Tattoos and Body Image

Question:

What kind of bagel can fly?

Punchline:

A plain bagel.

As is with most people I have had an up and down relationship with body image over the years. There have been days where I loved how I look and days where I didn’t want to step outside. A few years ago I finally took a deep breath and applied the same aggressively optimistic approach that I adopt in most situations that are outside of my control and essentially said to myself, “this is the body you have so you might as well be happy with it.” Since then I have felt mostly indifferent towards my body – I neither actively loved nor actively hated it. This, however, changed last Spring when I got my first tattoo. I suddenly found myself loving the skin I was in and wanting to show it off.

I will always hold that the best compliments are those about tattoos because they are one of the only things that are both permanently on your body and also chosen by you. They can hold significance or beauty or both and they will (most likely) last forever. People can compliment your eyes or your legs all day long but the fact is that there was never a specific moment when you decided that you wanted them as a part of you. Tattoos are chosen and created and eventually it feels as though they’ve always been there. Whenever people ask me if I get tired of mine, I ask them if they ever get tired of their pinky finger because to me, the ever-presence is the same.

My tattoos have given me a new sense of ownership over my skin and my body. They remind me that is my life and I have to be an assertive force in it rather than just taking a back seat and watching it pass me by. I think they are beautiful and they make me feel beautiful and quite frankly it makes me feel a tiny bit badass when people ask if it hurt and I shrug and answer honestly “not really.”

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