My Body and Tattoo Designs

by Nicole Serafin, Age 41, Tintenbar

By the time I was 30 I had 9 tattoo designs and a dozen piercings. I had always struggled with my body, a body that I never felt comfortable in; nor had I ever accepted the way that it was or the way that it felt.

Yes, I was a woman, but did I look or feel like a woman?

This I could not feel and so came the experimentation to create what I thought my body as a woman should be like. I constantly struggled with my looks, my weight – whether it be in excess or underweight – my personality; you name it, I was constantly in judgement of myself.

I began to colour & change my hairstyles, which was easy as I was working in a hairdressing salon from the age of 12 and had a mother who also supported me in doing this. Along with my hairstyles and colours I changed my style of dress, always experimenting… or so I thought I was experimenting.

However, now that I look back I realise that it was more a case of changing the way that I looked because I did not like what it was that I could see.

It was not me that I could see but a mere shadow of myself that I had created – and was continuing to create – in the hope that I would one day find one that I liked, or accepted. Of course, none of the looks or images that I created were going to fit because none of them were truly me.

After a few years of experimenting with hair & clothes I decided to take the plunge into the world of tattoo designs. My first tattoo was small in a place that was discreet, as they usually are. Then of course came the addiction. Soon after my first tattoo at the age of 17 came another tattoo idea, then another and another. Each tattoo design becoming a little larger and a little more obviously placed.

Even though I had fallen into the addiction of so called body art and piercing I still had the inner feeling that something was not quite right with it all, even though I was doing it. That little voice always said: ‘not too big, not too obvious’… thank goodness for that inner feeling, as things could have been a lot worse than what they truly were.

The tattoo designs allowed me to look at myself with what I thought was more acceptance, but the truth was I was not accepting myself at all. The tattoos were a distraction, a distraction from myself, as all I really saw when I looked into the mirror were the tattoos.

I had created a false sense of acceptance because I no longer had to look at me but the so called art that I had placed strategically over my body, so that no matter what angle I looked at myself I would see a tattoo first before I saw anything else. Quite cunning really when you think about it – I saw the tattoos before I saw my body, but never did I ever see me.

This I came to realise only after I began a series of treatments with Dr. Anne Malatt for laser tattoo removal.

After several sessions I began to look in the mirror and for the first time in as long as I could ever remember I could see me, my body – the body I had lived in all this time.

I no longer looked in the mirror and saw my tattoos first: yes, the tattoo designs were still there but they were no longer the dominant part of me. The imprint that they had left in and on my body by somebody else was no longer there, they were now just something that was there but not something that took over and stood out above everything else.

The tattoo designs may never completely leave my skin, but now I can see my body for the beauty that it is.

152 thoughts on “My Body and Tattoo Designs

  1. I agree that with a tattoo your drawn away from the person. It’s like the focus narrows in on the tattoos. A way of hiding in plain sight. I also felt that as I started to remove my tattoo that it stopped dominating the spotlight.

  2. In my observation of those with tattoos, it is rare to see anyone with a tattoo that is truly content within themselves, unless of course they are either in the process having it removed or have had it removed. It would seem that the drive to seek a tattoo comes more from the tension within than it does with the ugliness of what we see in our body or the desire to have a tattoo in the first place.

  3. We have had an extra hot summer here in UK which has meant we see a lot more people in shorts and tea-shirts.
    I have been genuinely surprised at how common it now is to have a big tattoo covering the whole of the arm or chest. We are also naturally beautiful lets embrace that truth and leave everything else behind.

  4. Great that you are sharing so honestly, I wonder how common this is with other people who have tattoos? ‘The tattoo designs allowed me to look at myself with what I thought was more acceptance, but the truth was I was not accepting myself at all. The tattoos were a distraction, a distraction from myself, as all I really saw when I looked into the mirror were the tattoos.’

  5. I love how you have described your tattoos as a distraction Nicole for they certainly can be for when I see the beautiful young people that are covered in tattoos I am always left with a feeling of what a shame, or what have you done to yourself and this can work as a distraction from truly connecting but I have worked on this for despite all appearances it is the eyes that hold the true beauty of each person I meet

  6. Your blog gives such a palpable sense of the imposition of tattoos and the effects that they have on the person who has them but also on other people who often find it hard to see past them.

  7. Thank you for sharing about your Tattoo addiction and the impact this had in your life. I can relate so much to what you share about tattoos being a distraction, for I know when I see someone sporting a tattoo I am attracted to this first rather than the beauty of the person in front of me.

  8. It’s crazy what we do, we live in the same body for a lifetime, yet we can feel uncomfortable in it and do everything to get out of it…

  9. The funny thing is that no matter how physically beautiful one is if there is no connection to the deep beauty that is our very essence there can never be a settlement, a true appreciation and a real love and acceptance of the body. There may instead either be a striving to improve upon and make it better as if it is not good enough as is and/or a disdainful disregard of it as if it doesn’t count.

    1. Absolutely Kathleen they are different sides of the same coin and both come from the pain of not accepting our own beauty.

      1. Yes Helen acceptance is the thing to work on and this needs us to take a few steps back and really comprehend the whole picture and where it is coming from and part of that is the fact that it is but a picture.

  10. A great sharing about your reflection on why you chose to have tattoos, ‘I saw the tattoos before I saw my body, but never did I ever see me.’ Lovely that you are now accepting and appreciating who you truly are as a woman.

  11. How beautiful that you can now see your body for the beauty that it is. Why do we cover up such natural beauty? Why are we not taught from an early age to value and appreciate the natural beauty that resides within us all?

  12. How would we as women answer the question: what does it feel like to be a woman in this world today? Would we respond with knowing that our connection to our essence, our sacredness, our delicateness, our inner-wisdom, is our true beauty and our true power? There was a time that I had felt these qualities but longed for a tangible way to live them. But with no way of seeing this was possible, instead gave up and gave in to being lead by the many pictures and ideals offered to us by society of what beauty is, of how to be accepted, or how to be to fit in, which only mask and hide who we truly are. Through The Way of The Livingness and the lived way of Serge Benhayon, I have been inspired to explore this sense and have discovered that there is a very tangible way to live the fullness of what is to be a woman in this world, through loving and appreciating the amazing woman I already am.

  13. The fact that most tattoo parlours now come with a tattoo remover shows just how dissatisfied many are with their tattoos, I very nearly got a tattoo and I can say looking back it was one of my most challenging times in life, it seems that if we are not appreciating the loveliness we already are then we look for external distraction away from the dissatisfaction we have with ourselves.

  14. Nicole you bring a great understanding to why people have tattoos, and I loved reading how through reconnecting to yourself you decided to undergo the process of having them removed.

  15. “The tattoos were a distraction, a distraction from myself, as all I really saw when I looked into the mirror were the tattoos.” Observing people there are more and more I see with tattoos, therefore more people are being distracted by the tattoos and the design. Are we missing the connection to our inner-beauty and working towards building this than to understand why is it that more a seemingly being distracted?

  16. I loved that you have expressed what you have Nicole as the young often do not realise or appreciate just how beautiful they are and to feel that one has to puncture one’s skin and fill it with ink to feel beautiful or to fit in is quite sad.

  17. My partner wanted to get a tattoo. I could feel that this challenged me a bit, I loved his body as it was and didn’t want to see an artwork covering it, some tattoos and the colour of them look harsh against skin- there was a beauty and purity without it and so seeing that this might be lost was a bit hard to accept but I needed to allow him the space to choose for himself, thankfully he decided not to go there.

  18. Thank you Nicole for the great insight you share here of how the tattoos were something that masked your body in a way or diverted your attention from your body, rather than being something that actually were a true expression of who you are…

  19. “but never did I ever see me.” Tattoos are increasingly used by many so there are many people who do not know who they are as the tattoos distract them away from connecting to their innate inner beauty.

  20. What is interesting about tattoos is that they seem to be more and more prevalent on both men and women. People appear to have a lot more than just one tattoo, like a whole arm and it feels as if it is a distraction, because your eye wanders as you connect with them, which then tries to hold you back from the true essence of who they are. Tattoo’s are seen as works of art, but are they really hiding the true masterpiece residing within?

  21. It is truly amazing that you came to a place where you were able to stop and look back to recognize that you had created a false sense of acceptance by seeing yourself second to the tattoos. This is an extraordinary awareness to come to and a stunning commitment to then unpick what you had chosen, to be able to reveal yourself as you are without the need for any art to define your true beauty. Gorgeous.

  22. We find many different ways to hide and it seems tattoos are becoming a much more common way to do this. I have always found it hard to physically look at tattoos particularly the bigger, darker ones and what I have now realised is that I have always felt a deep sense of pain around them; they are reflecting this back to me so that despite the fact that I have never felt to get one I am affected by the hiding energy and the holding back which I have been caught up in for lifetimes.

  23. Every person who has a tattoo has a different relationship with it but what is true universally is there is a deep desire to have a relationship with oneself that is not there yet. I knew that about myself when I got my tattoos, I so craved this relationship and I thought a tattoo would give it to me, only to discover it was a long detour that I took, as it could be very simple, just to first connect with my heart and allow love to deepen and deepen some more.

  24. I had 2 small tattoos on my back, so I couldn’t see them. I often forgot about them unless the subject came up in conversation and then I would proudly display them. Getting the attention that I was after. I have also had mine removed and I don’t regret it for a second. For I no longer need the attention that I was seeking then and I don’t need them for me to feel my own worth as a woman or a person.

  25. This is such a great sharing Nicole The things we will do to ourselves to fit in and feel good about ourselves . . . everything to avoid actually loving and accepting ourselves . . . “I saw the tattoos before I saw my body, but never did I ever see me.” . . says it all.

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