if looks could kill”. I am upset about this for a couple of reasons.

First, this woman is very well respected and there is a part of me surprised that her normally loving and non-judgmental self had given way to such obvious judgment.

Secondly, she is a very honest person. Not in a cruel way, but in a very matter-of-fact-way. So I am incredibly surprised that if she had something to say, she did not say it.

Thirdly, Hubster got a new tattoo over a week ago, and has proudly shown it at church via shorts (when the weather is warm) and he has only gotten compliments on his tattoo. (I actually had not said anything about this woman’s expression, but when we got home he brought it up since he noticed it from across the tables)

And fourthly, as I have previously stated, this tattoo of mine is number SIX. While the majority of the time my tattoos are covered up, I have worn skirts and sandals and thus the tattoos on my right ankle and the tops of both feet have been seen at church before, and nobody has ever criticized me for that.

(Although I do have to admit that my friend M did tell me that the Orthodox church does not condone tattoos, so I can’t pretend to be totally ignorant. But as a Catechuman aka someone still learning the faith, and all the who/what/where/when/why’s of it all I am not held to same “same” standard as those who are regular members.)

So if I could write her a letter, this would be it. Although I cannot seem to find this woman’s email address, thus I have put it here hoping that by typing it out it will stop buzzing around my brain and allow me to sleep!

Dear _____,

At dinner on Wednesday I noticed that you looked upset when I showed my new tattoo to ___ who had requested to see it. While I had tried to be discrete in showing her I apologize if I was not and if I did upset you. I wanted to open the floor to any questions or comments you may have, I truly want there to be honest communication, and not discomfort or tension, between myself and my brothers and sisters and Christ. If I may offer a very brief description of why I got this tattoo, it is a memorial for the child we lost last September. A lot of thought and emotion went into planning for this tattoo, and already I feel it has helped in the healing process tremendously. I am happy to expand further on this, but am interested to know what your thoughts and feelings are.

In Him,


Ok. Now it is 3am. Here’s hoping I can get some shut-eye….

***UPDATE: I did end up finding the email and sending it.  It really does upset me to think that there may be discord between me and this person and I genuinely hope we have a good dialogue and can clear up any misunderstandings we both have.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Ugghhh, I hate it when people are “scandalized” by normal things. I remember a while back, I dyed my hair bright blond (normal, right) and the older people at my job were just shocked that I would do something so horrible. I just laughed it off.

    I am sorry that you’re in this situation. I hope it works itself out soon.

    BTW…I originally read this about 10 minutes after you posted it…because I couldn’t sleep either (obviously for a different reason). Apparently, great minds are up at all hours worrying about things, right?


    • It is funny that something that can mean one thing to one sphere can means such an opposite thing in another circle.

      I was thinking about you guys last night, I can imagine you were awake, although it is funny to think that we were awake at the same time… Definitely great minds!!!


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