Tattoosday 011: Over the Hill
Content warning: The following story references eating disorders and anxiety, which may be triggering for some readers.
"Over the Hill," Shannon Reed
What really urged me to get this tattoo, was hitting a point in my life where I felt I had successfully reached a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. It was in a way, a gift to myself– somewhat of an incentive and reminder that I had made it over the hill and that I could express my triumph through the beautiful words of Rupi Kaur. What stuck out to me was her ability to capture my life mantra in a way that I never could. Her poem resonated with me on so many levels, as I firmly believe that things happen for a reason and everything in life has a purpose – even if we don’t always understand why.
Having her poem permanently become a part of my body was a way for me to physically and consciously put effort into finding a healthy balance every day. Not many people may know this or have realized, but I have been living with a stress-induced eating disorder for many years now. It took a long time for me to realize and even admit that I wasn’t okay. I needed to seriously reevaluate the priorities of my day-to-day life because I couldn’t see past the stresses and responsibilities I had to take care of myself, everything else always came first and I thought that was normal.
This realization and the observation that many other people put themselves last in their own day-to-day responsibilities lead me to start a thesis called “The Starving Artist Project.” My experience and the experience of others pushed me to gather research and focus specifically on the college artist and how their eating habits affect their creativity, productivity, and overall health. I would not have been able to do this project without realizing that I wasn’t okay, and that maybe by speaking up and opening up the conversation I could possibly help someone else.
That project was and still is my reason. I have come a long way from when I first admitted I wasn’t healthy and when I got this tattoo I had thought I had gotten over the hill…but I soon realized that life is made of many hills and all we can do is keep climbing and know that tomorrow is a new day to try again. So instead of a lasting triumph, my tattoo has now served as a reminder that finding a balance, no matter how small, is the first step in recovery– and so is acknowledging the journey you have already been on.
Tattoosday is way to demonstrate the storytelling quality of tattoos as well as the healing quality of tattoos.
If you would like to share the stories behind your ink, send us a picture of a tattoo or tattoos that have a significant story tied to your survival in life. Then write at least 400 words (you can write as many as you'd like) about the tattoo, it's meaning, and what it means to you today.
These stories will all run on Tuesdays!
One per week! So you have plenty of time to submit them to us!
The caveat with TATTOOSDAY is that we will not be making you a free piece of art, instead, your ink IS the art we will share with the story—which makes the most sense. BUT we will send you some stickers for sharing your story with us!