Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they may become white as wool. -Isaiah 1:18
Daily Mass Reading for 3/10/2020: The day of my tattoo removal
Loving the skin I’m in. I’ve gone through phases with this concept. Over the years I’ve come to embrace my milky complexion, my freckled cheeks, even the silvery stretch marks on my thighs but one thing I always loved was my tattoos.
Some have grown with me over time like the skull & roses on my shoulder blade. Some have changed meaning like the trinity knot on my hip. Some have stayed silly like the one on my ankle that I got to match my college BFF (who I still talk to every morning). Or sweet like my first daughter’s name across my ankle.
I got them all in my younger years & though I wouldn’t get another I still like them & appreciate the colorful road map of my life. There was one, however that was much less pretty & much less my choice. One that instead of making me smile made me miserable every time I saw it.
For 14 years an inch of skin reminded me of a past that left me branded. Yeah, kind of like what cattle get but not as neat or well-designed. No self-respecting rancher would use such chicken scratch.
I should have taken care of it ages ago but mistreatment like that drags a deep shame along with it. You don’t want to admit that you were treated like dirt & you’re embarrassed you put up with it as long as you did. As a young working mother there never seemed to be the right time or enough money to take care of something that only affected me.
Thankfully it was in a place no one would ever see except my loving husband. So although it represented so much pain & regret, I accepted it as part of me. I embraced this dark mark on my body just like I embraced the dark parts of my story. Just another scar.
Maybe part of me believed that I actually deserved it. No matter how far out of my mind I pushed it, there were days that I couldn’t see past it. The sadness & rage that flooded me would be too much to take. I had to tell myself it didn’t bother me so I could go on living with it.
The experiences that tattoo represented haunted me for years. Lord knows, I didn’t miss that life but it was hard to move on from the past. I would blame myself for not getting over it completely, hated myself for seeming so weak, but it only makes sense. This blemish allowed the abuse to continue in a way. Hurting my self-esteem, self-image & self-worth. Reaching through the years to remind me of how objectified, devalued & unloved I was.
This morning, I finally got it removed. I don’t deserve it. I never did. No one does. This huge step is just an outward reflection of the cleansing that has occurred in my heart, soul & life the past decade or so. A bright & powerful light restoring me to who I was made to be. Taking what sin & hate had disfigured & erasing it completely. Recovering it’s beauty. Making it new. Completely. Forever. It feels like a miracle.
I changed my whole life before fixing that inch of skin. That put-myself-last mentality is typical for me but I’m trying my best to change that. Though that ugly tat is finally gone, I’m not unblemished. I’ll never have perfect skin, the perfect past or a perfect body. But the marks that are left are happy scars. Of carrying children & laughing till I cry. Of writing through the night & long days in the sun. A hundred imperfect reasons to love the skin I’m in. Proof of a life well-lived. Evidence that I am truly loved.
If you or someone you know are in an abusive situation help is available. It is possible to move on, heal, and live a better life!