About 8 years ago, I left a long term relationship. By this point my daughter was just turning 2. I wasn’t me anymore. I lost all my individuality and confidence. I had gained weight and hated myself. I didn’t feel like me anymore. I had two tattoos and no plans for anymore. But as time went on and the weight (which I thought was the only thing holding me back) came off, I realised that there was a lot more damage under the surface. Brewing deep inside me was a hatred for myself, I had no self worth and so many emotions. Panic attacks and anxiety was crippling me. Why is every single panic attack a surprise, and why is it that even though you know it’s a panic attack, every single time you’re convinced that this is the end and you’re going to die?
About 5 years ago, I had lost the weight as well as the stress of the Ex. Things started to get better. I actually left the house on my own everyday to take my daughter to school. I didn’t have panic attacks as much but there was still this feeling biting at me from the inside and I couldn’t shift it. I had tried and continue to try different therapies but none of them worked for me. I didn’t know what it was. I felt full of emotions and like they were going to dramatically spill out (which they did, a lot, and mostly aimed at my poor Mum. Sorry Mum.) But the next moment I would feel numb, like there was nothing inside me, that people were looking at me and seeing that I wasn’t any good for this world.
I don’t remember the tattoo that gave me the bug. I had already had 2 and the 2nd one was torture. Yet I went somewhere and had a tattoo, I was in that period of BPD where you’re deeply low (yet I was obviously putting on my front to the outside world) and that tattoo made me feel. In my head I had dramatised the pain and thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so it was challenging. I went for it and it didn’t excessively hurt as I had imagined, and as I could feel the needle jamming into my skin, I didn’t feel numb. I could feel it and I could handle it. When the tattoo was finished, I could breathe free. And that is where my addiction/self-harm began.
I say “self-harm” lightly. I don’t look at my tattoos and see self-harm but my therapist made me realise that, the euphoria and buzz I feel before, during and after a tattoo is a form of self-harm. You see, when I started to get tattooed it was because I didn’t feel like Kimmi. I didn’t feel at all. That feeling and buzz made me feel confident and although it didn’t last very long, it was enough to keep me going for a while. I’m guessing a bit like a serious drug addiction would be. I started off just getting little tattoos that I like and then eventually began my Disney princess sleeve. As the process of that sleeve began, and the more additions I had, I started to feel more confident in myself. It felt like the tattoos were masking the pain I felt inside and the struggle but at the same time, was telling a story on my skin. The buzz and ecstasy I felt after was the drug that I kept on and keep on wanting to this day. The planning began. I had the Disney sleeve that was a sign of the girl in me, the fun side and magical side. But there’s two sides to me. I have a darker side. The slightly “goth” side of me apparently and I’m not ashamed of that. I like to be different and I had lost that over the years. I was finally finding it again.
I’m a working progress these days. I have my side of fun, magical, family tributes and quotes. I’ve just completed my dark, coffin, music, witchcraft and skulls side. There’s two sides to my personality and I unashamedly wear that on my skin and I feel free. I don’t look at them as scars of self-harm, I look at them as battle wounds of mental survival. A pretty story of the woman that lost herself but found herself again, and now continues to battle everyday and win. I still have a long way to go until I’m covered how i want to be, but that just makes me believe that, if they make me feel this great now, how am I going to feel when I’m completed?
Do any of you have tattoos? Do they make you feel complete? Let’s talk about your tattoo experiences??
Kimmi’s Qualms Xx
All images are my own and not to be taken.