Sorry, But My Tattoos Do Not Mean I’m Going Straight To Hell

Photo: Stasia04 / Shutterstock
woman with tattoo

I recently went to a general store and the cashier eyed one of my 17 tattoos. “Are you Jewish?” She asked.

“Uh.” I was so taken aback, I had to figure out what she was asking. “Yes, actually, I am.”

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“Oh, that’s nice. You’re going to Hell!” The cashier smiled as she packed my items. I laughed, nervously. “No, seriously. Jewish people go to Hell when they have tattoos," she reiterated. 

I nodded my head in agreement, hoping she’d hurry her pace so I could leave quickly before others started to look at me like I was the devil herself. She gathered up my purchases and handed me the bag. THANK GOODNESS, I thought.

As I walked out, she yelled across the entire store, “Enjoy your day! I’ll see you in Hell!”

I ran out. I wasn’t ashamed of my tattoos. I wasn’t fearful of what she thought. I was scared she was a psycho and didn’t want to be burned with acid.

When I was younger, my sister snuck out before her 18th birthday and got a tattoo on her thigh. I remember it VERY clearly because, at the age of seven, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. You can have people draw on you and it doesn’t erase or go away? I WANT IN!

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As I got older, the thought of needles in my skin made me cringe and I lost interest. “I’ll never get a tattoo, Dad. I promise!” I said. Well, as they say, never say never. 

In 2008, I married my husband. Because of his job, and my aversion to all things jewelry, neither one of us wore wedding rings. It bothered me because I still wanted to feel connected, so I dragged my husband to the tattoo shop near our home and we got ring tattoos — much to the dismay of the artist, who rolled his eyes during most of the session.

After this first one though, I was HOOKED! Soon after, I casually brought up the idea of a wrist tattoo in dedication to my husband. He didn’t really care for the idea but was very supportive of my new obsession. After work one day, I went to a different tattoo shop and got our name tattooed in little heart bubbles.

OK, now I’m rolling my eyes. I know. What can I say? I was naive. I have since had the tattoo covered up. (Yes, I know you can still see the hearts; that just means I have to go back to WIN!)

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I currently have a total of 17 tattoos, and I still crave more though I am running out of room. All of my tattoos are visible, despite the hard warnings I received from people who acted concerned that my life would change. My life hasn’t changed, though.

Honestly, I forget that I have tattoos so when someone comments on them, I have to think for a moment and go, “Oh! Yes, that IS Super Mario from the video game on my finger!”

Photo: Author

I love my tattoos because each one was done for a reason. I don’t have sentimental stories behind each and every one, but each tattoo tells a story of what was happening in my life at the time.

Everyone has a story to tell; sometimes they use words, music, or art. Some people tell those stories about their skin. And why not? It looks awesome. And it certainly doesn't send us to hell. 

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Liza Walter is a freelance writer who has appeared in HuffPost, BRIDES, BUST Magazine, Ravishly, and more.