holly_evolving: (steampunk can can)
[personal profile] holly_evolving
My body has been through some shit.

Illness, injury, abuse. Both inflicted by myself, and by others.

For a long time, I hated my body. Even when I was barely over 100 pounds, I felt there was too much of me. I still sometimes feel the urge to escape the burden of my own flesh.

One of the things that has helped me, kept me anchored into myself, is tattooing.

So far I have about 14 hours under the tattoo machine, spent a couple thousand dollars, sat with several artists. These beautiful things I seek and find and brand into my skin, make a part of myself like talismans, each represent in their own way something I value, something I love and aspire to.

The crab is for the zodiac sign Cancer, a symbol of compassion. The holly is for strength. The stitched golden heart is a reminder that I heal. The penicillin allergy warning both protects me and reminds me that my skin can speak for me when I cannot speak for myself. The sun and moons on my shoulders lift me up and remind me that change is constant. The constellations keep my family at my back. The hyena spots are strength again, and courage, and the bonds of community. The foxglove tells me I can heal or harm, depending on how I'm used. These are a story in art that I am still writing. I will get more and more ink - the work of a lifetime.

The pain of tattooing has helped me to develop a new relationship to pain. Sometimes it hurts to get what I want; sometimes I have to earn it. Not all things will come easily. But I can choose to endure. I can choose to be stronger than pain.

I will spend the rest of my life building a self that I love, from the inside out and from the outside in. These beautiful things have helped me to love the skin that bears them.
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