This is my dog, Barnaby Le French, and yes he is ridiculously cute but he's not what this post is about. This post is about my skin, the ink sunk deep into my pores, the permanence of my past.
I always loved my tattoos, they were a celebration of my individuality, they were my fight against all things beige, each one a testament to the truly crazy, fancy-free and impulsive life I led.
But then I got cancer.
And after surviving the very horrific ordeal of breast cancer treatment I woke up a very different person. It was as if I was so preoccupied with staying alive that this whole transformation of myself took place without me even knowing it. One minute that crazy rock n roll tattoo loving chick was there, then I had breast cancer treatment and she was gone. And now I feel like my arms don't paint the right picture of who I really am on the inside. I have become the very reason you should never judge a book by it's cover.
My ink tells another person's story who I don't even know or recognise.
In fact the me I am today, post cancer, doesn't really understand why I inflicted so much pain on myself. After having my tit cut off, having copious amounts of disgusting poison pumped into me, being zapped with radiation every day for months... choosing to have numerous needles plummet into your skin for hours on end out of choice just seems like madness to me.
After all the agony I went through to survive cancer, the me I am now cannot comprehend why I willingly volunteered to put my body through so much pain; through so many hours of needles drumming into flesh, damaging my skin for enjoyment.
My mum says I should have laser treatment to have my tattoos removed...but that's just as bad if not worse! The pain of laser tattoo removal is supposed to be even more painful than getting a tattoo, and after the chemo, radiation and surgery I refuse to torture my body anymore. My body has had enough torture and it is my duty now to worship it. I intend to feed it with goodness, to pamper it with organic potions and lotions, to avoid putting it through anymore stress.
I already have to get a giant horror movie sized needle in my belly every three months for the next five months to keep me slap bank in the middle of menopause...and more importantly to keep me alive. I don't really have a choice about that.
But I do have a choice about tattoos and lasers.
I'm sorry to my beautiful body that I've hurt you so much for all these years, and I promise from now on I will only love you and treat you with the upmost respect.
I make peace with what is because I just don't do regret, shame or guilt anymore. These are futile emotions the ego wants us to feel to keep us down...but I've wised up to him and don't fall for that crap anymore.
I have forgiven myself but I'm not yet at a place of complete acceptance that this is the skin I am now in for the rest of my days. The ego still whispers in my ear "You'll never find true love with arms like that." And I continue to ignore him, and one day I hope very much to prove him wrong.