"I am interested in how you feel about tattoos and how they are with your religion. You seem very religious and you also said you have a tattoo. Isn't that religiously wrong? Aren't you defiling your body by getting tattoo's? How do you call yourself religious and still defile the body that G-d gave you? Isn't getting a tattoo almost sinful? I am not judging you I am just wondering how you feel about all of this."
There was a little more to the email, apparently this person also is a follower on Pinterest and pointed out that I have a board entitled Pretty Girls Have Tattoo's and they felt that I was promoting tattoos to others. So here is my answer and my feelings on tattoos.
When I was young, just about the only people with tattoo's were Popeye or guys in the military. It is safe to say that in the 60's, 70's and 80's, tattoos were mostly gotten by males and tattoo parlors were few and far between usually located in the seedier parts of cities. Most small towns didn't have tattoo parlors and tattoos as a whole were only socially acceptable if you a soldier or a vet. The average person on the street had little desire to get a tattoo and you definitely couldn't have gotten a teenage girl to even think about such a thing.
Swing ahead a few decades and the world is a very different place. Piercings and tattoos have gone from being edgy to being main stream and everyone from the most pristine high school girl to your grandparents seems to be sporting at least one or both. I personally have both. I have multiple ear piercings and two tattoos. So what changed? I have no idea. Perhaps it was a mixture of fad, societal norms and a need to express ones self openly and kind of in your face!
You seem to feel that I am very religious. If by very religious you mean that I pray and go to church and try to be a good person, then I guess I am. However I just think of myself as trying to be a good Christian. Are tattoo's religiously wrong? I don't believe that it says anywhere in the Bible that they are. In fact through the centuries Christians, Jews and other religious factions have both pierced themselves (usually ears) and painted and tattooed their bodies....sometimes with very religious connotations and themes.
When it comes to the murky waters of sin and I say this because if it is not lined out in the Ten Commandments then people start to put their own interpretation of sin into play, I really don't see tattooing as sinful. At least I don't see it as anymore sinful than elective plastic surgery or even putting on make-up, both of which change or distort the appearance of the body God gave you and I believe that is where you seem to think the sinning comes in. If we are calling any change in our bodies from the way God gave them to us sinful, then everything from coloring your hair to shaving your legs would be sinful. Again it goes back to the murkiness of sin. Someone once told me that if "you" think something is a sin, then for you it probably is.
I have always been a bit of an oxymoron. No not just a moron but an oxy-moron. I am probably one of the most conservative girls you will ever meet and yet I have always had an edgier side. I dated and even married bad boys, had multiple ear piercings, listened to metal before it was cool and somehow still managed to go to church, pray and be a reasonably good person. I drove my mother crazy. Had tattooing been an acceptable form of expression back in the day, then I would likely have had tattoos much sooner in life. This rebel streak has followed me through life and even at my age now, I still find the uncontrollable urge at times to walk the edgy line. Some might even be surprised to know that I would not rule out a nose piercing (the little kind not the bar through my septum kind) if the mood struck me. Yeah....that's just how I roll.
When I got my first tattoo a few years ago, it was something I had wanted to do for a very long time. Edgy Lisa took over when I got invited to a tattoo party and the rest is history. My tattoo is a little pig on my foot. While most wonder what the heck, to me it is meaningful. Anyone who truly knows me, knows that pigs are something I love. I have collected them for years and this little piggie will still mean something to me when I am 90! From the moment I got him, I have wanted more but I have waited because if I put one on me and it is going to be with me forever (literally) then it must be meaningful. I think most people feel this way and that is why many tattoos are religious or spiritual in nature because they make the person feel closer to God.
I recently got my second tattoo on my calf. It is in honor of my mother and my daughter, both named Mary and both of whom I have lost. It is a very special tattoo to me symbolizing what I had and what I miss. I wear it proudly. There will be more I am sure because there is something (to me) amazing about getting a tattoo. There is pain involved but after it is done, there is something beautiful, meaningful and lasting left behind. Perhaps it gets in touch with my creative spirit or maybe it is just a way for me to make my hidden emotions visible to the world. Either way I am very proud of my tattoos and I don't feel the least bit sinful in getting them.
You say you don't judge, but I feel you do. Perhaps the next time you see someone with tattoos, rather than judge them as sinful, really look at their tats. I would imagine that what you will be seeing is something that is deeply personal and perhaps even spiritual to them. As my mom used to say, "Never judge a book by its cover because you might miss out on some fascinating reading."
So there you have it. My thoughts on tattoo's, sin and all that jazz!