I have five tattoos. I love them. They all mean something to me and they all tell a story of that time in my life. The first one I got when I was 18–like a week legal! I was young, a little stupid and didn’t do my research. It’s a small ankh on my right ankle. The work isn’t great and someday I need to get it redone. The second one is a labrys on my left arm, symbolizing strength, independence and feminism.
The third is an Egyptian goddess, symbolizing rebirth, fertility and femininity.
The fourth is the Eye of Horus, an Egyptian symbol for protection. This one is pretty special to me–I got it in London (Notting Hill!) and my cousin Anna has an identical one on her ankle, too.
Lastly, my favorite tattoo, is on my back. It’s a purple lotus flower with a symbol above it. Not only is the work gorgeous, but it also has happy memories for me, too. I got the tattoo on my trip to San Francisco with my cousin Anna. We stopped at a parlor on Haight –I wish I could remember where now! The last tattoo I got when I was 22 years old and I haven’t gotten another one since.
I think part of the reason I have tattoos has to do with where I grew up. The Pacific Northwest is very “crunchy”. I grew up surrounded by people who had tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, crazy hair, pretty much every stereotype you can imagine about Seattle and Portland. That was the norm.
But giving it some genuine thought and analyzing the “why,” I think there is another reason for my tattoos. I think that when I gained my weight and I was really unhappy with my body, I wanted to do something to make it be beautiful in my eyes. I didn’t like my body, I couldn’t lose weight, I felt self-conscious and unhappy. Adorning myself with art work of my choosing seemed to change that.
I’ve changed a lot since I lost 110 pounds. I learned to love my body (most of the time). Becoming a fit, healthy, active person not only changed my body for the better, but it changed my brain, too. I started to look at my body in a positive way because I was able to do things I could never do before. Having the ability to swim two miles without stopping to rest was mind blowing to me! I was so proud of my accomplishments!
The weight training program I’ve been doing has been transforming my body even more and it’s given me the self-confidence I was lacking. I LOVE seeing definition in my arms and recognizing my own strength. And of course, working on getting awesome muscles just make my tattoos look even better. 🙂
Do I regret the tattoos now that I’ve changed? Not at all. I think it was the self-expression I needed to do at a certain time in my life. I’m sure I will get more someday, and definitely clean up the ones I have now when they are faded. I look back at that time in my life and instead of thinking about how I disliked my body, I remember the story that each tattoo tells. London, San Francisco, feminism, strength, whatever it represented then, it still represents now.