I got a tattoo recently and it’s filled with all kinds of meaning that I thought I’d share with ya’ll. Here’s a close up shot of the new piece of artwork. It was done by a very talented artist @art_delamuerte.
In the photo, you’ll see a woman clutching onto a skeleton who is holding a bottle. They are framed by flowers and a box that encloses them. Simple.
The woman is me. I’ve had a tendency to hold onto my past. I’ve done it ever since I was a teenager – holding onto things that have hurt me, not wanting to let them go, but never full realizing them either.
I wanted a tattoo to represent the struggle I’ve faced my entire adult life. I came up with this concept after spotting a tattoo on Pinterest that left me shook. I stopped mid scroll and my jaw just dropped. This was it! I felt like this woman. There she was, naked clutching onto this dead thing. I WAS SHOOK!!! Once I saw it, I knew I needed to have a version created for myself that told my side of the story.
So I worked with an artist friend of mine and I expressed my reasoning behind the tattoo and what I wanted to accomplish. I am so freaking stoked with how this tattoo turned out. Im such a control freak and was super worried, but damn was I blown away.
The symbolism in this art for me
Some of you may look at this art and get something completely different out of it. But here is what it means for me…
Hiding Behind Someone Else. For me, one of my biggest demons I’ve faced is me hiding behind someone else. From the age of 15, I hid in relationships. It started with my high school sweetheart that turned into an abusive husband. After my divorce, I jumped from relationship to relationship, never really taking a break. If I took a break then I’d have to look at myself – not me behind another person. I was alway good at supporting others, never really myself.
Nudity. I’ve been ashamed of my own body and nudity in general for a very long time. Many people don’t know the sexual abuse I face, because I don’t really talk about it. But being naked, especially in front of anyone, wasn’t always easy for me. Now you gotta tell me to put some clothes on….but the journey to where I am now has been an arduous one.
Death. There has been a major death of self and death of things in my life that no longer serve me. There was a death of my old self, the girl who so naively stayed in an abusive relationship. Death to my alcoholism. Death to my second adolescence.
Alcohol. The bottle is a clear illustration of my drinking problem. It was important to include this in my tattoo, because the alcohol was the glue that held this very fucked up picture together for so long. Instead of dealing with it all, I poured alcohol on it. It seeped through all my broken parts and made me feel whole temporarily – until it took everything from me. It was actually just poison.
The XXs. They belong to the logo of a band I found while in my first year of recovery. Grandson is a band that spoke to me. They have lots of songs about addiction and struggling to live in this sometimes unfair world.
Looking away. I could’ve chosen to have these two characters looking at each other for their final embrace. But this is not a happy embrace. It’s very sad and difficult and neither can look each other in the face because this embrace should’ve happened long ago. It’s bittersweet.
The Flowers. I wanted the image to be surrounded by something beautiful. It’s how I view the world. It is beautiful. I just couldn’t see outside of my own box for so long. I was trapped.
The box. Well, the symbolism there is pretty clear. Sometimes we get trapped inside our own little box/world/situation and we can’t really see a way out of it. But one day we break through one of the walls or the lid gets taken off the box and it’s like a whole new world/life/adventure.
The last embrace is this vision of me giving all of these awful things a final hug before letting them go. I’ve spent the last year of my life really diving deep into myself, identifying my hurts and traumas and worked on fixing them and letting them go. They don’t serve me anymore and it’s time to say goodbye.
While the battle will likely rage on when it comes to some of the things I’ve faced in my life – I feel good knowing that I’ve overcome and let go of some of those damaging things that were holding me back from self-realization and embracing the person I am instead of feeling like she didn’t deserve much.
With that, farewell addiction, you no longer rule my life. Farewell abuse, you no longer rule my life. Farewell sexual abuse, you no longer rule my life. Farewell shame and unworthiness, you no longer rule my life.
I’ll leave you with this song by Grandson called Fallin’. The lyrics read “I Said it was the last time, last time.” I have said those words time and time again in my life….but this time I meant it. No more addiction, no more hiding, no more cruel men….this is the last embrace.
“I said it was the LAST TIME, last time”