Early this month, I contacted a tattoo studio in my city who offers one free cover-up tattoo to someone with scars from self-harm.
As a perpetually broke college student, free is my favourite number. I also have a tremendous amount of scarring on my left arm that I would rather see turn to something beautiful.
I contacted the artist knowing full well that other studios have told me it just wouldn’t be possible to tattoo over the scars. I contacted her knowing I may not be chosen or that, again, it just wouldn’t be possible.
A few weeks ago, I met the artist from Pretty In Ink. She was so joyful and immediately took me into the back. She felt my arms and noted the areas she wasn’t comfortable tattooing over, explained the risks, and spoke about the design I was hoping to get. We set an appointment and the artist, Jackie, told me she’d draw up a design with my original ideas and inspiration I’d shown her. I gave her free reign to do what she felt would work best, with the colours that worked best.
Although it may take several sittings, it may need touch ups, and the scars may swell initially; I want to document the experience when I go in for my appointment.
In exactly 10 days, I will have the scars I’ve worn for 16 years turned into a piece of art. I can’t explain how exciting this will be. I’ve learned to look past them, not to see them, to ignore the damage. Self-harm hasn’t been part of my life regular life, save for two slip ups, in 5 years.
I think it’s time to acknowledge their existence, to believe in their significance, and have the emotional metamorphosis I’ve sustained etched forever in ink.