Guest post written by Sara Swanson
Healing Your Past With Tattoo Art
Everyone talks about the looks and safety of tattoos, but have you ever sat back and wondered about the healing effects that this form of art has and why people are healing past with tattoos?
Like many other types of art, tattoos evoke a sense of appreciation and introspection to everyone who looks at them.
The reason behind the tattoos, shrouded in mystery, piques the curiosity of onlookers.
But what is it like actually wearing a tattoo?
Walking around with a tattoo has a profound impact on our psychological health. I usually write about tattoo designs at InkDoneRight.
However, today I want to talk to you about all the different effects a tattoo has on its wearer, along with all the ways it heals your heart.
1.The Stories Behind Tattoos
Perhaps the single greatest trait of a tattoo is their ability to cement our memories and values into a place everyone can see.
Every tattoo has a story behind it.
Something as simple as a dragonfly tattoo represents dreams and wisdom. Even the experience selecting the design, finding an artist and going under the needle, goes into the background of each tattoo.
Designs can represent hobbies, careers, passions, friendships, and family. The tattoo wearer displays these pieces of art as a physical way of expressing themselves.
Occasionally, you might see laughably terrible tattoos out in the wild. Before dismissing them as a horrible decision, remember that these people wear them for a reason.
Bets between friends are common, with the loser following through and getting the most terrible design their friend can think of.
In my opinion, showing off such a tasteless tattoo shows the integrity of a person!
Even when people somehow manage to get a tattoo while drunk, it provides an interesting story to tell to others, up until it’s removed. Perhaps it tells them that their drinking went too far, or maybe they wear it as a badge of pride.
2.Dealing With Trauma And Loss
Of course, stories and hobbies hardly encompass the uses of tattoos. As far as dealing with trauma and loss, tattoos provide an excellent outlet.
They memorialize your loss and pain.
While you might think that’s unhealthy, recognizing the sadness as part of our life helps highlight the happy times. You look at these tattoos and know that you’re in a better place now—you’ve conquered your sorrows.
On the other hand, some parts of trauma and loss can’t be patched up just by recognizing them. The death of a loved one brings absolute devastation, especially with a sudden loss. Tattoos provide a way to immortalize them.
By tattooing the birth date and death date, or their name, or their portrait, or any symbol that represents them-you allow them to live on.
Their presence in the form of a piece of art, constantly beside you, helps you to cope during a difficult time.
3.Reclaiming Your Body
In my opinion, scars show your path through life and represent beauty. However, this seems to be a minority opinion!
Scars remind us of dark times that we – hopefully – left behind.
They could be from an old injury, physical abuse, a mastectomy and even self-harm. People cover them with clothes, makeup, and…tattoos!
Believe it or not, many tattoo designs revolve around reclaiming your body.
In example, a semi-colon tattoo over self-harm wrist scars represent that your sentence is not over. You survived, and you continue on.
No matter what you receive your scars from, tattoo artists don’t judge.
They look at your skin as a canvas-no matter the color, shape or condition it might be in. Some artists even offer a discount for people who want to cover up scars.
Every artist feels honored when someone asks them to assist with such a heartfelt task.
Both black-and-white tattoos and colored tattoos cover up scars flawlessly. In fact, in a typical cover up, the scars beneath disappear entirely!
Unless your scars are raised a significant amount, it will look as if a wound never existed in the first place. And, in the event that your scars are raised, a good tattoo artist can incorporate that geometry into a tattoo design.
They work with different shapes all the time – a little bump can be turned into something amazing!
4.Religious and Mystical Importance
Setting aside your own history and the tales of others, tattoos retain an incredible spiritual importance.
Cultures around the world use tattoos for religious purposes,and, in all cultures where tattoos play a role, they bear a sacred meaning.
No Indian bride goes without a beautiful tattoo for the day of her wedding. Certain Polynesian tribes use tattoos to denote age, status, and ability to lead.
Some tattoos even grant their wearer strength and protection or confidence that they have such things. If that isn’t a form of psychological healing, I don’t know what is.
Since people have practiced the art of tattooing for longer than we have written history, we can only guess what their original purpose was from archaeological findings and the oldest Egyptian records.
Across the world, people of northern Europe were once famous for their blue tattoos. Each symbol had magical properties, and they covered themselves head to toe.
Egyptians, on the other hand, used tattoos as a way of honoring their gods and coping with the death of others.
On a quest of personal healing and religious growth, tattoos mark a checkpoint on that path.
It would be irresponsible of me if I didn’t note that lots of regrettable tattoos are out there.
People get tattoos of their boyfriends, favorite bands, favorite T.V. shows, and so on…only for them to fall out of love.
On top of that, a person’s taste changes over time.
What looked like a beautiful Japanese-style tattoo, now looks like a kitschy kid’s drawing. Wearing these regrettable tattoos feels like pulling a ball and chain for the rest of their life.
But, thankfully, we have many more options than people did fifty years ago.
Laser tattoo removal-which is the only form of non-surgical tattoo removal I recommend – easily removes small and medium-sized tattoos.
Large tattoos take more than one session and might leave residue behind, but hey, it frees you from that burden.
For tiny tattoos, a tiny bit of skin removal and some stitches leaves no scar behind.
However, I much prefer cover-up tattoos.
Turning something you hate into something you love is a liberating experience. The wonder of watching colors and patterns build something new and beautiful shows you that, no matter how you begin in life, you can rise above and conquer your past.
6.How Tattoos Move You Forward
In the end, tattoos serve as a message to yourself.
Even if you still feel emotionally drained when you get your tattoo, for each day you wear it, you move farther away from a dark place in your life.
Quotes, words and runes help you walk with confidence wherever you go.
A memorial tattoo helps you cope with a loss and keeps the memories of your loved one close. Tattoos do not erase our history – they help us work with it.
Time, patience and tattoos – all have a profound impact on our psychological health as we move forward in life while working with our past.
All photos are obtained by S.Swanson
Sara Swanson is a professional blogger who writes about all kinds of topics – but mainly tattoos! Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you can usually find her wandering the city wilds with her nose in a book. At InkDoneRight.com, you can catch all of her latest blog posts on tattoo design, care, history, and more.
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