Not bad for a fat girl


Daily Prompt: Tattoo You?

I grew up in a household where the phrase, “Moses said not to write on your skin,” was pronounced anytime there was a pen mark on my hand. Forget about writing phone numbers on it, it wasn’t worth the reprimand.  I honestly don’t know what Moses said exactly, but I do know that Jewish people don’t get tattoos. At least they didn’t.

When I was a kid I wasn’t sheltered from the horrors of the Holocaust. It was because of that catastrophic event that my parents were in America, and that they met and formed our family. It was a horrible tragedy, one we need to know about and talk about and discuss with others, lest they forget or, heaven forbid, don’t believe it. 2b7991285283f79581b66b9c194f9252As a kid I didn’t understand this mindset, and thought that my parents, my father especially, watched too many documentaries, read too many books, paid too much attention to this awful thing. It made me nervous and frightened as a child. I had a plan to hide in a certain spot should Nazis come to round us up some night.

As part of my exposure to all of this horror, I was also taught about the meticulous record keeping that the Nazis did, numbering their prisoners and keeping track of their inventory of humanity. I learned of the number each prisoner was assigned and how it was tattooed on his or her arm. I met survivors who bared their arms to show their numbers. They had been brutalized and wanted the world to know that it was real. It happened.

One afternoon when I was about 10, I was on an errand with my mother. We were in a shop that had a large book area, and I occupied myself there as I waited for her. What I found both fascinated and horrified me. There was a book filled with images of items that had been created with the tattooed skin of Nazi prisoners. There was a wallet and there were lampshades and other items. I know many people consider these tales to be urban legends, but I know they are all too real.

These early experiences with tattoos, along with my father’s admonition that tattoos were an indication of a violent personality, steered me away from tattoos. I never really thought about getting one for myself. Okay, maybe for about five seconds after my divorce, but then I snapped out of it.  It turns out that my father wasn’t completely wrong about tattoos and crime. Our county has a database of its criminals, and  tattoos are photographed and recorded (not so different from those earlier record keepers). I have it on good authority that about 98% of the people in the database have some sort of tattoo somewhere. Some of the criminals have the most horrific tattoos, including Vikings on the forehead, skulls on the face, and obscenities around the mouth. You kiss your grandmother with that mouth? Ew.

Last summer the border agent at the bridge to Canada told me that we (son, mother, and I) didn’t look like trouble. I asked what trouble looked like, and without missing a beat he answered, “neck tattoos.” I’m quite sure he was serious. Now maybe that’s unfair to the vast majority of neck tattoo wearers, but it is a common perception, and one held by someone in authority (hey, he can keep you out of his country).

I am well aware that having a tattoo does not make one a criminal. There are people in my life whom I adore who have tattoos. I know times have changed, and I know lots of very loving, nonviolent people who have tattoos, but they just aren’t for me.  Some of them are pretty, like my friend’s giant floral design up her leg and hip, some are quirky, like the little Martian scene on another friend’s back, and some are flat out gross, like the goose stepping Nazis on one of the  prisoners. I’m not a huge fan of tattoos, but I try not to judge a book by its cover either. I don’t hate them but I don’t love them. I do appreciate the artistry that can go into them, and the sentiment behind many of them. As for me, though, I prefer to keep my skin unadorned.

Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Try it | Photos to inspire you
  2. Daily Prompt: Tattoo…You? | Under the Monkey Tree
  3. Tattoos | Kate Murray
  4. Port Cullis | alienorajt
  5. What I Think Of Tattoos | The Jittery Goat
  6. Family & Faith | Active Army Wife
  7. My Ink, My Story | Finale to an Entrance
  8. Tattoo… You? | Relax
  9. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | A Mixed Bag
  10. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | Awl and Scribe
  11. My First Tattoo | Steve Boer Photography
  12. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | Olivia May Photography
  13. Should you Tattoo? | It’s a wonderful F’N life
  14. Permenant | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  15. Daily Prompt: Tattoo…..You? | Steve Says….
  16. Tattoos, A big No-No | A mom’s blog
  17. The Accidental Tattoo | A Buick in the Land of Lexus
  18. INK can’t Hide me ! | Dreams to Reality !
  19. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | timzauto…. in search of the blond haired kid
  20. Daily Prompt:Tatto…..You? | Motherhood and Beyond
  21. Tattoo — You? | Flowers and Breezes
  22. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….. You? | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  23. Daily Prompt: Proudly Inked | One Starving Activist
  24. A tattoo! Or two…or three… | wordsandotherthings
  25. Tattoo. | Bullet holes in the wall
  26. Tattoo… Me! | Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me
  27. Body and Soul: of mundane miracles and secular sacraments | Muddy River Muse
  28. Tattoos….You? That is the question. | Kansa Muse
  29. Tatted Up! | meanderedwanderings
  30. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | Everyday Adventures
  31. Who Needs a Tattoo? I’ve Got A Blog!
  32. Sunday Confessions | Cheri Speak
  33. Kissing the sky. | Inside of love
  34. To Be Continued… | Charron’s Chatter
  35. The tattoo that I have, and the ones I want | And I write
  36. Tattoos | Mountains or Molehills
  37. Daily Prompt: Tattoo’s the Diverse Art | Bowl of Rice
  38. Ink’d | A Room of One’s Own
  39. A Mark For Life | annezheng
  40. On Tattoos | Not the Family Business!
  41. Tattoo? – One Day | My Play Nook
  42. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | Basically Beyond Basic
  43. How and Why I Decided To Get Inked | noinpart
  44. Skin Deep | All work and quite a lot of play
  45. Tattoo….You? | The Nameless One
  46. Permanent ink. | Simple Heart Girl
  48. Tattooed Memories… | Haiku By Ku
  49. Daily Prompt: Love Never Lasting | Morrighan’s Muse
  50. The Lover’s Kiss | unaware but underlined
  51. Impermanence | vic briggs
  52. The Boob Report – Tits for Tats | Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride
  53. Daily Prompt: Tattoo…You? | Poetry
  54. Tattoo….You? | Trina’s North Germany
  55. Get your tattoo here | tjbarkerseattle
  56. My Forest | unaware but underlined
  57. Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You? | Red Herrings
  58. Tattoo | Lori’s Life and Other Stuff
  59. To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?…..(wp daily prompt) | Daily Observations
  60. Sword – The Tatoo | Thoughts
  61. My Tattoo Changed My Life | Notes by Natalie
  62. Permanent PROOF | unaware but underlined
  63. Daily Prompt: Tattoo……You? | Sorrowful Decay
  64. Daily Prompt: Tattoo…. You? | SIM | ANTICS


Dusting Off the Welcome Mat

Last night before I went to bed I clicked on my blog stats. My fingers were crossed, but I told myself it was a very good day regardless. I held my breath, and checked the number of visits. Would my old record be broken? And who was I, obsessing about these numbers? What does this say about my personality? I’ve blogged about addictive personality before, but I’m still not certain how I feel about it, or whether my little mini-obsessions count.  Anyway, there is was. The number of visits for the day. I was 5 clicks shy of my one day record. Dammit. And still 49 followers. Ok, calm down. It was a great day in the blog world. I had visitors from Hungary, Israel, Australia, Guernsey (which I knew is a cow, but didn’t know was a country), Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, France, and the United States. C’mon, how cool is that? In my quest to color in my world map, I’m definitely making some progress.  C’mon Greenland and South America, click on over.6a00d8350186ed53ef016769314b68970b-800wi

I sometimes worry that this blog might be feeling a little schizophrenic. Yes, its main focus is about living life as a fat woman and how I’m seeking to improve the quality of that life.  But in order to do that, and in order to freely write about what’s important to me, I will often go off that topic. After all, I’m more than just a fat person. I’m a parent and an educator and a quilter, to name a few of my roles. These are topics I also write about, with a strong dash of opinions on many things random.  I will post my quilting endeavors, and I will write to daily prompts. Many of you have found me through those venues. I’m glad you have.  I hope you can tolerate the many types of posts that I share.

Back to the main topic though, this morning I decided I was being rather silly about the whole thing. Yes, it’s an absolute thrill to know that people the world over are taking a moment to click through my site, and maybe they’re staying long enough to read my thoughts. What’s more exciting to me, though, is knowing that there are kindred spirits out there. You are the ones who leave a message of encouragement, or stop by the Facebook page, or leave a pingback (which I’m still trying to figure out).  You are the ones nodding your head while you read, or laughing at something ridiculous I’ve written, or yelling at the screen because you are absolutely certain that I am dead wrong about something. Good. I’m glad you do. I’m glad you’re here and spending a few minutes of your precious time with me. Many of you are brand new readers, and several of you have become old friends, if you can have old friends after just two short months.  For all of you, I’m dusting off my welcome mat, and reminding you that no matter who you are or where  you’re from, you are welcome to stop by whenever you would like. And just for the record, feel free to bring a friend.


Daily Prompt: I Pledge Allegiance

DSC00061 2Today’s daily prompt asked, “Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?” My gut reaction is to answer, “Of course I am.” To me, patriotism is an admirable trait.  It is the commitment to one’s nation and the belief that one lives in a country that may not be perfect, but is still a good place to live. I am proud to be an American, and each school day I recite the Pledge of Allegiance with my hand over my heart right along with my students. Well, most of my students. I have students who do not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Their parents have instructed them not to, as they feel that it conflicts with their religious beliefs. One of these students is from a military family. I don’t doubt their patriotism.

What patriotism is not, at least in my eyes, is a cloak under which people can claim superiority over others. Yes, I’m glad I live in a country that has a fee market economy and a democratic government. I’m grateful for due process and the right to a fair trial. I’m thankful that as a woman I have more or less equal rights as men, and I’m delighted that our citizenry has access to free public education.  I don’t regret paying taxes because I know that these things have a price, and given the choice of paying taxes or living in a nation where I cannot have a voice, cannot practice my religion, and cannot work at my chosen profession, I will happily pay my taxes.

What worries me about the term patriotism, however, is its misuse. Vigilante style “justice” in the name of patriotism is lawlessness, and to me the antithesis of patriotism. I don’t wish to be a “patriot” of the type that seeks to oppress others. Similarly, I don’t wish to be the type of “patriot” that is unable to comprehend that most of the world’s population is not American, and does not do things the way that we do. Patriotism does not equal elitism. Our way is not the only way, and people the world over are proud of their own nations. One need only watch the Olympic opening ceremonies to understand that being a patriot does not require a person to be an American.

So yes, I am a patriot. I am proud of my nation and seek to represent it well, both at home and abroad. But please, don’t ask me to sign your hateful petition in the name of patriotism. You may have the right under the law, but you just don’t understand the spirit of it.