TERRI CLAIRE

I color my skin and not my hair.

I’m an Ivy-League educated woman who teaches deaf and hard of hearing children. I am an author, having written a book for children. I am also a collector of tattoos.

Getting the tattoos for me represented liberation and freedom—I would no longer be controlled—no one was ever going to tell me what to do, ever again. And I was going to train and be strong.

I started getting the tattoos on my back and chest, places where clothes covered them so the school administrators and the kids I teach couldn’t see them. But I found that nobody cared. So I did my calves and half sleeves, and now I’m doing my forearms.

Now, I think of my tattoos as compelling artwork. I have tattoos from world-renowned artists. Sometime I think the tattoos are an allure. Sometimes I think they are a statement: “Don’t fuck with me!” But truly, people are more interested in my hair than my tattoos.