Story of a guys trip to a tattoo shop.

“So, why are you getting this tattoo?” The inked up tattoo artists asks me as he dips the tattoo gun into the ink.

“I’ve been judged pretty much my entire life. I’ve had people telling me that I wouldn’t be a successful dancer. I’ve had people judge me, even my family. I have a passion for the arts and for dancing and theater.” I start my story.

“Dancer? What kind of dance?” he asks, pricking my skin with the tattoo gun.

“When I dance, I don’t just dance. I tell a story with my body movements. If you’ve ever watched So You Think You Can Dance on TV…” I start, I stop myself before I go into anymore talking.

“Nah, bro. Keep going. I’ve seen that show before. My wife and kids watch it.” The tattoo artist laughs.

“Well, once it’s down to the bottom 8 and they have them do a dance to a song together as a duo…that’s the kind of dance I do. It’s like…acting without the words. I’m into acting too. Just the entire performance arts, I love it all.” I say, wiping my big blue eyes with my hands.

“Need a tissue man? Need me to stop for a sec?” He asks, pulling the gun off of my back.

“No, no. You’re good.” I smile.

“So, your family doesn’t like your career choice?” He asks, continuing to ink my whole body.

“You got it. My entire family is a line of doctors and lawyers and businessmen. Being in the field I’m in isn’t a job that will pay the bill 20 years from now in their eyes.”

“Well, my parents always knew I loved art, they didn’t enjoy me being a tattoo artists until about 7 years ago. I started when I was 16. I’m 29 now. It’ll grow on them eventually and they’ll accept you.” He says, wiping my back with a tissue.

“I hope it’s soon. I’ve been dancing my whole life. And acting.”

“Been in any good plays?” He asks.

“All of them are good.” I joke.

“So, you religious?” He asks.

“I’m religious to the extent that I do believe in a God and he’s the only being that can judge me. He made me who I am, and he’ll judge how I continue to live my life.”

“You’re a really decent kid, you know.” He keeps inking me up.

“Thank you.” I smile.

“It’ll be a little while longer. Do you need a bathroom break or anything?” He checks up on me.

“Nope.” I smile.

“Sorry about the choice in music. We can put something you like on.” He tells me.

“I like Sage Francis. He’s an amazing poet.” I smile.

“You’re my new favorite. Sage is amazing.” He pats my back.

“Definitely is. I’ve seen him a few times.”

“He’s going to be in Mass this coming weekend. I have a few extra tickets. Got any plans?” He asks.

“I don’t, but then again I have no friends that would be interested in going.” I sigh.

“I said I have a few extra tickets and I listen to him. Wanna tag along?”

“Really?” I smile. This guy, this tattoo artist with gauges in his ears with a patch of blonde hair amongst blood red hair and a shaved patch on the side of his head – who has tattoos up and down his body is actually being friendly and asking me to hang out with him? Me? Stupid James Crocker? Me? He wants me to hang out with him?

“I’d be glad to tag along.” I reply.

“Awesome. My buddies will love you. They’re all about talent. You’ll bring a lot to my group of friends.”

We talk some more, getting to know each other as he finishes up my tattoo.

When he’s done, he holds up the mirror so I can see.

I start to cry at the amazing job this guy has done. I hug him and thank him over and over and over again for doing such a wonderful job.

As I leave the tattoo shop, I have a new friend. I have a new friends number and I have a new friend that doesn’t judge me.

For once in my life, somebody accepts me for me, after I practically poured my heart out to this kid.

I love my tattoo, Only God Can Judge Me.

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