How my tattoos became my body confidence armor

Every tattoo has a story. Mine are no different. I have six tattoos and each is different and unique, but they all serve as a piece of my story. My mom and sister’s signatures are purposely on my left side to be closer to my heart. Petunia is a replica of Pete’s tattoo on The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and she reminds me that I’ve always been unique and to embrace it. My sparrows represent my mother and I and also as a reminder to never be afraid to spread my wings. The tattoos I call my sister tattoos on my upper arms helped me to overcome a lot of personal insecurities. Here’s how.

I’ve always been self-conscious about my arms. Instead of focusing on how they’ve carried couches throughout apartment buildings and college campuses, assembled Christmas trees (which I learned is a lot harder than it looks), and by extension, are writing this very piece, I focused on how they could be more toned. I used to cover them up with cardigans anytime I wore a sleeveless dress or shirt. Nothing I did made me feel less insecure. Then, I started getting tattoos. I got my sparrows in September 2014 and Petunia a month later. I got my mom’s signature in February. Soon after, I decided to get another big tattoo.

It took no time at all for me to decide on Jane Lane. I know Daria is obviously the main character on her self-titled show, but Jane always resonated with me. She was the perfect mixture of sensitive and snarky. She’s the reason I bought my first pair of Doc Martins and tube of red lipstick. She was witty and independent and creative, and I still idolize her. I decided on her quote “Reality’s bizarre enough for me” because my life is predictably unpredictable. As amazing as Jane is, I still wasn’t confident enough to display her. I still didn’t feel completely comfortable wearing tank tops without some sort of sleeve camouflaging my arms. After I got my sister’s signature by left collar bone, I knew I needed another tattoo to match Jane to boost my confidence. That’s when I decided on Macie Lightfoot from the animated Nickelodeon series As Told By Ginger.

The idea for my Macie tattoo came to me randomly. I was feeling overly nostalgic one day, so I changed my cover photo to a scene from the show where Macie wears the seal costume she’s wearing in my tattoo with the quote “Do I look like a girl who’s concerned with what’s cool?” After two days of staring at my cover photo, I realized Macie was the missing ingredient. She wasn’t concerned with what anyone thought of her. To give you the context of this particular scene, Macie decides to perform a song from the fictional series The Little Seal Girl, but she and her friends are in middle school, so they think they’re going to get teased for performing it, and Macie doesn’t care. I remember that moment vividly and realized I would do the same thing. She was perfect, and I absolutely love her.

I love my sister tattoos. I got four compliments the first day I wore a sleeveless dress with both of them. They remind me to be bold. I’m not embarrassed to show my arms anymore. My arms have held my loved ones and flipped the pages of the novels of my idols. They’ve been animated with laughter and withered with tears. Most importantly, they are strong and serve as the anchor for everything I do, and my tattoos have helped me realize it.

Tattoo Credit to Ashley Thomas. Check out all of her great work on Instagram (@ashleythomastattoos).


My tattoo doesn’t have to mean anything

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