Tattoos are something that people either love or hate, but I've never really understood why. I'm sure I've mentioned before that my Dad was brought up in a catholic household. Amazingly even though I was not raised in a catholic house he has still managed to install a strong sense of catholic guilt in my psyche. He always said that we should return our bodies to God the way he gave them to us. Problematic at best when you consider I've had wisdom teeth removed and my appendix taken out. But the guilt was still strong and I waited until my parents were out of the country before I got my first tattoo. I also hid them for as long as possible. It wasn't until I got them on my arms when I thought if I just don't talk to my Dad about tattoos, he will pretend that I'm not a disappointment to God. Might not be entirely healthy, but it works.
My first tattoos were on my ankles. They're not great, but I kind of love them for that.
I had the tattoos done in brown ink, to honour their inspiration. Tiki masks and statues where often carved and keeping the brown ink gave them the same feel. Tiki masks in their most simplest form have four purposes. Protection, the masks provided safety from evil spirits, danger and bad events. Deity, if you looked after the land the land would look after you. Ancestry, to honour those that came before you, keep lost loved ones close and have them look over you in the now. And finally, good fortune, to supply hope, comfort and stability. These are the exact reasons why I have these tikis tattooed on my body. The middle picture of the all-seeing eye within a pyramid within a crop circle comes from my love of conspiracy theories and the meanings behind them.
The three symbols on my other ankle are less subtle in their meaning. The cross is for having faith. Not necessarily in religion but in life, to continue to have faith through hardships. The diamond is to enjoy the finer things in life, you deserve them when they become available so enjoy them. Finally, the anchor to remember to keep grounded. Grounding is one of the many mental health strategies which I find helpful. Just getting outside and wiggling my bare toes into some sand at the beach or even grass in my own garden and taking a moment to be in the present. It's helpful in psychosis but also in anxiety to take a second to not think about the future or "what ifs" but to think about I am here in this moment and I am breathing and I am okay.
From here the quality of my tattoos improved, so don't worry about reading ahead!
The first is my semicolon on the back of my neck. Many of you will already know the meaning behind this, the semicolon tattoo became the symbol for those with a mental illness to show their story is not over yet. And like those before me, my story is not over yet.
The middle two are tattoos I share with my sister from another mister. My best friend through thick and thin. We both have these tattoos, mine are in white and hers are in black. I had a lot of people tell me not to get a white tattoo. I am so glad I didn't listen to them, yes they have kept their brightness and no they haven't changed colour. Maybe they have on other people's skin but mine are perfect for me. The circle symbol is from a book called Discovering Scarfolk, one of mine and my girls favourite books! If you haven't read it, I recommend it highly. It's a tale about a mysterious town which a man comes into contact with by chance and that's all I'll say about the matter. But if you like a story to make you question reality, this is it! The second is a white tulip, the exact symbol is from Fringe a TV show which main subject is around Fringe science. Fringe science are thinks like, astral projection, parallel universes and transmogrification. Something we both find really interesting. I love these tattoos because along side showing things I love, I know they show a person I love too.
Finally is a design which I came up with. My silhouette with the universe inside my mind. This was a design which I thought showed how it felt sometimes living with my mental illnesses. Like the universes pressures and problems were also mine, like my mind was so filled with so much going on there could be a whole universe in there. I often struggle to get how I feel out, so this picture meant a lot to me. It was the most painful by far, done in one 8 hour sitting which I barely made it through towards the end. But I'm so glad I did, its one I'm proud of; not for my endurance but for my personal expression.
I hope you enjoyed looking and learning about the ink I have on my body so far, because I know there's more to come along with more life to live.