My tattoos make me feel more confident. They make me appreciate my body more. They make me feel better naked. They make me happy whenever I look at them.
My tattoos aren’t for anyone else. They are mainly for me, because I’m the only one who knows what they mean. I have given out explanations to friends and relatives, but no one can understand the extent of their significance. No one can ever really know the way that I do.
My tattoos give me strength. I have song lyrics tattooed onto my ankle that remind me to keep going, to live another day, to push through the bullshit until I make it out on the other side. I have tattoos for relatives who have helped raise me, who have helped me grow into the person I am today, who have always held faith in me. I have tattoos that remind me of where I come from and tattoos that remind me of where I want to go moving forward.
My tattoos give me reassurance. Inspiration. Motivation. My tattoos tell me that everything is going to be okay. That I have enough strength to keep surviving.
My tattoos have taught me self-love. They make me feel more confident inside of my skin. They make me feel better about myself in every outfit, in every selfie. They make me feel less insecure about what I look like, even though my appearance has been something I’ve struggled with for my entire life.
When I look at my arms, I think about how much I love the tattoo sitting there instead of worrying about how flabby my skin has become. When I look at my face, I think about how much I love my nose piercing instead of how much I hate my nose.
My tattoos are a way for me to express myself on the outside. When people look at me, instead of judging me based on the size of my stomach or my forehead, they can judge me based on what I have chosen to have tattooed onto my body. They can judge me over something a little less superficial, or at least, over something that I actually have control over.
After all, I never get something random tattooed onto my body. I never drive to the tattoo parlor on a whim and pick out the first picture I see (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I spend weeks, months, years coming up with the design I am going to get. My tattoos are thought out. They are meaningful. They aren’t a mistake. They aren’t a future regret.
My tattoos hold stories. Other people might look at them and see a pretty design, but that’s only because they don’t know the history behind it. They don’t know what memories come to my mind when I look at them. They don’t know what I know, which is why I don’t care if anyone thinks my tattoos are stupid. Their opinion means nothing to me, because my tattoos mean everything to me.