Brittany Heaton / by Michael Falco

Who is Brittany Heaton?

Brittany Heaton primarily grew up in Cartersville, Georgia, a small very white town outside of Atlanta. Her family didn't have a lot of money. She moved to Atlanta after graduating high school and then on to Seattle, where she met and started dating Patrick, her current boyfriend, who is from Wyoming and was also interviewed for this project. They decided to move back to Cheyenne because of the expense of living in Seattle and the desire to finish school. She has lived in Cheyenne for four years now. Brittany has completed a degree in computer programming but currently works at Starbucks. She's planning on taking online classes in accounting soon and would like to move out of Cheyenne in the future.  

Excerpt from interview with Brittany Heaton by Whitney Dow, 2018

Q1: And do you see any drawbacks from being white?

Heaton: [01:11:59] Some drawbacks from being white, I have noticed that we’re all kind of lumped together, and I do understand that as a whole, the white society has done a lot wrong. But unfortunately, there’s societies throughout history, all over the world who have done horrible things, and I’m just kind of—it sucks being lumped in all the time, because I feel very strongly about race, and social justice, and things like that. So it gets a little overwhelming at times. But as far as—I’m so sorry, I feel like I’m getting off topic.

Q1: No, you’re completely on topic. I think it’s interesting, we hear this from people sometimes that they feel like they don’t want to be lumped in, they don’t want to be judged like other white people, that they feel that sometimes people project on them. Is that a reason what with the tattoos, is that something that sets you apart from other white people, and makes you more of an individual? Or am I being too shrink-like asking that question?

Heaton: [01:13:10] No, actually, my tattoos don’t necessarily—I didn’t get them to set me apart, necessarily. I actually have really bad social anxiety, and major depression, so my tattoos are kind of a coping mechanism for me. It’s not about the pain, or getting them, it’s more about covering my skin so that I’m more open to showing it. I didn’t start wearing sleeveless shirts until I was like eighteen. So yes, it’s just kind of a weird thing for me. I’m hoping to be pretty covered here in the next couple years. And it just makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin. So yes, not necessarily having to do with the color of my skin, just being comfortable in it.

Q1: Do you think that the tattoos make people see you differently in some way?

Heaton: [01:14:07] Unfortunately, I do think that they see me differently because of them. Some members of my family have expressed dislike, and it definitely doesn’t feel good, but at the same time, it’s not for them, it’s for me. And it’s my life, it’s my skin.

Q1: And what about when people look at you, do you feel like they see that instead of something else? Is that what you mean by making you feel comfortable? They see sort of a narrative on your skin that’s different from what they would see if you had nothing?

Heaton: [01:14:38] A narrative, yes, I could definitely agree with that. It is possible that I get tattoos so that they stand out before I do. I could definitely see that, because I am a very quiet, standoffish person, usually. I like going to the parties, I like watching it, but I’m going to be in the corner, probably not really doing much. So, I guess it is probably a bit of a shield.

Interview Transcript