Tattoos

“My skin is so thin that the innocent words of others burn holes right through me.”

“She was too quiet or she was too loud. She hated with every fibre of her being or loved with every piece of her heart. There was no in-between. It was either all or nothing.”

“She was a beautiful dreamer. The kind of girl, who kept her head in the clouds, loved above the stars and left regret beneath the earth she walked on.” ― Robert M. Drake

“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.” ― V. Vale

 

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I can feel the cold liquid is spread onto my forearm and the stencil is placed on it. I can hear the buzzing sound of the needle start up beside me and I clench my teeth. This is going to hurt. The buzzing gets closer to my body and I start to shake. I sense the familiar feeling of the needle scrape against the surface of my skin. Instant pain. I gasp and flex my forearm muscle but it’s no match for his strong hands keeping me from moving. After a few moments, I calm down, letting the pain of the needle continue its path to creation.

And then numbness creeps up and overcomes me. It consumes my entire being and shows me a light at the end of the dark tunnel my life has turned into. The sensation of releasing myself into the hands of someone else’s conquering power gives me the rush of adrenaline like no other. I don’t want to feel, I don’t want to be. Whisk me away and do everything you can to keep me from drowning in my own sorrows and tears.

The pain of the needle becomes one with my body and it feels as if it is a part of me; a part of my being. The consistent hum finally settles my nerves and gives me a sense of place in the world; a sense of belonging to the earth. I can almost taste it.

The feeling of that needle keeps me from screaming. The etch of the design on my skin is my way of coping; my way of not self-harming but still getting the feeling of self-harm in some way. It’s a soothing feeling, one that I can identify as safe. Safe… Safe from… Safe from I don’t know what yet. Maybe from myself; from my own demons that fester inside of me. These demons bury me in their infestation of despair and loneliness but I am able to breathe fresh air again through the injection of the ink.

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“Wear your heart on your skin in this life.” ― Sylvia Plath

“Death is the easy part, the hard part is living and knowing you could be so much more then you’re willing to be.” ― Robert M. Drake

“Sometimes the most beautiful people are beautifully broken.” ― Robert M. Drake

“We swallowed the chaos because we knew we didn’t want to be ordinary.” ― Robert M. Drake

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If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You may even agree with me when I say it’s a coping mechanism. It’s also a way of expressing to others in a creative way what means the most to you and what you have suffered through during your lifetime. Recently, or rather extremely recently, I got another tattoo. It’s a peonies flower with the roman numerals XVI. That’s the number 16. It represents and serves as a reminder to me of the 16 days that I spent in the psych ward.

When I look down at my skin, it brings back vivid memories of things I will forever unwillingly remember; but it also helps me live through tough times. To look at my tattoos and know that I will survive is freeing for me. They give me strength to face whatever bullshit is being thrown at me that day, that week, that month or even that year. They are my security blanket and I am not ashamed to admit that.

Over the past three years, I have gotten quite a few tattoos and piercings. For some people, they are rebellious and unacceptable. For others, they are ugly and a waste of money. For me, they are my story. My tattoos are what have saved me from self-harm. My tattoos have made me feel human and real. My tattoos have made me feel like me.

-E

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