The year of my eighteenth birthday, on New Years Day, I got my first tattoo. A relatively small piece composed of a mountain scene with trees and a sun, this ink poked into my skin over the course of fourty-five minutes represented my first recovery gift to myself. To me, as cliche as it sounds, the mountains on my arm signified all of the metaphorical mountains that I had overcome to earn the moment and would have to overcome in the future. I told myself that it was a simple gift: a one-time event to commemorate my inner strength. Hah. As I soon found out, tattoos are like Pringles, albeit very expensive Pringles; you can never have just one.
In my research and attempts to make sure that I didn’t “make a mistake that couldn’t be erased”, I learned about and fell in love with tattoos, independent music, unnatural hair colours, and many other facets of punk/alternative art culture by which I now frequently define myself. Having fought for the athletic identity that my body would no longer let me claim for so long, and nearing acceptance that my former life was long gone, the bits of ink embedded in my skin bridged me to embracing new interests and a shifting identity.
Fourteen months and two hair colours after my first piece, while back in my hometown for the weekend, I made a sudden decision to receive my second tattoo; this time a much larger commitment, and more visible. A piece of flash (an entirely artist created piece, up for grabs for the first person to claim it) showed up on the Instagram of a woman who I had been following for quite some time, and I decided that the moment was right to dive in and commit to my relatively newfound interest. I sat for about three and a half hours this time around, loving every second (and occasionally napping). What followed was an arm adorned with a piece of art that I fall more in love with each and every day, in addition to boosted confidence to follow my passions and be my own unique self, inside and out.
I now find myself to be a far cry from the shy, stereotypically presenting teenage girl in sweatpants that people knew in high school. You can usually catch me with big glasses, dark shirts and biker jeans or high waisted shorts, cropped and dyed hair, and of course my ink on show, constantly planning more (and waiting on the money to execute said plans). You can often find me taking videos, writing blog posts, making music, listening to music or seeking out live music, having lost my conviction that art “is not for me”. Art is for anyone who wishes to let it into their soul. And for that realization, I have my tattoos to thank.
Check out my lovely tattoo artists!
Celyne (bird and flowers): https://www.instagram.com/celyne.begin/
Sarah (mountains): https://www.instagram.com/liberty_ordeath/