It's funny, because it was always the exact opposite when I was in high school and college. I was considered the absolute girl next door, the girl everyone's parents loved, the girl you should date, the girl you should bring home to mom...
What's even funnier to me is the only thing that has changed is my appearance. Specifically, my tattoos.
You are intimidating. You are unapproachable. You are "too much" for me. You are not someone you bring home to mom.
(All things I have heard)
I had never experienced anything like this before, because before my last serious relationship I had only a few small, dainty tattoos that weren't always visible. I always knew I wanted to get a lot of tattoos, and I just so happen to fall in love with a tattoo artist. He gave me my first half sleeve, and then my first traditional tattoo, and then my first leg tattoo. He is still my artist today and I am so in love with the artwork I have on my body because of him.
After going our separate ways as friends and slowly getting back into the dating scene as what some considered a very "inked up" woman, I can honestly say I had never felt so misunderstood by men in my entire life. I would go on dates as the same girl I had always been; free-spirited, driven, a little nerdy, a little weird. But things were so extremely different.
I started digging in a little bit, doing some research and came across a ton of articles such as this one (I can't believe this is even real) and this one, going so far as to comparing girl's tattoos to a tumor. Needless to say, I had no fucking idea the stereotype I was jumping into when getting my artwork done. Call me naive - but the thought never even crossed my mind that getting my tattoos would completely shift the way people saw me, specifically men. I was still the same old me, just with some additional artwork. I was still a working professional with an amazing job. I still loved meeting new people. I still considered myself an approachable person. I still was passionate, excited, inspired by human connection. I had always been this way, and still am this way today... tattoos or no tattoos.
I stopped dating completely.
I felt insecure and that was also new territory for me. I hated it. I hated feeling like I had to overcompensate for my appearance; always be "on" and over nice and over welcoming and over outgoing so men would realize that the tattoos are simply just fucking tattoos and I am still just a girl, trying to get to know a guy.
[Insert deep soul searching, another tattoo and some impactful conversations with those who have been by my side since I was bare skinned here]
I got over that insecurity quick (thank god). Still not dating, but definitely know that the right people who come into my life will welcome me and all my tattoos with open arms and an open heart. They will want to get to know me for my story, for my experiences, for who I am deep and rooted in my soul. They won't find me intimidating, or unworthy, or "too much". The right people will see me for all of me, including my tattoos, and not waver, or scare off, or step back.
They will step forward.... and absolutely want to bring me home to mom.