I had a bone marrow transplant when I was 9 years old. The scar has faded a lot since I was a kid but it always bothered me. My grandfather passed away when I was 14 and I got an anchor to commemorate him and remind myself to stay down to earth and grounded.
For about two years I have worn my scars without a care of who saw, what they thought or what they said. I wore my scars with pride and embraced them, because their story was my story and because it was a part of me. I still have my story but now I have a beautiful piece of artwork that marks a new beginning and a second chance. A second chance and never looking back at what was, but rather focusing on what is and what will be.
This is only covering two scars from self-harm, but it means a lot to the rest of them… it represents that even when you feel deeper than rock bottom there is always the potential to start a new life once you reach out. I was going to get a full sleeve tattoo to cover everything, but I decided not to hide my story. I love the tattoo though because now when people ask what happened, whether it’s a customer, a stranger, classmate or date, I can just say “shit happened, but I grew from it” and 9 times out of 10, no further questions.
I struggled with self harm for 6 years and got my tattoo almost two years to the day after I stopped. The tattoo reminds me that your past doesn’t define you and that beauty can come out of pain.
I lost a bet in high school and let someone burn me with the metal end of a Bic lighter on my arm. It left a really noticeable scar so I started a half sleeve to cover it up.
This is just start of a sleeve, but it was the most important part. Since the age of 11 I’ve been through so much death, depression, and things an 11 year old really shouldn’t have to deal with. By the time I was 18, I turned to self harming. It’s my biggest regret in life. I decided to cover the scar this year, (I’m 27 now) because I feel like I can finally close that chapter on my life. I know it will always be there, but at least people won’t ask me about it. I choice a heart and the word Itsumo (forever) because Heart Conditions run in my family. And a strong heart and family got me through the dark days and will always get me through the dark days.
I got this to cover a few self harm scars, which are barely noticeable in the photo, but I got it to remind myself that I need t keep moving in a positive direction. It’s also a tribute to Monty Oum, who died last year, he was an amazing creator and visionary, and one I hope to live up to one day. I plan on getting several more tattoos, some to cover more scars, some just for their meaning, but this one holds a special place in my heart and always will.
The phrase “A time to Mourn A time to Dance” with a semicolon, on top of some of my scars on my wrist from when I used to self-harm in the midst of an eating disorder shortly after my lupus diagnosis in 2006, when I was 16 years old.
This is an anchor for my late grandfather who served in the Coast Guard, which covers a big ugly scar from an injury I got when I was 16.
I’ve been dealing with self harm for 5+ years now and when I saw this drawn up at the Vancouver Tattoo Convention, I knew I had to get it. My artist turned something sad into something beautiful for me.
This tattoo stands for so much. It’s for my grandma who passed away. She was so strong and I miss her everyday. I truly hope she smiles when she looks down on me. This is also for one of my favorite bands, Of Mice & Men. They got me through a rough point in time and I’m so thankful for them. I really hope I get to show them my tattoo at warped. Lastly this tattoo stands for recovery. This tattoo is covering up old self harm scars and it’s the final step in my recovery process. I am strong. And I love my tattoo.
My freshman year of college, I cheated on my boyfriend with whom I had been having arguments because he was in the navy and the distance was causing major issues. It broke his heart, and I hated myself for it so I cut myself on my left arm. Last year, I decided I was tired of looking at my scars, and since I will be graduating this year and then working in a school setting, I decided I would rather my students and their parents see a tasteful tattoo rather than three slits. The compass symbolizes having a sense of direction, the mandala represents the search for self-unity and completeness, and the Manipura Chakra symbol in the center reminds me that my self-esteem is important, that I must respect myself at all times, my confidence is key, and to be proactive rather than reactive. I got it done in brown ink to mimic a henna tattoo. I have no regrets.
I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was 21 and didn’t get diagnosed until I was at stage 4 with a slew of other complications that resulted in a three-week hospital stay. Well, I beat the cancer but had lots of scars, the one on my arm being the most visible for me. I started painting again about a week after being cleared of cancer and this was the first thing I painted. About two years later I was preparing to start my full arm sleeve and covering the scars from those months of anguish with something that brought me back to myself seemed like the perfect match.
I got this for my service as a medic and to cover up some nasty lighter burns.