• Michelle Partington

Who are you to judge!!

Currently sat on a train waiting to leave Paddington, hot and flustered having fought through crowds on the tube. Seriously not the best time to travel!! I'm boiling, the train is packed and this chap bounced onto the seat next to me seriously invading my personal space!!! I should have written all that in capitals so you get a sense of where I am right now!

I have just experienced the worst ignorance ever!!! I'm used to people taking a look at my tattoos but oh my goodness. Sat on the train to Euston and 5 people looked at my tattoos, looked me up and down and one had the audacity to shake their head in disgust!!! Who the hell does she think she is. Then a woman did the same on the tube and I almost retaliated; took everything I had not to. Instead, I stared into her eyes for ages then smiled!

How dare people look down their noses at me, prejudging me because I have tattoos. I actually remember going to work for someone in the last 12 months and was actually 'told' to cover them up!! True story which I obviously challenged.

Let's explore my tattoos for a moment....

Lower back - I got this is 2002 with a friend of mine from Lyneham. We got the same tattoo and it will always link us.

Left Shoulder - my initials, but to be fair it could be egg fried rice and a carton of curry for all I know!!

Left upper arm - me wearing my officer beret but half my face covered in smoke from a bomb blast. This signifies the war that remains within, from my time as a paramedic in Afghanistan.

Right upper arm - my hands in a prayer hold, with my military ID tags hanging off them. This signifies the end of my military career through medical discharge for Complex PTSD.

Left inner arm - the cross with poppies, RAF Regt guard and the medical services memorial. This is there in permanent remembrance of all the people I couldn't save during my tours in Afghanistan. I will always remember.

Right inner arm - A hand written note from my grandad which I took out to Afghanistan with me (copy of the original). When we went out onto the ground we weren't really allowed anything that would identify us in case we were captured. This was the only thing I carried with me in my left top pocket, close to my heart. Since he passed this note has become even more significant.

Outer lower arms - Invictus Games moto. "I AM the master of my fate. I AM the captain of my soul." I had this done a week before I left to compete in the games in Toronto in 2017. I came from the bottom of a very deep, dark hole, to competing in a major sporting competition, in front of 100s of people. I, with the help of others, fought for my life literally to compete.

That's what all my tattoos mean to me. I think I have very nice tatts ;-)

Why do people always have to judge others? Whether that be race, creed, colour, religion, sexuality, background, appearance or other. I am me, I will not change for anyone, EVER. I remain my true authentic self and if that means I don't get the job, or I don't get invited to 'posh' places, or people don't like me, that's just tough.

Stop spending your time judging everybody else. How about you look inwards. Can you look at yourself and say you are being your true authentic self? Asking for a friend!

I AM the master of my fate. I AM the captain of my soul. Not you... ME


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