As I was getting out of the shower I noticed my tattoo glaring back at me in the mirror. A few years after I had gotten my first and only tattoo I began to regret it terribly. Not only was it ugly and poorly done but it was a reminder of a dark time in my life. I’ve wanted to get rid of it for years but never found the time for tattoo removal with kids, work, and life in general.
But today was different. Today I looked at my tattoo as a reminder of how incredibly blessed I am. I grew from someone that made terrible decisions and quite honestly am lucky to have lived through it —to someone that I am proud of. Why should I erase that reminder of growth and forget where I have come from?
The very day I turned 18 my best friend and I packed into her car on a mission to get matching tattoos. We drove over an hour to go to the tattoo shop which was supposedly one of the very best in our state. We only scraped up a mere $60 a piece for our new tattoos but oh well! That should be enough. We didn’t even have the slightest idea what we were going to permanently put on our bodies and decided we would just figure it out on the way.
Well we decided on a flock of birds. Why? No reason just because it seemed like a good idea in the moment. The final product was what you would expect a $60 tattoo to look like. It was a few irregular shaped letter ‘m’s floating around our left shoulders. However the terrible design and meaninglessness wasn’t the worse part. The worst part was that it was a reminder of what a horrible person I was during that time in my life.
Some of the crazy stories I would tell people over and over are now completely shameful. The stories usually involved instances with heavy drinking or stories with a different guy. But the worst story was when my friend and I decided to take her boyfriend’s truck while highly intoxicated and she crashed into a ditch. Luckily, no one was hurt. When I told these stories years ago it seemed so edgy and cool. I later realized how completely stupid I was. Which is why I came to absolutely despise the crappy birds on my shoulder.
Yet, today was different. I looked at my tattoo under a different perspective. I am incredibly grateful that I am here today and in a great place in my life. I have come so far. My turn around point was the day I found out I was pregnant. I saw the dreaded two lines instead of one and I stepped outside to smoke to think about what I should do. I only inhaled a few times before I threw down the cigarette and started researching my options.
An abortion is what my boyfriend wanted. So I did my due diligence and researched how to get an abortion, what it would cost, and where to go to get it done. Something stopped me from getting an abortion. Even though I was completely unprepared to be a mother—I didn’t even have a job at the time, I still decided to keep my baby.
Well that baby is much older now and I shudder to think where my life would have gone if he didn’t give me something to live for. Maybe I would have still turned my life around and gotten where I am without him but who knows? Without him there was a more likely chance that I would have made more bad life decisions which may have included more tattoos or worse it could have cost me my own life.