Tattoosday 005: Still I Rise
Content warning: The following post contains references to self-harm (involving cutting), which may be triggering to some readers.
"Still I Rise," Robert Alberts
This tattoo was something that I knew I needed for a long time but I didn't know how I wanted it to look until it happened. During high school, I went through a lot of pain and suffering and the only way that I could get through it was cutting myself. Specifically my arm. I've always been extremely self-conscious of those scars and they've made me so cautious of my body. I got this tattoo to remind myself that even though there are tough times and that they may leave marks behind, you can still make something beautiful from it.
From the first time that I read Maya Angelou's poem, Still I Rise, I was captivated. That poem is still something that I go back to when I need to hear it the most. There is a line that stuck out to me and that was what I started with "And Still I Rise." I needed to remind myself that when it feels like I'm drowning--when my mental illness is getting the best of me; all I have to do is look at that quote and remember that I've always came back up for air.
I knew that I needed more. I needed more color and more design and something else to remind me that there are always beautiful things to look at in the world if you just focus on them enough. There was one night that my mania kept me up and I watched the sun rise. That's when I realized that I had a new chance to sleep; a new opportunity. That's when I understood that's what I needed to add into my tattoo. I went to my artist with admittedly, no real design. I could just explain what I was looking for. 3 weeks and 2-4 hour sessions later and I had the largest and most colorful piece of ink that I ever got.
There are days that this tattoo is my life raft and it helps me just maintain and there are other days that I thrive. I have gotten plenty of other tattoos for therapeutic purposes. This was the first tattoo that I really felt that some part of me was getting put back together. Every single line and color that was added to my arm was a gentle acknowledgement to pieces myself back together. This tattoo is a reminder from my past-self to my future-self, a reminder to love myself more.
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!