How getting inked has helped me from self-harming
I got my first tattoo on 1st January 2015. It was a simple semi-colon; representing my life. I’m an engineer by education and no code is complete with a ‘;’. For a writer, punctuation holds all the power. Also, I have major anxiety issues. I have nervous break-downs. I’ll be shopping at the mall and suddenly start trembling. The next thing I’ll know, I’m crying. There was a phase where this happened so often that it was tough for me to leave the house and I had to see a therapist. I wanted a tattoo to help get through this period of my life. But, I didn’t realize, this time the pain would help me create something better than just some possible scars. I was addicted.
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
But not all my tattoos are inspired by tough times. The second tattoo was my birthday gift to me. It’s a paw print of my German Shepherd. He’s my baby. I don’t need to say much, really.
My next tattoo reflects my obsession with lingerie but in a bold way. The two strips on my thing is a representation of a garter. But instead of a full-blown lacework, I decided to keep it minimalistic. Man, the tattoo took a total of 4 hours + 3 hours (patchwork). But, it was totally worth it! It felt like I was celebrating my body.
However, I didn’t realize it until the last couple of months ago that I have not self-harmed ever since. Yes, you read that right. I had a habit of causing pain to myself to get through a shitty phase of my life. That has been my way of staying strong – “If you can tolerate this minor physical pain, you can most definitely deal with the mental/emotional suffering you are going through.”
For the longest time, I couldn’t tell my mother the exact reason for my weird obsession to get inked (because I hadn’t realized it myself). But last November, I explained to her how getting tattooed was my way of perceiving my personal strength and helping with the growth. I’m really close to her and we’ve been through difficult times. She’s the most badass woman I know. And, I cannot imagine my life without her. So, my next tattoo was dedicated to her. It was her favorite flower (red lily) and a quote in her handwriting that reads – trust your struggle. For when she’s not with me, I can still feel the strength she gives me.
One of my most recent tattoos is the word ‘bustle’ in Hindi, representing my state of mind. I’ve been thinking about getting it for the longest time; probably over 2 years.
And, the last one is a contrasting tattoo with my brother. He is the closest person to my heart. He means the world to me. Our thought processes are poles apart but we respect it, and never judge each other for anything. While I got a wave tattoo, he got a mountain one; so different but still connected.
The actual process of getting tattooed helps me emotionally. I like the feeling. It hurts, but the sensation forces me to be really present at the moment and deal with whatever situation I am in. My tattoos don’t change me as a person or how I feel about my life. They are definitely not a clutch or a coping mechanism. But with great suffering, comes great growth.