Sitting in front of a basement TV watching the Blackhawks play, trying to figure out the sport of Hockey, I pushed up the sleeves on my ‘man’s ruin’ sweatshirt and heard, “oh my gosh you have so many tattoos and you’re such a small person!” Words I will always remember fondly because they made me laugh and I could feel that they were shouted out of love and curiosity, not harsh judgment. This was years ago and my collection has grown quite a bit. To this day, tattoos are one of my favorite things to discuss. I knew early in my adolescence that I would have tattoos. I thought it would just be one, I was wrong. It’s a slippery slope. What I didn’t know was that I would end up writing for the industry itself. I spent a year or so writing for a tattoo magazine about the various styles of tattooing and the renowned artists who create them. I also covered tattoo topics on a personal level with my blog, most of my articles can be found via googling ‘Mindless Peace tattoos’ there are a few others I still love that are worth scrolling for such as; Ink Runs Deep and Grace, Anchors and Arrows.
A shot of photographer @holystashofphotos from Ink Runs Deep
My general advice for people and tattoos is the same as it is for every decision-think it through. Even if you have thirty, think about number thirty-one. In this instance, I did practice what I preach, not with all my ink of course but most of it. Some things about my permanent choices though, remained in my blindspot. Like the way they would look with changes in my body. I didn’t consider the different affect the ink would have with more muscle underneath. I also stayed blind to the fact that there may come a day where I outgrow the ink I’m wearing, emotionally speaking. Which brings us to the present time in which I am contemplating tattoo removal. In the words of Michael Scott, “lists are good, lists are good, lists are good.” Order helps me straighten out the mass of tangled headphones that is my thoughts.
- My Life
- My Life
- Move On
Starting with the Bad: cons
If I do remove the tattoos it will hurt, more than getting them, definitely more because initially, the ones that are now up for elimination felt like a scratch more so than a burn. There will be pain because more than one session is required for the disappearing act to be successful.
It will cost much more than I paid for the both of them combined, hundreds of dollars more. Do I really want to spend triple digits on this?
3) My Life
It will hurt more, it will cost more and it will erase a piece of me. Even though the tattoos are irrelevant, do I really want them gone? Should I erase or embrace my own history?
Ending with the Good: pros
There is so much pain attached to these tattoos. The pain in my heart was the catalyst of me thinking I should finally do the deed and get rid of them. The pain was there before I got them, it was there while I was getting them and it has been there ever since I have worn them. The pain remains. I don’t know if it will fade once the tattoos do but I know it will stay as long as they do.
2) My Life
These days I think a lot about my future tiny humans. I pray for them and I plan for them. I want them to be a better version of me. I don’t want them making the mistakes I did. I don’t want them getting permanent ink while in a temporary emotional state of any kind, let alone the bizarre mix of excitement and anguish that comes with being in a toxic relationship. That is a mistake I do not want for anyone. The sorrow is in how I felt while planning to get them. How I felt like documenting good memories would somehow fix things. It did not. I was wrong. I don’t want to have to explain my foolishness to those that matter to me. Not my future husband and certainly not my future children. The option to avoid uncomfortable confrontations is one I plan to take.
3) Move On
The point that gives me the most peace. I go where the peace is, it is always the right choice. I did not have peace when I got these tattoos. I wanted it. I was begging for it. I thought getting them would bring it back to me because peaceful is what it used to be but it was not a boomerang and I was trying to build a castle out of sand. Move on. I write that and I can hear myself saying it to me in a soothing yet serious tone. I can picture it. I can see a sunny day and I can feel the support from my very own hand on my very own back, telling me what I need to hear. “Move on,” as if I want to yell it but I’m tired and my voice is strained from the carousal conversation of not letting go. The phrase gives me peace. I look down and see one of my other tattoos, telling me that maybe this is how I let go. It is not giving up. It is giving myself permission to move foreword.
Yes, the tattoos to be removed represent a significant point in my life but they are just a small portion of the mountain of evidence I posses from that time. Yes, I knew what I was getting into. I knew that the ink was likely to outlast the friendship. Yes, I know that the point of getting a tattoo in honor of somebody is to never remove it or cover it up, I may have even promised that because it sounds like something I would declare and although it breaks my heart to break a promise, my heart has already been broken for a long time. The bottom line is, if I choose tattoo removal, it is a decision I am making for me. They may represent someone else but the tattoos are not for them, they have always been for me. I own them just like I own all my other memories. Since it is my life and it is about me, removing the tattoos would be in favor of me, not against anyone. I love tattoos for their permanence but I am also a writer who believes in editing the story of my life mercilessly, until it is as perfect as prose can be.
Perhaps I’ll see one of the Mindless Peace readers on the street who has read my reasons and they may ask me if there are less mementos with me than there used to be. I may say “yes,” I may even explain why and say which ones no longer exist or I may be taken aback and ask, “what? That’s none of your business” and then awkwardly walk away. If this does happen and my response is the latter, I apologize, I love people but I’m so very odd and imperfect.