I’m a role model ONLY in reverse…


I am a role model, only in reverse for little white girls everywhere. Or at least around this neck of the woods.

So I am at class setting up a (neighbor, friend, acquaintance, woman who wants to work for me) shows up with her daughter and dog in tow. Another friend of mine is there one I have known for oh, I dunno, 10 plus years.

(let’s change the names to protect the guilty)

“Kathy – do you see what is on Janet’s arm”?
“Yes”.
“Do you know that is NOT magic marker and someone sticks sharp needles in her arm to make that”. (her wide eyed four year old looks a little anxious)
“You shouldn’t scare her”, I said.
“I am NOT scaring her, I want to talk to her about something”.
(Ok, ok whatever…I am thinking to myself)

“It is OK for Janet to have something like that BUT YOU can never have something like that”.

I was completely and utterly flabbergasted and dumbstruck. “At least not until you are an adult and can make your own decisions” — I growled out.

“YOU CAN NEVER DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT” exclaims Mommy. My other friend says “all you can have are this kind…and she pretends to lick a stamp and stick it on her arm”. Mommy smiles “oh she doesn’t even like that kind”. They share a chuckle at my expense.

WTF?!! I just stood there…when I replay the event in my mind several other alternative responses on my part are rehearsed.

One is…

“Kathy when you grow up your Mommy does not want you to be like me — a happy, well adjusted, passionate adult person with real interests and genuine pursuits. Who owns a house, a business and takes care of herself. Instead your mommy would like you to be like her…a closet case, boring, bored, miserable stay around at home with kids mom who does nothing but bend my ear about how unfulfilled she is. You can be just like me or just like your mommy – just DON’T get a tattoo.”

Another is…

“Kathy do you know what this tattoo is of? It’s of a koi fish…the Buddhists (that’s another religion besides Protestant) believe that humans swim through the suffering in their lives just as a fish swims through water. This symbol right here is the Buddhist symbol for compassion Buddhists believe true happiness comes not from a limited concern for one’s own well-being, or that of those one feels close to, but from developing love and compassion for all sentient beings. Here, love means wishing that all sentient beings should find happiness, and compassion means wishing that they should all be free of suffering. The development of this attitude gives rise to a sense of openness and trust that provides the basis for peace.”

Sigh.

I LOVE my tattoo it says exactly who I am, it also tells me exactly who you are and today it revealed a great deal to me about my friends and neighbors.

And next time – I won’t smile quite so silently or maybe that was exactly the right response.

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11 Responses to “I’m a role model ONLY in reverse…”

  1. Arial Ray Says:

    See, I guess it’s just me, but I would never say that to a young child. Beyond the obvious criticism of your choice, it sends a strong message – you, little child, are not in control. You are not capable of making your own decisions. You must defer to a higher authority – parents, church, state, whatever.

    I have a five year old. I also have a daughter who’s almost 19. She had seven piercings at one point, I hated them but how she adorns her body is her choice. She kept the nose piercing and got rid of the rest, again he choice.

    I’m getting a tattoo at some point. Not sure what or where yet.

  2. I am speechless. I bet the kid gets the “if you aren’t good I will take you to the DR for a shot BS too.” Wow… I bet the day that little girl turns 18 she has a school of fish swimming on her body.
    I know that had to feel shitty to be a reverse role model.

  3. 8thdayplanner Says:

    I am memorizing your first response to use in a variety of situations.

    And thank you for your second response, explaining the symbolism of your tattoo. I had showed the picture to my daughters and now they can understand the meaning.

    I have to confess to being a somewhat conservative mom. One ear piercing was allowed when they were old enough to make a reasonable decision (around age 8). I only recently gave in to the second hole and the cartilage piercing (ages 15 and 16). Any further permanent body changes (they talk about tattoes and belly button piercings) will have to wait until they are 18.

    But whenever we encounter people with interesting ordinary body ornamentation, we always talk about how great the variety of expression is.

    I’m sorry you had to endure such weirdness.

    (And my daughters loved the tattoo, even though they couldn’t imagine what you must have went through get it)

  4. I believe in the freedom of adults to express themselves – I find some kinds of body art ugly but would never express that opinion to the person with it.

    We each have the right to express ourselves as adults.

    I’m not sure I’d let a child get a tattoo I’d want them to wait until they were an adult.

    Nor would I pierce or otherwise alter a child’s or babies body (as my sister in law did) when as infants she had my nieces ears pierced…I think that is presumptive too.

    My mother was thrilled when I wanted my ears pierced as it was a “feminine expression” instead of asking for another hockey stick.

    I was dumbstruck by the absolute rudeness of two people that profess to be my friends .

    janet

  5. wow. I love your tattoo also. its beautiful, and the placement is perfect.

  6. Leo MacCool Says:

    the tattoo is just gorgeous. i’m in awe. thank heavens for the reverse role models, they were beacons of hope in my childhood! but “friends” like those… ouch.

  7. Hahn at Home Says:

    Even I, a not so lover of tats, think it’s very nice.

    Kathy’s mom is going to have her hands full when she’s a teenager being so controlling.

  8. Even if I thought the way your friend did, which I don’t, I would never say it in front of the person. It’s a little harsh. Anyway, I love your tat – it’s absolutley beautiful and it looks awesome.

  9. freedomgirl Says:

    that tattoo is the hotness. the meaning is so beautiful as well. thanks for showing it off!

  10. Butch Boo Says:

    Fab tattoo. Parents have a lot to fucking answer to!

  11. LOVE the tat.

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