I recently got ink that honored my surviving abuse. I’m 48 and it only took me 42 years to get my first tat, but as I’ve aged, I feel like acknowledging the abuse I endured and the symbolism that went along with it: it was severely painful, but it turned into something beautiful in the end. Ironically, the abuse was painful too, so the process was VERY symbolic in more ways than one!

I do not mind tattoos, as they are a form of personal expression and I feel as though they are my personal artwork. I am still from the generation that they should be hidden, as a professional courtesy, but keep in mind: the only people that had tattoos when I was growing up were sailors and bikers and people in side-show attractions. That stigma is still ingrained in a management role and I work for the federal government in a customer service role. Don’t worry…if I want you to see my tattoos, I’ll be showing them off; I am not ashamed. My parents, on the other hand, are not exactly thrilled. I can respect that…my adult children have tattoos and my teenager is chomping at the bit to get one. My requirement to him is that he cannot get it until he’s, at least 18, but has to be “in love” with his tattoo design for a year AND it has to mean something. I also have a rule at my house about no face and neck tattoos, but I think my kids are disregarding what I say because I also have permanent eyeliner and microbladed brows. *SHRUGS*. Whatever. They know what I mean!

WARNING: tattoos can be painful (especially depending on what part of your body is being inked), which can be triggering. The healing can also be very painful, much like a burn. BUT, on the flip side, the rush of endorphins can also be very addicting, which can trigger dopamine production. Survivors either love or hate tattoos; there is usually no middle ground!

If you are thinking of honoring your survival, I highly recommend it! It’s VERY liberating! However, I will offer a caveat to that statement: please think it through thoroughly. You have totally own that statement of survival, because many people will be critical of it, for it will be in plain view for all to see. You have to think of it as a permanent fixture to your body, because it is. If you are still healing, I urge you to wait until you have been a survivor of at least two years. Because, should you choose to go back (and no judgement, I did it 4 times), your abuser/partner will surely “punish” you for those reminders of free-will. There’s A LOT of responsibility and ownership in wearing that badge. Just think about it for a while before declaring it in ink, is all I advise. I, personally, am addicted to ink…I may actually have an issue…maybe not…meanwhile, I am planning my upcoming design for my half-sleeve tattoo on my right arm…just saying…

If you are in love and delight with your survival, you will be passionate about it two years from now! It give you time to hone your design, meanwhile, not to mention save money for the endeavor (ink can be expensive), and find the perfect artist. Good artists cost more, but that tattoo will be with you a while. You want to love it one day one and every day to day 1,000,001!

Love and light!