Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tatooed Freaky People

I work in a mid-size law firm, where everybody knows everybody. From all appearances, it is very conservative. In fact, it is very conservative, unless you get into political affiliations (but that is an entirely different story). Everyone wears suits every day, except Friday, where business casual is accepted, but many still look very formal.  Once a year, when we clean our offices out, we get to wear blue jeans. But that is it.

Me, I've always been more casual. Jeans were my uniform. My senior year of college, I never wore matching socks (mainly because it really bothered one of my friends and that humored me). When grunge came into fashion, I finally felt like my style became main stream.

Of course, as a lawyer, in this conservative firm, I wear suits on weekdays. I am the professional. But for nine years, I've harbored this huge fear that I would be discovered. Somebody from the firm would learn that not only are my political opinions liberal, but I do not fit in a world where people weekend at country clubs and wear cardigans instead of sweatshirts outside of the office.

But my biggest fear was that someone would discover I am a tattooed freaky person.

You can catch a glimpse of the tattoo in this photo.
I have two tattoos. One, I got after much thought and deliberation. It is placed on my back and easily hidden. Let's just say that the other one was obtained in the opposite manner and is not as easily hidden.

Seven or so years ago, one person in the firm saw my tattoo and the reaction was crazy. It was as if she had learned I was formerly a mountain goat. And she was not a person I was concerned about seeing the tattoo. And once the shock wore off, she didn't really care one way or the other, but it was completely the opposite of what she expected. That is not consistent with the firm image.

Needless to say, that encounter has stuck with me and made me even more afraid of letting people "know".

At least until tonight.

Tonight, we had a happy hour after work for all of the attorneys. This is not something we do frequently--hardly ever in fact. It was nice. I really enjoyed it. I work with a lot of really great people. And talking to them outside of the office has made me realize that all of us have a little tattooed freaky person in us somewhere, even conservative, straight-laced attorneys.

I'm still not going to let the tattoos show, but I now know that it wouldn't matter if people I work with every day learn I wear jeans on the weekend. We all have our roles to play at the office. But that is not who we are all of the time. It is nice to realize that I am more like the rest of them than I thought.

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Having a child with a CHD is like being given an extra sense---the true ability to appreciate life. Each breath, each hug, each meal is a blessing when you've watched your child live off a ventilator, trapped in an ICU bed, being fed through a tube. Each minute is a miracle when you've watched your child almost die and come back to you.
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