In the hours of yesterday evening myself and my Mum went back to my school for my last ever art exhibition with them. It was a super rewarding and lovely experience as it was last year however one particularly short conversation has stuck in my head and is now the basis of this post. I will write another blog on the exhibition itself once I get the photos off my teacher!
This particular conversation was with a fellow students Mum, a woman I have talked to many times before and who never fails to put a smile on my face. It started with talking about my art and my paintings, congratulating me and then asking me about university. After telling her I was going to Norwich to study Fine Art the conversation went something like this…
‘Now please don’t go crazy! Don’t be coming home with your hair cut up or your nose pierced or with tattoos!’
To which I replied with,
‘I already have a tattoo’ and I stuck out my foot for her to see (I was wearing sandals therefore most of my tattoo was visible) and I got the most disapproving look. I think it’s safe to say the conversation ended there.
Now I know I may seem like I’m over reacting after all she is entitled to her opinion. She doesn’t like nose piercings or short hair cuts or tattoos and that’s perfectly fine. I don’t like a lot of things. But to tell me specifically not to do those things really annoyed me. She’s a lovely woman and I know she meant no harm but the fact that so many people in today’s society get told how to look, what to do with their hair, their skin, their makeup, their clothes, it’s beyond ridiculous. People in my family didn’t want me to get a tattoo but my mum said something to me that made me go against their wishes.
She said, ‘It is your body not theirs.’
When she said this to me I realised how right she is. I want to be happy with my own body and if getting a tattoo or a piercing makes me feel a little better about how I look then I will do it. It isn’t affecting my health so why shouldn’t I? I am an individual person. I have my own style and my own tastes and if I want to display art on my skin then I will. If I want piercings I will get them. If I want to cut or dye my hair then I will do that. If I want to wear crazy clothes or shave my eyebrows off then that’s what I will do because I am in control of what I do with my body and it is my decision no one else’s. That’s the thing it’s MY body and people should respect my decisions and not tell me how to dress or look.
I understand how this can be negative if the thing you are doing to your body is negative such as self harming but if what you want to do with your own body has no impact on your physical or mental health then why let other people’s opinions stop you?
This also angers me due to the fact that so many job opportunities depend on looks. My Dad advised me not to get tattoos on my arms in case I didn’t get jobs and that’s quite sad as people may be decent human beings but are judged because of how they look and can not earn money because they have chosen to look a certain way.
The world we live in is an unfair and damaging place and it’s quite sad to think this is how it is. People get sick or starve or hurt themselves because of the media or because of pressure to look and act a certain way whether this is from parents, friends, relatives or even people you barely know. Everyone is judged. Instead of being given a clean slate and being judged on their personality or what a nice person they are when you first talk to them it becomes immediately about looks.
I know there’s a lot more I can touch on with this post but for now I will leave it here. You are an individual. No one is like you. Even if you are an identical twin you have your own personality, your own body and your own thoughts and feelings. You are in charge of your own self and don’t let other people make your decisions for you if it goes against your happiness.
Love, Rebecca x