Adventures in Living a Healthy, Juicy Life
by Cheryl Ragsdale
This weekend I had an opportunity to confront my notions about people who have tattoos. I don’t mean one or two tattoos. I mean like body coverage tattoos. I didn’t know I had issues with tattoos until I arrived at “Rock the Ink” expecting a Jiu Jitsu tournament.
I drove down to Providence to support the guys from my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu martial arts school in a “No Gi” (shirts optional) Grappling Tournament. I’ve been to a tournament before. I thought I knew what to expect.
Walking into the venue, I noticed several police officers, lots of pink hair, men dressed all in black, a whole lot of tattoos, signs that said “No Colors” and Japanese anime style clothing on the girls. “I wonder where they’re going? Maybe there’s a concert around here today.”
I worried, as we all headed in the same direction. “Am I in the wrong place? How did I make this mistake?”
I bought a ticket, confirming with the agent that I was where I was supposed to be. Going up the escalator with the tattoo people, I got nervous. I’m not used to being around people with lots of tattoos. I have thoughts about what “those kind of people” are like.
As we all headed to the same turnstile, I really got nervous. “OK,” I said to the security guard. “I’m here for a grappling competition. Are all of these people here for the same thing?”
“Yes”, he said and continued taking tickets.
I approached the main door. As I crossed the threshold, I bounced off an invisible force field. Light dawned as I realized what “Rock the Ink” meant. I approached the security guard again. “Hey! There’s no grappling contest in there! Everybody’s getting tattoos!”
Patiently, he turned me around, and guided me back to the door. “Go straight down this aisle. At the end, turn left. You’ll find what you’re looking for.”
“Be brave, little soldier,” I thought to myself as I adjusted my clothing and squared my shoulders. I went in.
Suddenly fascinated by the sound of whirring needles, I made my way down the aisle.
Yikes! I covered my arms protectively, feeling like a blank canvas. At the end of the aisle, on the left, the grappling tournament was in full swing.
To the right, another kind of contest was taking place. Miss Tattoo! I walked over to take a look.
I’m reminded of another time, I got self-righteous about something. I was visiting my friend, Bill. He showed me some photos of his favorite hobby – fishing. He had horrible dead fish, stuffed and hanging on the walls. I rolled my eyes. He pointed out a couple of small prints he was especially proud of.
I put my glasses on and squinted trying to see what was going on in the photo. “Oh, that’s nice. They’re pulling those whales back into the ocean.”
“No, Cheryl. They’re chopping them up while they’re still fresh.” Bill explained.
My head whipped around. “That’s disgusting.”
Bill listened patiently to my heated opinion and then offered me lunch. “I have tuna or roast beef.”
I said “tuna” and he started laughing. “And what is so funny about that?”
“How do you think tuna got in the can, Cheryl?”
I never really thought about it to tell the truth. I laughed too as I realized my own hypocrisy. I’m happy to eat meat, fish or chicken as long as I don’t have to be the one killing it, preserving it and wrapping it up in cellophane.
And now, there I was at “Rock the Ink” learning another lesson about judging people based on appearances. No, I didn’t get any tattoos. Happy to admire other people’s and keep my body as a “No Tat” zone.
What notions are keeping you from trying new things? Look what I would have missed if I hadn’t walked through that door. Fear and lack of trust stop us from learning and growing. Experiment! Try something new! Have a conversation with someone unusual. Then tell us about it! We want to know! Please leave your comments on this page. Maybe you’ll inspire someone to do something they wouldn’t have done without you going first. How cool is that?
Cheryl Ragsdale enjoys making life fun. Sometimes, mellow pleases her. Usually, grunge works. Mostly, laughing is what’s needed. Whatever your mood, you’ll find something interesting on www.thatgirlisfunny.com
PS I’ll tell you about this Harley Davidson photo some other time.