I'm Not Like Them (Female Body Image), Tattoo Stories

October 16, 2013

My story is about Pain transforming into Beauty.

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My story is about Pain transforming into Beauty.

I was taught from a very young age that I was invisible. My needs, wants, desires, & talents didn’t matter much. My individuality wasn’t important. As long as I was obedient without question, I was “accepted”. I’ve always been a strong willed person & spoke my mind. This was unacceptable. Growing up, when I was outspoken, I was punished for it. I was trained to obey at all costs even if that meant sacrificing myself. It was like I was being erased.

I spent my adolescent years {and many years after}, struggling with self hatred. I saw what society’s definition of beautiful was & I didn’t fit it. This made me feel frustrated, depressed & angry because I knew I could never measure up. It was like being caught in a trap.

When I was 16, I decided to leave all that I was taught, and started connecting to who I felt I was. I also, had this extreme deep need to feel loved & accepted because I really never experienced it before. I was never valued just because I was ME. I was like a trained slave, constantly having to alter myself in order for people to accept me. To follow THEIR orders & THEIR idea of what THEY wanted my life to be.

So I decided that “fitting in” wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and went the other direction. After all, since people like to stare, I was going to make it worth their while. I got my first Tattoo when I was 19. This was turning point. Being an artist myself, I loved the idea that I could express my creative spirit through wearable Art. My transformation was beginning. It was like permanently wearing my favorite piece of jewelry. But it was much more than that. Tattooing had meaningful stories behind the ink. Finally, I found a way to tell my story, and what life means to me through Tattooing. And that’s always been a gorgeous concept to me.

I also loved how the Tattoo artist is now a part of me. Art comes from a person’s spirit. Their art is forever embedded into my skin. We’ve shared this special moment because we connected on a different level than everyone else. They have given a piece of their creative spirit to me in a beautiful way.

I also found acceptance & connection through the Tattoo community. They appreciated my creativity, spirituality & boldness. They respected my opinion. Suddenly, my Tattoos gave me a voice. They started conversations. I was no longer unseen.

American culture, in general, doesn’t value or even enable a woman’s true sensuality. In our society, women are exploited. Tattooing has been a way for me to express my strength, beauty & sensuality as a woman in a healthier way than what society dictates.

Tattooing has also been a way to communicate healing from my painful past & symbolize several themes; My duality of self… Sensitive & Strong, Bold & Compassionate, Fragile & tough. As well as, The Extremes of Life, Pain, Beauty, Resilience, Growth, & Transformation.

The bleeding heart flower tattoo reminds me that my pain matters. It means that, through my story, my heartache will move others to ditch societies version of beautiful, explore who they are & celebrate their unique beauty freely… and my hurt will transform into something beautiful.

Cherie

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