My journey to my tattoo is a long one. When I was thirteen, I developed some sort of skin pigmentation on my chest. No one had any idea what it could be, and my family and I panicked. Scared and unsure what to do next, my mother took me to a dermatologist. On first glance, the dermatologist did not know what was the cause of the sudden pigmentation either. She requested a skin biopsy, which is a small procedure in which the doctors take a small piece of your skin for further testing. After the procedure, I had stitches, which then left me with a scar. The results were inconclusive on what exactly what it was, however, it was harmless. After a year, the pigmentation disappeared. The entire ordeal ended with me having nothing but a new ugly scar on my chest.
I hated seeing the scar.
It was visible on my chest still, as it is high up, somewhat close to my collarbone. I refused to wear certain shirts that I owned because you could see it. It changed the way I looked at my body, and I became even more judgmental of myself and scrutinized my body regularly. I was convinced that now my body was flawed forever. Through time I learned and realized that it wasn't true. I am human, and humans have scars and marks, and that is okay. Despite my now more accepting stance on my scar, I still did not like how it looked. I was not sure what I could do at first. I researched many different options to minimize the size of the scar, or perhaps I could cover it with makeup everyday. None of the options seemed right to me. Finally, when I was seventeen, I decided I would cover it with a tattoo.
Deciding what I wanted to get tattooed was, luckily, an easy decision for me. I would absentmindedly draw the same few things. They were all in a similar style to the element signs in "Avatar: The Last Airbender", which is a show I have always loved. However, because I was young when I began drawing them, I could not draw the somewhat intricate lines and I decided to make my own versions something similar to the symbol style. Eventually, they had created their own meanings to me, the four symbols meaning different emotions, and I would draw whichever one I was feeling that day. I chose to get the one that meant happy tattooed.
So, a few months after my eighteenth birthday, I got the symbol tattooed.
Ironically, when I first saw it completed, I was horrified and scared that now I had something even bigger on my body that was permanent. However, as it healed, I remembered why I wanted it in the first place. To remind myself that I should try my best to be happy within my own skin. While it is still something I struggle with, the visible reminder to love myself has changed me and my body image for the better.