- Sunday, 24 July 2016 -
My Tattoos and Me
Hello my lovelies! Before I see my body shape, the acne on my face or the countless other trivial imperfections that eat away at my self esteem, I see my tattoos. I stand in front of the mirror as I notice the intricate detail in some and the vibrant colour in others, a smile stretching across my face as I recount each and every time I sat in the tattooists chair, with laughter filling my head as I recall the pain I endured for this piece of artwork that will forever be etched on my skin.
Sometimes, during the colder months I tend to forget that I have this secret armour on beneath the layers of coats and cardigans that cocoon me. That is until I find myself at a coffee shop, reaching over the counter to collect my order when my sleeve slips back and I catch a glimpse of some lines and shading peeking out from underneath.
I currently only have my arms and legs tattooed (hands and feet included) - my legs are multicoloured whereas my arms are done just in blackwork, because in my head, it feels somewhat balanced. I remember a few years ago going to a counsellor and having to go through my entire history of suicidal thoughts and self harm, informing her that I used to suffer from both. Concerned, she asked me whether I’d ever consider harming myself again and in that moment, I remember looking down at my arms and imagined all that beautiful artwork distorted and destroyed. I shook the idea from my head and told her “no”.
When I’m out, I see the widest variety of emotions flash across a persons face when they first notice I have tattoos. Not as tabooed as they used to be, the reactions generally range from positive to quizzical as people probe into why I went for a full arm sleeve when something daintier and more feminine would have suited me better. As a woman who intends to one day be fully covered, I just usually dismiss their ignorance and bask in the knowledge that everyone has the choice to do what they want with their bodies, dainty butterfly tattoo or not.
It’s true, tattoos aren’t for everyone, but neither is shellfish or skydiving. As a designer, I suppose it was always written in the stars that I’d eventually end up with a tattoo or two (or twenty at this stage, oops!), as usually the more creative the individual, the more likely they are to be inked, and because of this, I’ve thankfully never had to face any discrimination in the workplace. Having even worked as a carer with my tattoos occasionally on show, I’m happy to see a greater level of acceptance from employers, seeing my personality first and not the half naked pin up lady on my leg.
When I’ve got a tattoo to look forward to, I develop tunnel vision and focus on nothing else. The gloom and darkness that would usually cloud my thoughts dissolves as I look forward to the colour that is soon to be injected into my life (and quite literally at that!). So, if you’re mulling over your first tattoo and find yourself on the fence, take the plunge and live your life in colour, paint that blank canvas and don’t worry, there’s always laser removal ;)