Back in 2015, there was a study done at Texas Tech University that proved women with more than four tattoos had higher self-esteem, even though a large portion of them had a history of depression. And that makes perfect sense to me.
Tattoos are a form of self-expression and a form of empowerment. I have a tattoo that represents my family. A tattoo that represents my career. A tattoo that reminds me to keep holding on, to keep moving forward, even when I’m tempted to give up on my life.
Whenever I feel lost or alone, I run my fingers across the ink and remember why I had the designs done in the first place. My tattoos inspire me. They motivate me. They make me feel more like an individual, like my own person, like I’m irreplaceable instead of a carbon copy of everyone surrounding me.
I won’t lie. Most of the time, I’m the definition of insecure. I worry about what other people think. I worry about what to say and what outfits to wear and whether others like me as much as I like them. I care too much about the way strangers see me.
The only thing I never think twice about are my tattoos. I don’t give a damn if someone criticizes the designs across my arms and ankles because the mean something to me. Because my opinion is the only one that matters in my mind.
I love showing off my tattoos. I love having them seen because they say a lot about me.
I hate the idea of someone judging me based off the size of my stomach or my chest, because those things don’t have any connection to my personality. They don’t tell you who I am or what I stand for. But feel free to judge me based on my tattoos because they define me. They are the accumulation of everything I care about in this universe.
After getting several tattoos, I have grown more comfortable with my body. I’m not as nervous about showing skin. I take more photographs of myself. I feel more confident naked. I like myself more than before.
I’ve had a similar experience with piercings. I’ve always hated the size of my nose. It’s my least favorite part of my body. It’s bothered me so much over the years that I have considered plastic surgery in the past.
Instead, I got a nose ring on a whim and my insecurities have faded almost completely. Now, I like the way my nose looks. I’m not as embarrassed about my face. I actually think I look decent, which is a huge step up from thinking I look like shit.
Some people might consider tattoos and piercings a recipe for unemployment. They might think of them as a sign someone is trashy and unreliable. But I think those assumptions are bullshit.
In my mind, tattoos are a sign you are comfortable with the person you see in the mirror. It’s a sign you are living your truth. It’s a sign you are strong enough to be yourself when it would be much easier to blend into the background.