A 25-year old Kentucky woman named Leah Holland waited for two entire years before getting her forearm tattooed with a phrase she likes. Poor Holland, who’d already spent months and months considering the design, would’ve benefited from waiting just a few more days. Unfortunately, she’d didn’t and, two days before Kentucky confirmed its first COVID-19 case last March, she went to have the phrase “Courageously & radically refuse to wear a mask” permanently placed on her forearm.
Buzzfeed News spoke to Holland about what it’s like to be a walking advertisement for a rebellious sentiment that helps contribute to the ongoing devastation of the pandemic. The tattoo, inspired by a compliment a friend made about Holland being true to herself and not a literal anti-mask sentiment, led to an entire, horrible summer of “wearing cardigans so [her position on mask-wearing] could not be misconstrued.” While Holland “assumed that we would probably have to wear masks” when the outbreak began in America, she “didn’t think that the anti-maskers were going to be such a thing.”
Now, almost a year since she got the tattoo, Holland thinks “it’s hilarious.” She calls it “a funny story” that she “can laugh about” to the point of uploading a video showing her arm off in response to a TikTok prompt about people’s dumbest tattoos. In a roundabout way, Holland says, the tattoo taught her that it’s not worth being too self-conscious.
Holland may take some extra comfort from the fact that she’s the owner of the worst-timed tattoo, not the worst one in general. Even though she’s found the strength to press on with the awful implications announced by her very skin, if Holland ever wants to get a little extra boost in confidence she can always revisit photos of Ben Affleck’s back, still home to a terrible tattoo that even he’s able to proudly claim that he, at least, likes.
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