Pick up the pieces and turn the marks that remind you of pain into something that will make you believe in the rainbow after the rain again.
Scars can mean many different things. Some scars may have been the result of poor judgement while some carry the scars that remind them of why they’re still standing here today. Scars are supposed to be flaws but it’s not about what they look like. It’s how you got them. Some choose to carry their scars with pride while some take great lengths in order to get rid of them and erase any trace it left on their skin.
We all have different ways of coping with scars but the tattoo community embraces them by forming new, beautiful “scars” over them through tattoos. Not everyone wants to see these marks every day of their life. They don’t want to be reminded of the pain of the traumatic experiences that scarred them past their skin to their cores. So some turns these broken things into art.
The “what happened to that” conversation expands to something more than the wounds and the hell you’ve gone through. It turns into why you chose that design and how it changed you.
“When the tattoo's finally done, they don't have to worry about the world at large seeing what was once there,” Richmond, Virginia-based tattoo artist Amy Black told Mic. “That's the most beautiful part. They can finally live.”
The Semicolon Project is one of the most notable movements concerning mental health not only the tattoo community but the rest of social media have seen this year. Many of those who took part in this not only suffer from depression but have also contemplated suicide or have acted on harming themselves.
Those who struggled in self-harming before chose to place their semicolon tattoos in the very spots they used to think of as the ending point—one proper slash and that's it—to symbolise the continuation to the stories they could have ended.
Late this year, we introduced you to one special lady tattoo artist from Brazil whose tattoo shop doors are always open for any woman who's been through domestic violence. She offers free tattoos to cover up any scar of any size that will cover up the spots that remind the women of the abuse they once experienced.
We've also seen quite a number of breast cancer survivors this year who turned to mastectomy tattoos to reclaim the femininity they felt as if the cancer stole from them. Among them was comedian Nikki Black who beat breast cancer at 23 and got back on track with a pair of mastectomy tattoos a couple years after the surgery.
As if pregnancy isn't arduous enough, expecting mothers may encounter complications such as cases that require C-section. C-section delivery may not be as stressful and straining as giving birth the natural way but it's sure to leave a scar that's going to be another thing the mother has to worry about on top of stretch marks. But some mothers are embracing tattoos to restore their confidence and feel good about their bodies again.
This isn't a complete list but it only goes to show that tattoos aren't just petty decorations anybody can get on their bodies. They can also be used as tools to empower people or bring back things they've lost—filling in art in place of something that scarred them not only the surface.