Since getting two tattoos and two piercings, many people in my small town are asking one question:

Why?

And if not why, I'm mostly asked:

Did it hurt?

Being a former self-harmer, I've become a little dulled whenever it comes to pain. Although I still feel pain, and I'm still quite weak, self-harming completely changed the feeling and initial shock of pain for me.

Self-harm, according to Wikipedia, is "defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue, done without suicidal intentions". That being said, there are many ways to self-harm including cutting, scratching, burning, biting, hitting, etc.

Some people harm themselves in order to cope with life. Some harm themselves in order to feel something, other than numbness or heartbreak. Some harm themselves in order to lash out at themselves in a form of insecurity.

Tattoos and piercings are pretty normalized in society, but they can still be stereotyped as "crude", "scary", and even the occasional positive stereotype of "badass."

Body modifications, in my opinion, are a great way to relieve not only stress but can also replace self-harm entirely. With piercings, it's a second or two of pain and then it's gone. With tattoos, it's a constant pain, followed up with burning and flaking, as if you had cut yourself.

Take this for example. I used to self harm on my right thigh in order to keep it hidden, and because I thought that it would be less deadly (which I was wrong -- there are veins everywhere, I was just really stupid). In order to hide self harm scars from my past, I got a flower tattoo. The process was as if I was harming myself, and afterwards the sensation that most self harming individuals love, the burn, began.

Tattoos and piercings overall can not only eliminate the thoughts and actions of self harming, but can also create a beautiful picture!