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coping through tattoos

"I've never loved my body," Carolina Gerlach, who works in the theater industry, told Mic. "That just seems like a foreign concept to me. My body has always felt like something I could never quite control. There was always a few more pounds to lose or an inch of skin I wished would go away."


Her decision to get a tattoo was partially because "I wanted my body to feel like my own," she said. "It was the first time I've ever felt a sense of control over how my body looked. It became a reminder of my strength and the journey I've been on with my body."

From my experiences, seeing your body as a piece of art makes it pretty impossible not to love yourself.

Perhaps this article will be a reminder to love the tattooed skin you're in, or maybe it'll inspire you to finally get some ink that celebrates your interests and your body. The way tattoos can do such things is one of the many reasons I love getting inked as much as I do. Sure, it may hurt — but that can be cathartic, too. And afterwards? You'll be left with a permanent reminder as to why your body and your soul deserve to be loved.
Even if you end up with a silly outline of a stick figure cat — like my own first tattoo — the meaning ink can hold for everyone is worth so much more than many other ways of decorating your body or skin. At least, that's what I have come to believe. Here are 11 reasons why tattoos are a recipe for self-love.

1. They Can Be A Way To Reclaim Your Skin
If you've ever had a negative association with part of your skin for any reason — self harm, for example — covering that skin with actual art can be one of the best ways to find love for your body again.

2. You Can Use Them To Remind Yourself Of Positivity
Need a body positive or self love reminder? How lucky that you have one tattooed on your skin so you can literally never forget.

3. They're A Way Of Making Yourself Into Art
From my experiences, seeing your body as a piece of art makes it pretty impossible not to love yourself.

4. You Can Assign Positivity To Specific Body Parts
You can force yourself into adoring a body part you previously hated by getting a tattoo on it. Hopefully you'll love the artwork so much that you'll love the body part, too.

5. They Can Offer Important Reminders
You're not likely to forget your self-love message or positive memories if they're inked on you forever, right?

6. They're A Phenomenal Way To Express Yourself
Let the world know who you are and what you're about with a tattoo that perfectly expresses a facet of your persona.

7. They'll Help You Remember The Good Stuff
Immortalize a good memory or feeling with a tattoo that commemorates it so you'll never forget a time when you did love yourself. Hopefully doing so will encourage you to remember why you're so rad in the first place.

8. They're A Way To Process Feelings
I got one of my less specific tattoos — a set of pastel roses — when I had finally gotten over a long-term ex boyfriend. I'd processed the memory and commemorated it; and even though the tattoo doesn't directly reflect that, I know that it does deep down.

9. You Can Make A Memory
Even if your tattoo is just for a bit of fun, the process of getting the ink can easily be a positive experience in and of itself. Whether you're acknowledging how impressive it is that you went through all that pain without crying or you're reflecting on an interesting conversation you had with your tattoo artist, making new memories can be just as important as remembering old ones when it comes to feeling love and respect for yourself.

10. You Can Assign Them Personal Meanings
To anyone else in the world, this is a stupid tattoo of a cat drawing. To me, it's the cat that my grandma used to draw on letters to me as a kid because I hated phone calls. It gives me a lot of love on a personal level, in a way that no one on the street could ever get without an explanation. It's a secret I can keep to myself.

11. They're A Way To Move On
You've just made a choice that is permanent — a decision that will likely be with you forever — and that's beautiful. Having the confidence to get inked and leave your old, unmarked skin behind is a reason to adore yourself.
Hopefully you have already found ways of loving yourself and being body positive. But if not, let these reasons serve as inspiration to adore any tattoos you have, any that you're planning to get, and the body that allows you to have them.

By Gina Tonic


Tattoos and Self Esteem

According to an article in Psychology Today by Kirby Farrell, Ph.D, humans have been tattooing their skin, filing their teeth, and festooning themselves with ornaments since prehistoric times: sometimes to stand out, sometimes to blend into a group. Farrell explains that while reasons behind getting them are varied, all tattoos modify self-esteem as well as the bodies they’re on. Like cosmetics, tattoos are prosthetic, and like an artificial limb, they make up for something felt to be missing or inadequate. We’re always devising ways to enhance parts of our bodies, from diets and wigs to cosmetic surgeries and more.

Tattoos often attract attention, which can also affect the wearer’s self esteem. We want to be original and interesting and not normal or ordinary. As a tattooed woman myself, every tattoo I have has a meaning to me. Even if that moment was 10 years ago, seeing the tattoo today brings back the feelings that the tattoo represents.

Tattoos and Empowerment

A recent study by Texas Tech University’s Jerome Koch, a sociology professor, found that college-aged women with multiple tattoos reported higher levels of self-esteem than anyone else in the study.

Each of my tattoos is a snapshot of a time in my life I need to remember, be it good or bad. The bad must be remembered so I can continue to learn and grow from it, and the good should always be remembered and commemorated. Tattoos are a personal self expression that we paint on our bodies not for the judgment of others, but for ourselves.

An article on YourTango eloquently stated “It’s empowering to turn something that pains you or that you feel is ugly (like a scar) into art, and even if you’re not someone with tattoos, they are indeed an art form. Some people use tattoos as a way of remembering a death; either of a relationship or a loved one, as tattoos can be a map of a person’s emotional life. They’re a coping mechanism — something that gives them strength.”

My tattoos are empowering to me. They are reminders, they are snapshots, they are a piece of who I am at every stage of my adult life. The outward symbol makes me feel empowered and happy, and since they are for me and not for anyone else, these are the only reasons I need.

Written By: Jyssica Scott

'Don't expect tattoos to solve self-esteem issues'

Getting a visible tattoo can have a negative impact on people's personal and professional lives.
"If you get a visible tattoo, it may have an impact on your relationships with others,"
"In some employment settings it may not be appropriate to get a tattoo that's particularly visible."
Having tattoos is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, which means employers can make their own decisions on whether to hire people with them or not.
But studies have shown that for most people, getting a tattoo is a positive experience -

as long as you don't expect it to solve your self-esteem issues.



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