"Second Guesses," Scott Hayden
I got into the tattoo game a little later in life than most people, shortly after my 30th birthday. I had always loved tattoos and wanted to get one but I grew up in an extremely religious household where things like that were frowned upon. My parents and family were supportive of me being the black sheep and would probably deny that I was a black sheep, but what else do you call the only kid in a Mormon family that was into punk and hardcore as a teenager? I kept up with going to church and went to my “youth group” when I had time.
When I was 19, I even served a 2-year mission in North and South Dakota. Shortly after I returned home I moved to Utah for college and graduated 3 years later with a degree in accounting. Nearly two years after graduating I got married in a Mormon temple for what I thought was “time and all eternity”. Life had been pretty good to me up until then. I don’t consider myself extremely privileged but I had it easy and without any major, life altering experiences.
I had a linear way of looking at my life and thus far I was continuing that path with no issue. High school, mission, college, marriage, etc. The next step was kids but my wife and I still considered ourselves young and didn’t want to rush into anything. Thank god for that because shit went sideways after a few years. Well, maybe it went sideways after the wedding but either way my marriage didn’t last much longer than 5 years.
A couple of years into the marriage she had said she didn’t want to be a part of the church anymore and so I was relegated to going by myself. That lasted until we moved to Austin a few months later at which time I also stopped going because I didn’t want to go by myself.
Being away from church for a 2-3 years really makes you second guess a lot of what you believe. I started to see things from a completely different perspective than what I had grown up with. I think this is why people use words like brainwash. I definitely wouldn’t use that term, but there is a sort of mental conditioning when you are around the same people virtually every day (being Mormon is an everyday thing, not just Sundays) and being taught a certain thing from a very young age. Being away from it just made me look at certain aspects of the belief system in a different way and certain parts about the church’s history in a different way.
When you voice things like this to your family that are still “active” in the church they immediately accuse you of reading anti-Mormon literature—which I didn’t. It’s just very hard for them to accept that there is a logical way to think differently.
So.....there I was, 32 with a failed marriage and a lost faith. For someone who not only thought he had it all figured it out, but who had previously had never gone through any real adversity in his life, this was a motherfucker of a time. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. I was now in Austin, alone with few friends in the city, and most of my family and friends out of state. Add in the fact that I felt abandoned by my parents who never even offered to come visit me to see how I was doing and I just felt alone for the first time really ever. Luckily, my best friend opened his doors to me in a rough time gave me some reprieve back home in Orange County for a month or so.
Once the divorce was final I decided to make this troubling time permanent on body. I have always loved skulls and since they represent death it seemed like a perfect analogy for what I felt. Death of a marriage. Death of my faith. Death of this idea of a linear life path that I thought was the only way of living. And what better way to put the nail in the coffin of this shitty time in my life than by putting a shit ton of daggers through the motherfucker. It was all to fitting put this one in what many people consider one of the more painful spots to get a tattoo—inside of the bicep.
It’s now been about 10 months and with the help of time, a loving girlfriend, friends, and family I am mostly through the shit parts of this situation. I still think some counseling is in order though, and am currently looking into it. I am glad to have a constant reminder of that time in my life though as it makes the good times that much sweeter.
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!