Tag Archives: teenagers

How Do You Feel About Tattoos?

Elephant tattoo

That’s a picture of my daughter’s back, she had the tattoo done a few days ago. Even though it’s pretty big, she’s had it done in a sensible place, half way down her back so it will really only show if she’s in swimwear. Not that I feel people should have to hide tattoos if they don’t want to, but unfortunately there are still some career choices where it can be a hindrance to have them visible – she is considering going into law, so that would be one such example.

The reason she had this tattoo done was in memory of her Dad. She loves elephants, she loves Disney, and one of her Dad’s all-time favourite films was The Jungle Book; with this being an image of an adult and child elephant from the film, it ticks all the boxes. It’s quite large as you can see; she initially wanted smaller but because of the detail on it, it needed to be a certain size.

In view of her reason for wanting it done, I chose not to say anything negative about the idea when she first mentioned it. What I did do though is make sure she took a long time to think about it before going ahead to be absolutely sure. She first came up with the idea around the end of October, soon after he died, and right away thought of The Jungle Book elephants. She then turned 18 in December, so could go ahead and have it done whether I agreed or not. And it’s now April. So she gave it over five months without changing her mind.

Tattooing

This is the elephant tattoo in mid-process

I don’t have any tattoos myself, but I don’t have anything against them. I’ve seen many that I find beautiful; high quality works of art by any standard, and others not so much – as I’m sure you all have. But it’s personal choice if people want to permanently ink their bodies; unless they’ve chosen a highly offensive image, then it’s really not anyone else’s business. Often people have very touching stories about why they’ve chosen to have certain tattoos. It doesn’t worry me in the least if someone I’m dealing with has tattoos, even in a professional context.

The only reason I wanted to make sure my daughter took a long time to decide is because the reality is that many people do regret tattoos. We all know people who regret tattoos. So even if my daughter does come to regret it years down the line, at least she won’t need to be cross with herself for rushing into it. This is part of her healing process from her Dad’s death – she thought of the tattoo, she chose the particular image, she paid for it with her own money – she owns it in every way. And if it helps her then I’m very pleased.

And do I like the tattoo itself? Yes I do, I think it’s rather lovely.

What do you think about tattoos? Do you have any?

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Photo credits:
Image of elephant tattoo taken by The Belly Bar, where she had it done
Image of the tattoo in mid-process taken by me

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Why High School Musical was like the Pied Piper

High School Musical book

I’ve been meaning to write this post for several weeks now, but other post ideas kept muscling their way in and pushing their way to the front. Anyway, while the other ideas aren’t looking, I shall quickly write this…

A while ago, Kate (4amWriter), wrote a post about her concerns surrounding her daughter growing up and losing her innocence – http://4amwriter.com/2012/08/19/sunday-spin-growing-up/ This set me thinking about my own daughter, and her transition from childlike interests of fairies and magic, on to teenage interests of boys and the type of music that makes me feel old. As most parents of teenage girls will probably testify, the change can seem quite dramatic and sudden. One day the walls of their bedroom are adorned with pictures of fluffy kittens and Disney Princesses, and the next day the pictures have been ripped down and replaced by ones of young male TV stars and boy band members, who quite frankly should be wearing a bit more than they are if they don’t want to catch a chill.

Whilst I was pondering all of this, it suddenly struck me, it was all High School Musical’s fault! It seemed so innocent with its pretty songs and its pretty cast members; a place where wholesomeness and goodness win out over bad. Where was the harm? What I failed to realise at the time was that High School Musical was giving my daughter a glimpse into that mysterious, but oh-so-exciting teenage world. It was all sugar-coated of course to appeal to her girly kitten-loving self, but it gave her that stepping stone, that leg-up away from her childish innocent interests onto those teenage interests that all parents fear.

I remember one particular Christmas where her whole gift wish list was High School Musical – the DVDs, the soundtrack, the books, the watch, the bedding, the lip gloss, oh yes, anything her heart could desire was available under the HSM brand. And I, fool that I was, went along with it and bought her the merchandise. By the following Christmas, just one short year later, she had decided that High School Musical itself was now completely uncool and babyish. It was a pretend teenage world that no longer held any interest for her. But its job was done, it had catapulted her from one world to another, and there was no going back.

Yes, High School Musical was the Pied Piper in disguise. We didn’t stand a chance.

I’m SOOO Embarrassing!

Vanessa being cool

According to my 13 year old daughter, I am THE most embarrassing parent in the world. I know most teenagers think that about their parents, but apparently they are all wrong, because it is me. I actually think I’m a pretty cool parent, you can see how cool I am from the picture right? Right?! Apparently though, this is the problem, parents shouldn’t try to be cool they should just be, well…parents. The thing is though, I didn’t realise I was TRYING to be cool, I thought I just was cool.

I completely understand though, because I do rather a large number of embarrassing things – I talk, I smile, I laugh, sometimes I wave, and once when we were in the car I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel in time to the music in front of her friends! It’s surprising she can ever show her face anywhere considering this ritual humiliation that I constantly subject her to.

My son seems to be a bit more accepting of my presence in public for now (unless I try to give him a hug or kiss in front of people), but I’m sure that will all change in a couple of years when he’s at secondary school. For now, however, I am permitted to go out without having to walk six paces behind him with a paper bag on my head.

I wonder why it is though that so many kids/teenagers find their parents embarrassing. I lived with just my Dad from around age 7 till 16, and I don’t remember being particularly embarrassed by him (and I’m not just saying that because he subscribes to this blog, teehee), maybe I was and I’ve just forgotten, but I don’t think so. Ignoring the photo at the top of this post, I’m genuinely baffled as to what I do or don’t do, or what I could do differently to make things easier for her. I’m generally fairly quiet and in the background when her friends are around, I’m pretty easygoing about what they do. She hasn’t cited my clothing or hair as being a problem (mostly). I do sometimes tell stories about things she did when she was little, and I guess that can be a bit embarrassing. Maybe that’s it. The stories. Hmmm. And sometimes I might dance around and sing a bit when she puts some music on. And I do like to try silly hats on in shops. But overall, I really do think she could do a lot worse.

Does anyone else have experience of being an embarrassing parent? If so, any tips on how to deal with it?