I am a heavily tattooed person. I am a tattooed person. I am a person.
As I’ve grown older, I have become more and more disconnected with my tattoos – I don’t wear them with confidence, I question them, and question what people think of me. Will they impact my career options? Will they impact my relationship choices?
The truth is, yes. But what I’ve had to learn, and be told along the way, that if people don’t select me for a job based on my tattoos, and not what I can do, then it wasn’t the right fit anyway. Those same rules apply to a relationship, if someone doesn’t want to be with me, based on my tattoos alone, it also, was not the right fit.
So, I’ve decided to take myself, and anyone reading this post, on a bit of a tattoo journey – the point of this is to help me reconnect with myself again, and tell my story in the way that it shows on my body, in no particular order (as I honestly have no idea of the order past the 1st one).
- I got my first tattoo when I was 16 years old, for my 16th birthday my parents asked if I wanted a tattoo or a tongue piercing (why?!) – I chose the tattoo, picked one I liked from the tattooists wall (a heart with black vines coming out of it) and got the stereotypical lower back “tramp stamp”. Does it mean anything? No, I was 16.
- Alien and map to Antar behind my left ear – my favourite TV show in the entire history of TV shows is Roswell. Max Evans, Liz Parker – the drama, the love, the out of this world intense passion. I’m a sucker for it.
- Purple dragonfly with purple ribbons on the back of my neck – I have Cystic Fibrosis, Pancreatitis and am recovered from Anorexia and Bulimia. This tattoo symbolises strength, hope and courage for all 3 of the above.
- Fairy sitting on a mushroom, looking down on my left shoulder blade – I got this tattoo a few days before my wedding. It symbolised me at the time, I knew I was making a mistake, but I felt powerless to do anything about it.
- Ryan Adams “Cold Roses” rose on my right shoulder blade – I fucking love Ryan Adams more than life itself.
- Outline of New Zealand next to the fairy on my shoulder – New Zealand is where I live, I love this place, it is beautiful and safe, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else (apart from Canada).
- Half sleeve, left arm, consists of Roses, family tartan, my animals names, butterflies, compass, music notes – I have this plan that I want ’65 roses’ tattooed on me (stands for Cystic Fibrosis), the sleeve is where I started with the roses, I have 10 so far. My grandpa is Scottish, so I got the McFarlane tartan as part of the sleeve. The butterflies represent my Dad, Mum and brother. The compass is a typical thing about direction and the music notes symbolise how much music impacts my life.
- Crystal anatomically correct heart on my left forearm – This design captured my attention as the crystals looked like stalactites, I love caving and feel at peace when in a cave.
- “The sun rises, but the sun also sets” lyrics on left forearm – I got this the day after my ex-husband moved out, as a reminder to myself.
- “XOXO G.” on my left wrist – Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance didn’t think I would get his signature tattooed on me, I did.
- Broken heart, left hand – I met someone who changed my life in 2012, then they moved to Canada.
- Planetary symbols on every finger – I love space, the universe, planets, stars etc..I’m actually getting these ones removed though and having them run down my spine instead.
- Number ‘3’ on my hand with 3 stars – I actually did this one with a compass and vivid when I was bored in school, later on in life I got a tattooist to redo it. I used to have severe OCD and my trigger was ‘3’. Also, Johnny Depp has this tattoo and we are soulmates.
- Dreamcatcher, right upper arm – This was a time of my life that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I had a dream and I wanted to follow it.
- Ruby Gloom, right upper arm – I went through a time where I loved Ruby Gloom, thought that entire cartoon was brilliant and stood for so much.
- Casey cat, right forearm – in 2011 my childhood cat, Casey, passed away. I got a tattoo of her as a kitten, I’d like to add to it with butterflies and forest scenes.
- Sagittarius symbol, right wrist – self-explanatory really, I’m a Saggi.
- “Super Gran” + Iris, right wrist – my Super Gran passed away in 2008, her favourite flower was Iris’, she was my best friend.
- Sparrow with initials JS, right wrist – another one for my Gran, she loved birds and always had them in the bird bath at her house, her name was Joyce Scott, hence the initials.
- “Quod me nutrit, me destruit” running up the right hand/wrist – I got this when I was riddled with eating disorders, it means “What nourishes me, destroys me” – I now like to think of it in relation to my pancreas, as the same rules apply, however, I am getting this removed (along with all of my wrist ones).
- Small heart & roses, lower chest – I got these to represent my ex-husband and myself, these are also being removed.
- “Delta F508 – Just breathe, salt baby”, under my left boob – Delta F508 is the most common CF mutation, people with CF were called ‘salt babies’ before Cystic Fibrosis became named, CF affects the lungs so makes it harder for people with it to breathe.
- Bow, Lock and Key, left ribs – I got this to symbolise maybe one day someone will come along with keys to fit my locks.
- “State of Love and Trust”, on the lower lower back – lyrics from my favourite Pearl Jam song.
- Russian babushka doll with flower mandala left thigh – My ex-husband was Russian, I adore the Russian culture so got the babushka doll. When he and I separated I got the flower mandala behind it to symbolise moving on.
- Maple leaf, left knee – I got this done when I went to Canada in 2013. I fell in love with Vancouver, Whistler, British Columbia and want to retire there.
- Realistic rose and butterfly on left leg – This is one of my favourites, my Gran drew this picture about 20 years ago for me, and I got an artist to rework it and tattoo it on me.
- Disney characters on back of left leg – I love Disneyland, have done since my first trip there when I was 14. I love Disney and everything about him, and the world he has created.
- Mickey and Minnie mouse sugar skulls on the back of both thighs – I got these done in 2014 when I was going to Disneyland for Halloween, wanted a day of the dead Disney theme.
- Naked dancing banana man on my left ankle – I got this with a bunch of other people, we don’t know why, but it’s a great talking point. Will one day cover it with a flower.
- Cupcake on my left foot – I love baking and cupcakes, I once ran a cupcake stall at a market.
- Girl on a tightrope with a crocodile underneath on my right thigh – This comes from my favourite Disneyland ride, the Haunted Mansion, it is one of the stretching portraits from the first part of the ride.
- Koala hugging a Kiwi on my right knee – one of my favourite people in the world is an Australian, who lives in Melbourne, we both got these matching tattoos a few years ago.
- Lace heart with geometrical shapes going down the front of my right leg – This symbolises a really difficult time in my life, where I fell in love with someone on drugs, who always loved the drug more than me (if at all). It was my way of closing the chapter in my life. (Sidenote, I have never done drugs).
- Nightmare before Christmas theme on the back of my right leg – I am a huge Tim Burton fan and a huge Nightmare before Christmas fan.
- 3 stick figure girls on my right foot – This is for me and my 2 best friends from school.
- “When the arrows fall like rain, we’ll survive and rise again” on my right forearm – I forgot about this one and just remembered to add it in, oops! It’s lyrics from my favourite band, The Darkness, I got this before I went to aussie to see them in 2015.
I think that is all of them, but to be honest, I can’t remember without standing naked in front of a mirror.
Over the years, I have gotten tattoos for various reasons, when I had eating disorders I started to get them so that people could focus on my tattoos instead of my body, my ex-husband encouraged me to get visable ones as he said I would never have to work as he made enough money, when I’ve fallen in and out of ‘love’ or versions of it, when I’ve lost people, when I’ve gained people and memories.
They are a story, they are my story and although I am getting some of them removed, it doesn’t mean I regret them, they just don’t serve me any more purpose in my evolution as a person.