…in answer to a FB comment.
Posted this pic on facebook. With the heading – I’ve lived this.
One of my very dear friends commented on the pic with the following :
“Yes, because the gender confused goth chick with the spider web on her neck would never sit in judgement of a concerned Christian mother concerned her tattoo will give her hepetitis or limit her options in in the workforce alienating her from society causing depression and rage. Damn church goers ruin everything fun.”
The friend in question is, without doubt, one of the greatest Christians I know. Able to live a good life, without judging, mostly, with a fine sense of the ridiculous.
I thank you for your comment Sir Knight. And, as promised, my answer to it on a bigger and wider forum than my FB page. Because I think the picture and the comment each deserves an honest answer.
Here than, that answer.
I have tattoos. Not very visible unless I wear certain kinds of clothes and I’m able to mostly integrate with society as a whole to a degree. Alas. I have been judged on the way I look. The hair, the piercings, the few tattoos, the clothes I wear. The loud mouth. I’ve been judged as being inferior, or idiotic. And most of the judgement has come from regular churchgoers. Fact that my tattoos are hidden is a direct reaction to society’s views of people with piercings and tattoos. And yes. I agree with the fact that certain jobs just would not be quite as well received if they are done by a pierced, tattooed person. In that, a tattoo is a very serious decision. And why mine are mostly hidden. Society is also the reason why I don’t have major piercings – have always wanted and eye ring and a neck tattoo, but some things should just not be done. And every time I went to a tattooist, I made sure that he uses a clean needle on me. Because I go to reputable places.
And if your child insists on sharing the experience, the least you can do is go with them. Make sure they’re in safe hands. That’s what I did. When the eldest went for his first tattoo, I went with and got one myself. I knew the place, trusted the artist, and in so doing, made sure my son knew the perils of getting a tattoo from just anywhere. One can only hope that one’s advise does not fall on deaf ears. And if the foundation was there to begin with, you will have found fertile ground on which to plant the seeds of responsibility.
I am a Christian myself. if there’s one person that knows what God has wrought in their lives, it’s me. Regardless of what you believe – this is not a religious post. It’s an explanation of how the one bunch of people that should judge the least, turns in to the bunch of people that judges the most.
Many years ago, I was picking up the then husband’s brother for a movie. I knock on the door, wait a while. Knock again – we made arrangements to meet at this time, what’s the problem now? Turns out they were busy with evening prayer or whatever you want to call it. I did not know this and graciously apologised for my intrusion and offered to wait in the car until they were done. Not to worry, said the father, you’ve chased God away with your untimely presence. This from a man that was so faithful that he gave his tithe to the church every month. He was an elder in the church, part of the committee and what have you. Should his first reaction not have been to invite the sinner into the fold? To try and explain why he feels the way he does? Or just to let me be healed by the presence of God in the room? Because I can really not think that a being as Great as God will be chased off by the likes of me – not as if I’m the anti-Christ now am I?
That little scenario has stuck with me for the past thirty years. I’ve never forgotten it. A big reason why I eschew organised religion. Not to the extent that I will never enter a church, just to the extent that I’m able to find my voice to God in the privacy of my home. In my gratitude for the life He was tantamount in helping me have.
So, Sir Knight. While not all tattooed people are angels of mercy – in fact, precious few of them are, less of them will judge me for my choices, my mistakes, my bad decisions, than is the case with church going, supposedly god-fearing people. As a divorced woman, I’ve been given the wooden eye because we all know I just want their husbands. Fact that I have gone down that road notwithstanding, it’s not something I make a habit of, and, while I still don’t regret it, it’s not something I’m proud of. Even when I’m sitting at a restaurant on my own, I’m judged. Such a sorry sight to see a solitary figure at a dining table. Little do they know that I have a lively inner conversation with my God. With myself. Or that I’m reading a most fascinating book. And I’m much happier on my own than they can ever be in their forced hilarity and companionship.
On the other side of the coin – not all church going people judge. it would be unfair to say that and I’m nothing if not fair. I know good, Christian, church-going people. Warm hearts, open arms, no judgement. Unfortunately, these days, they are far and few between. It’s almost as if the fact that they have religion, not belief mind, just religion, on their side makes them feel superior to the rest that does not have religion.
I believe. Implicitly. I know the Lord looks after me. I know that He has put me on a path that I must follow because I can do no less. Walking the path has given me what I’ve needed for so long. A life I can look back on and say – I’ve done well. And, having walked the path, in making the mistakes, in falling down and in getting up again, I learned that to judge is foolish. You might not like it. Some people are just silly in the things they do. But they are always only ever a product of their examples. It’s not for you to judge them. And bottom line, if you don’t like people judging you, how can you judge them?
Give everybody the benefit of the doubt. They will either prove you right or they will prove you right. But yours is not the right to judge people. They each have their little bits of sorrow. Regrets. Same as you. Leave them be.
Hope this is a good enough answer to your comment Sir Knight. You will always have a special place in my heart.
May your days be long upon the earth.
and here’s my daily offering of beautiful tunes. Hope you found at least one you enjoy!