This article originally appeared on 02.24.21
It’s amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.
Yet, here we are.
PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky’s mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.
“We were just talking about things we admire about each other and he said, ‘You courageously and radically refuse to wear a mask,’ like meaning that I’m undeniably myself. I thought that was a really poetic way of saying that,” Holland told Fox 13.
So, she had “courageously & radically refuse to wear a mask” tattooed on her left forearm. It’s a beautiful sentiment about Leah’s dedication to being her true self. It’s also a reminder for Leah to remain true to herself throughout her life.
However, the tattoo would come to have a very different meaning just two days later when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kentucky.
“It basically looked like I’m totally, you know, anti-mask or whatever, which is not the case,” said Holland.
Now, she was embarrassed to be seen with the tattoo for fear she’d be associated with the anti-maskers who either deny the existence of the virus or refuse to wear a mask to protect others. Either way, it’s a bad look.
So Leah started wearing long-sleeve shirts and cardigan sweaters whenever in public to cover up the tattoo.
On Monday, TikTok users asked each other to share their “dumbest tattoo” and she was pretty sure she had the winner.
In her video, she talks about how her tattoo was about “not pretending to be something you’re not,” but then revealed it to show how — after a historical twist — it made her out to be someone she isn’t.
“I just kind of wanted people to laugh with me because I think it’s funny now, too,” said Holland.
Plenty of people on TikTok laughed along with her with one user suggesting she update the tattoo with the phrase: “Hindsight is 2020.”
“I was dying laughing. I’m like, I’m glad there are people that find this as funny as I think it is,” said Holland.
“It will be a funny story to tell years from now,” she said. “I don’t think it will ever not be a funny story.”
Unfortunately, even when the pandemic is over, Leah will still probably have to explain her tattoo. Because most won’t soon forget the COVID-19 era in America and there’s no doubt many will still feel passionate about those who refused to wear a mask.