DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been hiding my tattoos from my parents for years. They disapprove of tattoos in general and have somewhat traditional beliefs. I have two tattoos -- a large one on my upper arm that can be concealed under a T-shirt sleeve and a small one on my fingers. Recently my mother discovered my small tattoo and berated me only a little bit. The reveal went better than I thought it would, probably because the tattoo she saw is very small.
Do you think I should show my mom my bigger tattoo? It seems like my relationship with my mother is improving; it was somewhat strained in the past, and she has recently been more accepting of who I am. I am afraid that if I show her my bigger tattoo, I will lose our new connection. What do you think I should do? -- Tattoo Girl
DEAR TATTOO GIRL: I would continue to go slowly. Build your relationship with your mother, letting her get to know you as the person you are evolving into. Share ideas bit by bit with her so that she gets to know your values, your beliefs and your ideas. Tell her that you share some of the traditional beliefs that you were taught by your parents, but not all. Reinforce to her the values that you share, and point out where you differ. Let your mother know that you mean no disrespect when you take a different path than what she and your father have chosen.
When you feel that your mother is accepting of the fact that the two of you have some differing views but are able to love each other anyway, let her know that you want to share something with her. Do not spring it on her. Make her aware of the fact that you have a reveal, and then show her. Thank your mother for her support and love.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am currently in a short-term long-distance relationship, and my partner and I have noticed that it is harder to communicate as a result of this distance. We had been together long enough prior to our separation to understand that we both still love each other and believe that we can communicate well face to face, but we are having trouble with the long distance. Do you think there is anything that can be done to help us communicate better during the few months we will be away from each other? -- Temporary Distance
DEAR TEMPORARY DISTANCE: Talk about the big picture. Yes, it is challenging today, but you have a timetable. Create a calendar that you share that has as its North Star the date that you come back together. In between, assign dates for when you will talk to each other, see each other and otherwise communicate.
The good news is that technology can support your ability to be in close touch, even if you are unable to be in each other’s company. Talk about trust. Now is the time to fortify that trust and encourage each other to live your lives as you stay committed to your shared journey.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)