Discovering tattoos at the age of 17… a time when being tattooed placed me in the minority but would soon become a major fashion trend…
Simply wanting a tattoo because I liked the look of them: why, I did not know, nor did I ever bother to stop and question this need at that time.
Over time, I have observed that tattoos have almost become a common ‘fashion accessory’ – a trend, something everyone ‘must have’. Today, they’ve gained wide-reaching acceptance with a broad spectrum of people now being tattooed: musicians, actors, sportspeople, mothers, fathers and grandparents all are succumbing to the latest fad.
And as they have become so prevalent and socially accepted, no longer are you asked why you have a tattoo but why you do not. Also, they’re bigger than ever now – not just a little star, a butterfly, a unicorn or bluebird anymore – they’re now large enough to cover almost an entire limb or the whole back.
The Addictive Nature of Tattoos
Once tattooed, I found there was a need for another, then another, each one bigger and bolder than the last, as if the tattoos themselves were an addiction. For they had become so for me, in the sense that once I had a taste for them, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from getting more.
Looking back I can see that this addiction to tattoos was very similar to other addictions I used to keep me numbed to feeling what really was going on, and from how I was truly feeling; things such as alcohol, marijuana, shopping or over-working.
What is it that makes tattoos so addictive?
I’m not the only one of course – many have taken tattoos to an extreme. But what is so appealing about tattoos that we do not question them and have allowed them to become so prevalent?
I know that I never stopped to consider why I would do that to my body, even when asked by my parents. Great question, but something I had no answer for at the time. It was only after I had made many other changes in my life that I began to ponder.
Was it possible that tattoos fooled me into believing that I accepted myself? Or did they allow me to focus on something else on my body – rather than on my body itself?
I used to think my tattoos beautified my body; that my body was not beautiful enough without something else. Clothes, shoes and accessories were one thing, but once they were gone, my body remained, raw, uncovered and exposed – a body not accepted, a body always needing ‘to be improved upon’, to fit the unrealistic picture the media constantly presents to us. I see now that I was using tattoos as a way to hide my body and myself, and as a form of protection.
I eventually realised this protection did not work
No matter how many tattoos I had, once the thrill and excitement of my new tattoo wore off, I was left with the same old feeling of worthlessness, a lack of respect for and acceptance of myself.
Attending workshops and presentations with Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, I began to discover that there was so much more to my tattoos and my life than I was allowing myself to feel. I was able to accept more and more of me as I am, and that I am so much more than my tattoos.
The need to hide behind something or someone was falling away. I realised it was ok for me to just be me, and that the only person that needed to accept me, was me.
It took a little more time to break down the ideals and beliefs I’d ‘picked up’ and held on to around not being enough; to realise that I am not the clothes I wear nor the hairstyle I have – to know that I am what is within – and it is that beauty within that is now able to shine, without the need for any form of fashion accessory or tattoo.
By making choices in my life that are supportive and loving, allowing me to feel who I am without the façade, I have been able to end my addiction to tattoos and see my body and myself for who I truly am, the amazing, delicate woman I have always been and shall continue to blossom to be.
The Next Step: Tattoo Removal
Now I am choosing to go through the procedure of having my tattoos removed in a loving, supportive process with Dr Anne Malatt.
Part of my development has been about reclaiming myself and living the naturally beautiful woman I am. The laser tattoo removal process is just another part of this development, along with other changes I made and am still making in my life.
Each removal session supports me to feel more of me. Now I am able to look at myself in the mirror and see and feel me and the body I am in – not the tattoos I chose to hide behind.
Through the presentations and support of Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon I have been able to look at all areas of my life, making loving choices that support me and my body. My journey from tattoos to tattoo removal, from addiction to self-acceptance is an extension of that life now lived. I accept and appreciate the body I have, no matter how it may look, and know that I could never become addicted to tattoos again.
By Nicole Serafin, Tintenbar, Australia
Is True Beauty Really In The Eye Of The Beholder?
The Man Beneath the Tattoos and Dreads
My Tattoo Removal & The Power of Stillness
At the time when I was playing with the idea of getting a tattoo 20 years ago, I could feel that I wanted to have (and be) something special that would raise people´s attention. Luckily I could never decide on an image I would have really liked but mainly I felt that I would not like to hurt my body. It was not with the understanding, self-love and self-care I know today, but there was a sense in me alive enough to let me choose wisely. Even when we are unaware of certain things and even make choices that harm us there is always the inner knowing of what is true and what is not. The question is how much we are willing to listen and sometimes we have to learn it the hard way and live with the consequences.
Why do people get there bodies disfigured by have tattoos. Do they have think that no body cares about them, or that they have no self worth in life.
Having met some lovley people with tattoos in all sort of place on their bodies, when asking why, no one has a true answer to why they have done it.
I am sure if God had wished us to disfigure our bodies, he would have made us differently, or the best one I have heard, if God wished us to smoke, he would have put a chimney on our heads.
There is no need for disfiguring ourselves, we are just as beautiful and gorgeous as the day we were born.
“I see now that I was using tattoos as a way to hide my body and myself, and as a form of protection”. – This point got me considering more deeply all the many ways we hide ourselves and out bodies from feeling inadequate in some way or another. through haircuts, hair colour, wearing clothes that are too big consistantly and dark colours, behind glasses that perhaps dominate our faces rather than compliment our features and the list goes on. It is really liberating when you reach a point within yourselves where you can see these patterns and instead choose something that supports.
The fact that the ‘glow’ of having a new tattoo wears off as you describe Nicole, and you are left with a feeling of unworthiness or lack of acceptance is a great reminder for me to feel into why I may be reaching for some food activity or relationship. Is it because I have a need that I am trying to fill, and if so when and where did I lose that connection to myself and my heart which is always full.
Whilst I have never had a tattoo, there have been so many things and people in my life that I have been attracted to. You make a great point Nicole as never once did I stop and ask myself why. This asking ourselves why is really important as now often when I stop to ask myself ‘Why I want to do x. y, z’ and more importantly how does it feel to do x. y, z – I often have an answer and clarity that is very different to the surface attraction and one that feels more authentic. That pause to ask why can often stop us in our tracks and prevent us going down a path that will be destructive.
‘Why I want to do x. y, z’ and more importantly how does it feel to do x. y, z’ Great questions Shevon which as you say can, if we are prepared to be honest, prevent us embarking on a self-destructive path.
You have beautifully presented here Nicole a perspective for those contemplating a tattoo to consider, and to have an open and honest look at why they feel their body needs this – “to realise that I am not the clothes I wear nor the hairstyle I have – to know that I am what is within – and it is that beauty within that is now able to shine, without the need for any form of fashion accessory or tattoo.” is gold!
Before it was presented to me that a tattoo carries the energetic quality of the life lived by the tattoo artist I hadn’t even thought about this. In fact, before attending Universal Medicine presentations I hadn’t even thought about the fact that our quality and way of living is in everything we then do. And yet as soon as it was presented to me, I remember thinking, “that is so true”, of course it has to be that way, it makes absolute sense”. What this then makes me question is what else am I not aware of? And then the big one – so how am I living that is stopping me feel these truths for myself?
I absolutely agree Vicky. I too was ignorant to the fact that everything is because of energy and it wasn’t until I was introduced to Universal Medicine that I began to understand this. It made absolute sense to me too. I love the questions Vicky presents here as they deepen my level of responsibility in that it comes down to me as to whether I feel truth or not by the choices I make in every single moment. Being present with myself in everything I do without perfection is key and this comment is a great reminder.
I never understood getting a tattoo, although I have chose to hide myself in many other ways. One day I was reflecting on how tattoos were sometimes used to identify people by the emergency services and I realised I would not be able to describe my husband of 14 years tattoos if needed. I remember when we first got together I would purposefully avoid looking at them as I found them quite repulsive, yet I have not found all tattoos repulsive to this degree. This made me ask why are some tattoos are more repulsive to me than others, I came up with a few different possible ideas, It may be my reaction to the actual picture/words that were tattooed or I could feel the reason they were chosen to be used by the client and this did not sit well with me and/or maybe the way the tattoo artist felt on the day they were drawing them was reflected in their work and maybe all the tattoo artists lifestyle choices could be felt through his tattooing…..hmmm
Thanks Toni, Great to read your exploration of a deeper understanding or tattoos for your personal experience. I have often looked at a tattoo and wondered how such a permanent statement can be made and imposed on oneself. So the actual picture seemed never to be that important. I have felt however that the really arty and colourful ones are more harming for some reason – like the pride of the tattooer and the wearer blocking or dulling the natural vibrance of the physical body.
Coming back to this blog and reading the comments after what I feel to be one of the last tattoo removal sessions, I can relate to almost every story in that why I chose to get one, what to get, where to put it etc. But what I considered this morning before the session was that the tattoo was not ever me, it was a mark, a covering on top of me. It was a physical mark of the covers I had emotionally already placed upon myself which, because these layers were already in place the choice to physically mark myself was not questioned, it was just another layer to put on. Looking back at it all today, all the sessions I had to remove it over these last two years I had times where I felt those emotional layers coming to the surface, but now all I am left with is what I started with – me.
When I was pondering on my tattoo recently and asking myself why I got it in the first place it was confronting to feel that at the time I was in so much self-loathing that I wanted to harm myself. My tattoo, which I am in the process of getting removed, is on my left breast. It was as if I wanted to mutilate my breast and to prove to myself that there was no value in connecting as a woman, given our breasts are our nurturing centres and an innate part of our body as a woman. This realisation, even though quite shocking, has been deeply healing and makes sense as to why my tattoo has taken so many treatments (much more then the average) to be removed.
This is a great question. I feel the de-sensitization in our society is huge. We find all manner of ways to numb ourselves from feeling what is actually happening in our bodies and we distract ourselves with endless activities not to feel what is happening to us on all but a superficial level. When are we going to realise that in order to have quality in our life well into old age and not become senile or demented we need to wake up and begin to become aware of what we are truly doing to ourselves? And where are those companies that are truly supporting us in healthy and vital life-style choices?
“No matter how many tattoos I had, once the thrill and excitement of my new tattoo wore off, I was left with the same old feeling of worthlessness, a lack of respect for and acceptance of myself”. It does not matter if it is tattoos, drugs, sport, food, sex or anything else, they all become addictions if we do not love and value ourselves. Nothing can satisfy that yearning for fulfilment other than the re-connection to our Soul. A connection that in fact is never not there, just that we have been deluded into believing we are not complete in ourselves.
Recently I saw advertising on the side of a bus with larger than life images. It was five women modelling underwear. One of these women (all aged late teens /early 20s) was heavily tattooed. I was taken aback, to me it appeared very odd to view such natural beauty heavily covered with the detail of tattoos. Some would say that it’s my age group and I’m just not used to it and this is true. However I’m also not desensitized to them either. To see tattoos as part of very graphic marketing tells me there are plenty of people that are desensitized and this makes them a great group to market to. So what does this say about the company and their integrity I wonder?
I recently travelled to America it was hot, humid, and bodies were barer than in my hometown in the UK. I was amazed at how extensive the tattooing was, as you say Nicole, no longer the individual bluebird, butterfly or scull and crossbone, these ink images were like garments themselves, the coverage felt aggressive, like a weed that has run rampant swallowing up its fleshy ground. The scale of today’s tattoos is a big statement and for me it shouts of the hardness, protection and numbing that humanity is turning to, for as you say beneath this shell there is a beauty, so pure & true that when connected to and lived, it pulls the curtain on the abusive nature that tattooing really is.
It has become so obvious over the last few years, since attending the amazing presentations of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, how so many of us have built some sort of wall, or walls, to hide behind, and as you have shared Nicole, yours was a wall of tattoos; for me it was mothering, getting sick or injured, hiding in a book, amongst others. And like you I finally found that: “The need to hide behind something or someone was falling away. I realised it was ok for me to just be me, and that the only person that needed to accept me, was me.”… and I am delighted that the me that I have re-discovered has no need for walls anymore.
Looking around and seeing that those who choose to use tattoos often have multiple no longer just one and I had never considered that it could be an additive behaviour just like any other. Your blog makes me realise there are perhaps many things we can consider in this way and it has certainly made me look to see if I have any, addictive behaviours that is!. Thank you
There are also cosmetic tattoos. People getting eye-liner permanently tattooed on their eyelids. etc. I guess for many this is a convenience of never having to take off and reapply make-up so you can just wake up with it on. This is similar to other bodily tattoos in the sense that they are both done to disguise and create a look, an identity.
I have been reading recently about eyebrow tattoos.. Like eye liner tattoos, it may sound like a good idea, but it is nevertheless still a tattoo, and I agree Jinya, its just another way to disguise or change the way you look, permanently, which must come down to a lack of self acceptance and love for ourselves just as we are, our natural selves. As for many being their natural selves does not appear to be enough.
Not being enough is a real disease that affects so many people. It’s hidden beneath layers of distraction and facades and rarely do we let this out of the bag. It’s a disease that keeps us in the protection mode and affects everything in our life. I know I’ve been there and to feel this way of living is a true blessing, and to deal with this unlocks great potential.
It does seem as though tattooing is on the increase, along with piercings and body morphing. The tattoos seem to becoming larger on both men and women, where some years back women only had a small rose or a butterfly and men would have a girls name on their arm. Soon those who do not have one will stand out, instead of the other way round.
Nicole I had not considered that tattoos could be about self-worth and poor body image too, so your blog has offered me deeper understanding of why people get so obsessed with them – a type of addiction. I personally have always found tattoos unattractive and am disturbed by how they distract from the person’s natural beauty. Thank you for sharing this powerful story.
My journey from tattoos to tattoo removal, from addiction to self-acceptance is an extension of that life now lived. I accept and appreciate the body I have, no matter how it may look, and know that I could never become addicted to tattoos again.
Thank you Nicole for such an honest sharing, I relate to your story as I too have a few tattoos that have been getting removed, each session has been such a healing as I have been able to feel the emotional hurts I was carrying when I decided to get them. For me I went out of my way to reject my own tenderness and gentle nature and used the tattoos to look and feel tough, like a real man.
I have now learned to appreciate and accept myself for the man that I am and it’s got nothing to do with the exterior but the love and wisdom within me.
I’ve never been into tattoos and would often wonder why friends would get them and then want more or to build around the one they had to cover a larger area. I’ve heard a couple of them say it’s addictive but I could never understand and thought it was crazy. Reading this blog it all starts to make sense. I used many things such as holidays or even adventure sport as my tattoo. I’d train hard for a race or save for a holiday and really look forward to it, then as soon as it was over I’d be planning the next one. Again it was all to avoid feeling the empty feeling I had due to feeling I wasn’t really living the life I knew I could live. So although I wasn’t addicted to tattoos I was equally addicted to other things. Until I discovered Universal Medicine and realised I didn’t need to fill the empiness with things outside myself and could instead fill it by developing my relationship with myself.
Yesterday I was driving in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne and was struck by a signage on a shop front. I was stopped in traffic outside a tattoo removal business. It was set up like a Medical Clinic and it struck me that how many more of these businesses we are likely to see in the future. What I felt and knew at 16 to 25 has evolved significantly and I can’t image wanting to be reminded of where my thoughts and life was then, every time I look at my self now. The removal of girlfriends and boyfriends names alone that have in haste, been ‘inked in the skin’, will keep businesses afloat. Watch this space!
I remember wanting a tattoo for ages very simple but the reason pretty full on… I felt only like a number in the world of millions and wanted a bar code to join in, until I saw one on someone one day, it was a great kick in pants and opened my eyes to what was happening around me
I feel the tattoos have become more intense and also the size and the amount. One tattoo is not enough anymore, I see whole arms, backs and legs covered. What are we covering up? There is so much beauty and love in all of us, why does this need a cover?
This is so true Mariette, I have noticed this trend too. This is also true of the amount of other distractions that we use, for example more computer games, hobbies, coffee, and more and more sugar. The pain of not being our true selves must be getting harder to bear if we, as a human race are needing to numb ourselves to it by increasing our distraction techniques.
Very true Mariette. We are beautiful as we are. Why do we need to cover up?
The extent that people are going to with tattoo’s is now at extreme levels. The most current form of tattoo I have seen has been people getting tattoo’s on their inner eye. The actual white section on the eye ball. The extent that people are willing to go to for further attention and that ‘wow’ factor is seeing people go to extreme measures. How much this effects the bodies natural way of ‘seeing’ and dealing with situations is alarming. The poison that is being injected in, the stain that it is leaving and the energetic mark that will be forever there unless healed is dangerous.
Nicole, thank you for sharing and insight into tattoos. It interesting how they become addictive like many other things we can do to numb our selves when we aren’t comfortable with how we feel. Food, diets, clothes hair, make up, tattoos … it can be a very long list of tools we use for avoiding the natural beauty that comes from with in. Some of these things can actually be fun and a loving celebration to express our natural beauty when we claim this for ourselves and not let an addiction cover us up.
Tattoos are a mark on the body. I thought i wanted a tattoo once but I never had the energy to go through with it. It always felt just not right when I was seeing friends get them. Now that I am more committed to loving myself and my body I can see how my natural body is so beautiful and I would never want to reduce and make a permanent mark on it with a tattoo.
Hi Nicole, I love how you write with such honesty and openness about your experiences so that others get to learn from your real lived wisdom. I never got a tattoo because i didn’t trust that anyone could draw like i wanted them too! Someone elses art on me felt like an imposition. And the permanency always put me off. But what you have revealed here is the underlying emotional factors that are involved with tattooing. This takes it to a whole new depth. Such an important reflection to have in the world.
Accepting ourself for who we are beautiful, Devine ,precious and sensitive is far from how most of us live today and hence the existence and need for identification by tattoos and the growing trends. Thank you for this honest and reflective sharing of your life Nicole and all it is offering. Lack of self worth and self love is the main obstacle in our lives to heal and claim ourselves for we are with no tattoos ever needed and the true harming and opening they cause us all can be exposed for what it is and eliminated .
Knowing that tattoos are addictive, the key is the first one. What do we expect it to do for us? What do we miss as person that needs a tattoo to feel complete? What is the tattoo being called to cover? These are important questions to raise awareness of possible candidates. The other points regarding how it feels once we have tattooed are equally important since they may not be as cool as we expected them to be.
The tattoos that you see these days look and feel much more sinister than the ones you used to get of anchors on sailor’s arms. Just like drug use becoming more extreme, the role that tattoos play have mirrored the extremities that people are needing / willing to go to, to add to or numb their experience of life.
A great observation Jinya. The more we collectively return back to the truth we are from, the greater the resistance required to counter it. The tattoos get more elaborate, the drugs get harder…the paint is applied in layers thick to mask the beauty of what always lies within, regardless of our choice to make it otherwise. We can numb ourselves to feeling truth but we can never eradicate its existence in our every pore.
I have never been drawn to have a tattoo, so reading your blog has been incredibly insightful. I now understand that a tattoo can be as addictive as food, alcohol, drugs and that asking yourself, ‘why would you get one in the first place?’ is a great question. But one a lot of people may not be able to answer if they are not connecting with themselves to understand the deeper need for getting it in the first place. It sounds great, what you shared around what you are feeling from the tattoo removal process. “Now I am able to look at myself in the mirror and see and feel me and the body I am in – not the tattoos I chose to hide behind.” That feels pretty amazing.
beautiful raw piece. I myself have no tattoo’s, and I have decided to not get one , never. I can feel this hype sensation around me almost everywhere I go. I am actually shocked how this sensation and need for a tattoo is increasing. Therefore I like your analogy and your alertness on asking the question : Why do we have a need to get a tattoo? We can still ask this question. Because this question is actually so in place and so normal to ask. As why would you? Why would you paint your skin permantly with black or color inked? Where is the love we have for our body?
Like with coffee I’ve never had any inklings towards having a tattoo. I’m sure the thought has crossed my mind once or twice but I felt that my skin was too precious to be painted on.
It is fascinating to me how we can become addicted to things that are so clearly self abusive. The only explanation can be that we feel ourselves to be of such low value that we don’t even realise it is abuse. The phrase ‘needing to be improved upon’ stood out for me in this blog and could be applied to many other things other than tattoos. When we don’t accept ourselves, we can actually believe that behaviours that harm the body are actually good for us or an improvement!
Tattooing as an addiction, this is revelatory Nicole. Thank you for your deeply honest sharing giving another the opportunity to feel that this may be the case for themselves. It may be the accepted “norm” but it is in no way normal. Self harm to self is never and should never be considered normal. Think of tattooing a baby and see what reaction that gets, not ok?
I like that Caroline. It is so true, we would by definition not tattoo a baby, this thought would not even come to our minds. As we find a baby , pure & natural.. Why do we not see ourselves in that way? Are we not pure & natural in our way, even if we are a little older?
Great question Danna – when we do things as adults and wonder if it’s a good thing or not it’s always helpful to think – would I do this to a baby. Now we know this is not applicable in all instances but it shows us whether we are as loving and tender with ourselves as we would be with a little toddler.
I saw a photo of a dog that had been given a very large tattoo on its belly. I felt saddened by the extent that human beings can go to, all in the name of recognition and to hide their power and real inner beauty.
What we are addicted to is identification, we literally can’t get enough of the stuff. We’ll snaffle any little titbit up, which is why so many people are addicted to getting tattoos because it’s like any habit that we feed, the fix gives us a very temporary reprieve from the cravings and then we’re back out on the street looking for our next fix.
I have never understood the appeal of tattoo’s, but from reading this, now understand that they are just another means to suppress and not deal with our lack of self-worth and acceptance. We all use different substances and activities in different ways when we do not accept ourselves for who we are or the body that we are in, tattoos are presently just easily available and socially acceptable. As you share, it is about getting to the reason for wanting or needing tattoos, alcohol, drugs, excessive exercise, sugary foods, acknowledgement from others, etc, etc – to ponder on what we choose to avoid dealing with our lack of self acceptance.
I find it is important not to hold any judgement of someone choosing to have a tattoo yet at the same time also feel the importance of accepting how ugly I find the energy of the tattoos I see. When I recently saw a sleeve on someone’s arm it didn’t seem to fit with the quality of gentleness I also naturally saw in that person.
Anyone who has ever considered getting a tattoo should watch the process of removal to understand at least in part the full consequences of such actions. What saddens me is that rather than see our body as the natural temple it is, we are becoming obsessed with creating a temple that still en-houses us, but in truth is no longer ours. We are instead a walking billboard for another’s expression.
This is interesting Adam Warburton the way you put this. So often people get tattoos thinking it is a form of self expression but actually in a way it is like being a canvas for another person’s painting. Yes we might get to choose the type of tattoo we want or even get to design it ourselves but it is still someone else’s energetic imprint that is being placed on our body and all that comes with that imprint which may not have fully considered or bargained on.
This is a really great point Andrew and something anyone who is contemplating getting a tattoo should first consider.
Me too Susan, I also feel it is known and felt but we chose to not feel it. Because it has become so normal, we can hide behind that, the fact that it is so normal and everybody does it. Same with alcohol or drugs. But because something is normal, this does not mean there is a deeper truth to look at, which is that tattoos show there is a lack of self worth and self love.
For me in hindsight taking a tattoo was giving my power away. I was not thinking for myself, but wanting to matter and to belong. Now I sit with the consequence of that choice on my back. Haven’t found the right tattoo removal place yet.
A tattoo is just another thing like alcohol or drugs. It is sought to numb what is being felt. From my experience, many more men have tattoos because they are much more invested in numbing their feelings than women, for whom it is more socially acceptable to have any feelings at all.
Hi Jinya what I have come to realise is there are those that get a tattoo because it is the latest trend or groovy thing to do and there are those, like myself, that are into harming themselves to try and numb the self-loathing and total angst about life and the choices we have made. The latter is far more serious and the tattoo seems to take a lot longer to remove
Hi Nicole, I have found from reading your blog again and the awesome comments that followed that I have a greater awareness of the deep hurts that people generally are carrying, albeit often unknown or unrecognized by themselves. Not long ago I could easily be shocked at what I was seeing – but now I can often feel the pain and the deep hurt that lies behind many of these displays of disharmony within – maybe I’m developing a little more compassion, or maybe it is just simply a deeper awareness of what may lie at the base of a women’s decision to prepare her clear and lovely skin with dark blue ink to accompany her femininity and pretty dresses.
It is wonderfully refreshing I feel, to have this subject so openly and honestly expressed in this manner perchance offering young people an opportunity to see that there may be another way of expressing themselves.
Having always been disconneted from my body, I have always had huge body issues, It is life changing when we can accept and appreciate the body we have. Sounds so simple, but it is pure gold and the road to true transformation. Thank you Nicole for this super informative article on your journey with tattoos and tattoo removal.
If Tattoo’s are used to hide behind how many other things do we use to hide? From behaviours to create a persona that isn’t us like an actor on stage, to clothes and make up even false tan’s are possibly a hiding. Its a really interesting subject to ponder on how much do we hide and why is our self worth so low that we need to create something which isn’t us in the first place?
For me, getting a tattoo was very much about creating an identity. I had lost touch with the truth of who I am. Nothing in our world is a vacuum and that emptiness had to be filled with stuff I pulled in from all directions. Once I started to connect to my truth, I could feel that the tattoo did not corresponded to the quality of that truth. I felt a stronger sense of me rather than the emptiness and therefore it was no longer required.
Being someone who never had a tattoo and is kind of freaked out by them, I have had a difficult time understanding why people put themselves through so much pain to mark there bodies in a permanent way and do it to such an extent that is now commonplace almost everywhere on the planet. But I have to say Nicole, what you have described about the relationship with accepting one’s body and hiding it with tattoos when that self-love and acceptance is lacking makes so much sense and is really enlightening for me. I can see now how it turns into an addiction because there is a void there that can never be filled with the temporary ‘hit’ of the tattoo. This understanding can really be a beginning of true healing for other people with similar tattoo addictions if and when people are willing to look deeper into why they have chosen that for themselves.
I love how this blog exposes how getting tattoos can be addictive in the sense of giving a false sense of acceptance of our body. When we are caught in illusions such as this, it then becomes very tricky to break compulsive and self-destructive behaviour patterns.
Here in the UK our Blood banks have now taken the decision to no longer take blood from any person who has tattoos.
The percentage of people giving blood to the transfusion service has dropped by 40%, and could result in the UK importing blood from other countries. Not sure how good the process of importing blood would be, and how they treat and check for any irregularities in their supply.
If people realised before they get tattoos, that one day they may need blood for what ever reason, that they think twice about ruining their bodies.
That’s really a huge percentage of people that have tattoos and very discomforting to hear what an impact it has.
Wow I didn’t know that – given the increasing number of people being tattooed we are looking at a very serious consequence here. This should make everyone contemplating getting a tattoo stop and question – what about getting a tattoo makes my blood no longer acceptable to modern medicine and what does that mean in my own body?
Wow, that’s quite a consequence to a whole community… but when you think about it, a thoughtful and careful one from the perspective of public health and safety. This shows how our choices don’t just impact ourselves, but affect everybody…
I just discovered how expensive tattoos can be and it made me wonder what are we investing in when we get a tattoo. I feel your blog Nicole gives us an insight into this question and possibly further food for thought.
I saw a girl today with tattoos all over her body, and, it was like a cloak of armour had been placed around her beautiful self. It was so hard to see her, the pictures were distracting and imposing and the lovely person that she is was well and truly hidden from view.
Great point that Bina makes about the apple watches not working well on tattooed skin because of the lack of light. And the questions that follow as to how, if the tattoo is depriving us of light, it could be harmful and creating disharmony within.
On a State health site I looked at recently there was a list of side-effects that are possible with tattoos – infections and scarring were two good reasons not to have a tattoo. If there is no consideration for the risks, it backs up your words Nicole, that a lack of self worth can be the reason many people have tattoos. For me, it seems a way to hide behind a heavily tattooed body, and requires focus to see the beautiful soul underneath not only these tattoos, but also underneath other (extreme) body modifications.
A friend of mine has just posted pictures of herself with new tattoo’s; she got her fist ones a few years ago and now there are many more adorning her body. I was pretty shocked when I saw the photo as it confused me, but having read this article and how it is addictive and covering up other deep rooted feelings of self loathing, it makes perfect sense.
I have often heard people with tattoos say it becomes an addiction which shows that there is more going on than just body art. There is a real consciousness behind it which is running rampant like a plague which is infecting so many people, young and old from all walks of life. Is it a trend that people are going to live to regret?
Interesting to think about – When we have a tattoo, or many, there is a focus on the surface and not actually on the quality inside the body. So if we focus more on the outside it could be a great distraction from feeling how we are on the inside.
This is so true Matts, and this is the case with our outer appearance in general….not just tattoos.
Great point Matts – that, when focus on the outside becomes more important than the inner quality, no matter in which way , the distraction from truly feeling within becomes so easy…
Reading about this topic and reading the comments has given me a totally new understanding of why people get tattoos in the first place. I always had this idea that people got them to get noticed or that they were expressing themselves through art but I can now see that there is so much more going on. I never gave it much thought that people could hide behind their tattoos or that they can become addictive.
It makes sense that having a lot of tattoos could scare people and keep others away, as a form of protection but deep down they are just the same as everyone else, it’s just that they use their skin as an added layer to feel safe.
This has been great to read Nicole. At one time in my life I had thought about getting a tattoo and back then they weren’t so fashionable unless you rode a harley and wore a leather jacket. But the one thing that always put me off was the thought of “how will this look when I’m old and my skin wrinkly”. Not an appealing thought and one that stopped me from getting that tattoo anytime it came to mind.
I believe that 1in five people have tattoos, and for most they are a case for a celebration, but for others an unpleasant reminder of their youthful mistakes.
Although there is good in all people, tattoos can give the wrong impression, that those who have them are all hooligans, and can be intimidating and frightening form of art.
I remember when I smoked, I was asked why I did it, and I did not have an answer. I was then told that if God has wished me to smoke, he would have put a chimney on my head. We all do mad and impetuous things in our youth, and later in life totally regret it.
Perhaps I needed to get a tattoo to truly understand how energies affects us. Since having mine removed, I have found that I am less prone to moods and temperamental behaviour.
Beautiful sharing Nicole. I can relate to what you say about “…no longer are you asked why you have a tattoo but why you do not.” I was often asked why I did not like tatoos and why I could not see the “beauty” or the “art” of it, as if that was a really weird thing.
I’ve never been interested in getting a tattoo and I’ve never understood the attraction that people have to tattoos. Thank you Nicole for sharing your blog and making me aware of the reason why people get them and continue to get them.
I can understand why people get tattoos, it’s no different to why people have powerful motorbikes, unusual pets, blue hair, expensive handbags, good looking partners, talented kids, dangerous hobbies, unusual laughs etc it’s because we have all lost sight of who we all are and so we’re all desperately trying to fill in the blanks.
I am always surprised when people tell me that they mark important events such as major birthdays or anniversaries with a tattoo, then it is significantly marked on their bodies forever. This would suggest that the feelings or emotions are not dealt with that are associated with these events.
When I got my tattoo at 18 I really thought I was doing it because it was this great expression, this great statement of who I was. That no one was like me and that the world could never stop me from being me.
What I realise now that if that were true for me then – I would never have needed to get a tattoo. The reason I was getting a tattoo was because I had let the world tell me who I had to be and I was living a lie – not the real me. I got the tattoo as a reaction to the world that was forcing me to live a different way.
Getting it removed was such a great process to reclaim who I actually am as I have reclaimed living who I actually am – and am no longer influenced by the pressures the world puts on us to be something else.
Huge Life Learning.
Awesome realisation Simon.
When I got tattoos there was a lot of non acceptance of myself. I couldn’t accept myself just the way I am, where I have chosen to be born in, how I have chosen my life to be and I could not accept how the world is. Nothing was good enough, and every day was a reaction. There was deep restlessness and I needed more. The tattoos came as an expression of this.
Being more comfortable now in my body with acceptance, presence and commiting back to life, knowing and feeling how precious I am, the need for the world to understand lessens greatly.
When there is no understanding or acceptance reflected from the outside, in connecting with ourselves it is a great opportunity to live the understanding and acceptance towards ourselves in a way even deeper than before.
Feeling we are enough, it becomes unnecessary to use tattoos or other invasive ways to show the world, as just by breathing, we are already living ourselves.
Isn’t fascinating how society is accepting more extremes. Many may not see tattoos from head to toe an extreme, but even 50 years ago, the thought would barely cross the mind of anyone. ‘Normal’, it seems, continues to head in the wrong direction and this is an insight into just one aspect.
I agree with you Oliver, what was considered normal 50 years ago would have been a tattoo on a mans arm of his wife or his mother’s name, but now everything and anything can be drawn onto the skin. Another new trend which I find disturbing to look at and wonder how people can put themselves through what must be so painful, is the implants under the skin along with tattooing which has started to get more popular.
Thanks for beautifully sharing your relationship with tattoos Nicole, I am always quite bewildered when I see a beautiful woman walking down the street , with a whole sleeve, neck or back covered in tattoos and wonder why someone would go to all that extreme to deface with art a work of art – the body. I witnessed an old best friend school mate get addicted to tattoos in our mid twenties, he now looks like a member of the yakuza, whole torso from collarbone to cuffs.
I wonder how many people will regret their tattoos, only time will tell as it is just another a choice of free will in life.
Thank you for such an open and honest sharing with such clarity, Nicole. I love what you share above here, that ‘I finally had to feel all that I had spent my life avoiding, and more.’ when it came to having your tattoos removed. The lengths we will go to to avoid feeling! And the courage and determination we feel, or certainly I have felt, when finally choosing that enough is enough and burying what is there to be felt is no longer an option. Beautiful.
Thanks Nicole for this blog about Tattoos. I never had them but i am shocked how they appear on bodies lately.
A very sad picture to look at. Like you discovered when removing them… a lot of disregard i can feel just by looking around. So it is so great you start this blog and conversation since indeed it is very much the time to talk ope about this.
Like you said it feels that acceptance has a lot to do with it, for me it feels like a fake acceptance of ourselves.
From what i heard it is very painfull to get it placed on the body. I wonder why we should want to hurt ourselves? Would we want another person to imprint our body with a picture which imprints deeply and has an effect on the body in many ways?
Why we give our power away to things like that? That is to ponder on.
There is a rise in the number of people wanting their tattoos removed. When I read of your experience Nicole, and and of how tattoos were a protection and a false shield from feeling and knowing your true self, your growing self awareness and self love, renders tatoos truly a distraction from seeing and feeling ALL you already are.
I agree Bernadette, more and more people are having their tattoos removed and not only that they are able to feel the absolute difference it makes not to have them.
I am in the process of having my tattoo removed and it has made huge, huge difference. I could not recommend this enough to people who have a tattoo,it is worth every cent. I now have a deeper relationship with my left breast (the tattoo was on this breast) and have re-connected with the whole left side of my body which would not have been possible if I had not got it removed. In the first 3 sessions I felt the energy of the tattoo person leave my body, I was shocked to feel that I had been carrying his energy in my breasts all this time. It was a deep, deep healing and realisation of the harm that I wanted to impose on myself through getting a tatoo.
Thank you Nicole for sharing this. It is the first time I have heard of tattoos on mannequins in a city store. Considering the damage that they can bring to the recipient I see this as a highly irresponsible act. When are we going to wake up to the fact that any unnatural action against our bodies has to be harmful? It makes me wonder if there is any link between getting a tattoo and self-harming which is rife in our schools these days.
Thank you everyone for the amazing comments. I love the conversation that this article has started.
I must say I was in Sydney lasts week and was surprised, or maybe not really when I look at what goes on around me, there was a sports store that had 2 mannequins in the window dressed in Australian football colours and jerseys, one of the mannequins was an adult and the other a child representing ages 8-10.
Ok this appeared to be “normal”, however it was not the mannequins that bothered me but the arm sleeve tattoo stickers that had been placed down both arms of the adult and child mannequins.
There was a glorification in the fact that the players had tattoos, and with children looking up to these players as role models it was sad to see that they felt to tattoo the child’s arms also in this window display.
Tattoos are not something that we should take lightly, they leave behind an imprint in the body that causes more damage than that which anyone at this point has stopped to consider or feel.
I know I never did, and when it came to beginning the removal process of my tattoos, I soon felt the disregard and lovelessness I was in when I made the choice to get them in the first place.
I finally had to feel all that I had spent my life avoiding, and more.
This is a conversation we need to have with everyone, old or young, it is not just a pretty picture.
Thanks for bringing this story out Nicole. I never wore tattoos but it is very good to have a thorough understanding of why people do it and what makes them so addictive. It feels like a plague spreading around this globe and we have to stand-up and call out, it is NOT normal to do this to your body.
Tattoos as a form of protection, who would have ever thought? I certainly see the link now; finding yet another way we as human beings seek a distraction from being with ourselves, so as to not feel our hurts.
It is interesting to look closer at the reasoning why we might desire a tattoo, within a choice such as this there is always a deeper reasoning and it seems well worth exploring the true motives behind getting a tattoo. Is it to fit in or stand out and is there something else going on in your life that may be influencing the desire. All these factors are fascinating and well worth exploring before the permanent ink goes on your body.
“No matter how many tattoos I had, once the thrill and excitement of my new tattoo wore off, I was left with the same old feeling of worthlessness, a lack of respect for and acceptance of myself.” This to me is quite interesting, because I could say the same thing about working-out at the gym and reaching new PB’s; once I had achieved it, or a certain muscle size, I would need more of the same to give a sense of acceptance of myself. It’s amazing the myriad of ways we tend to search for that false acceptance and contentment.
..’the only person that needed to accept me, was me.’ Simply a profound truth Nicole.
Hi Nicole – thank you for your honest expression in regards to your relationship with the tatoos you are now expelling lovingly from your body. A long time ago I thought those little tiny tatoos were so very cutesy, but it is almost painful to now look at some of these gorgeous young people with young clear skin covering it all up with dark ink. One has to wonder what is it that they are trying to hide, and I can now see from your words that it has the possibility of becoming another addiction, a distraction to take away if only momentarily that which is not willingly wanted to be looked into more deeply at that time. Like you, I am ever in appreciation of the deeper awareness revealed from the presentations of Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon. I love your blogs – you express a wealth of wisdom I feel.
It’s something many people do to create a persona. If a persona is in need of being created, it says a lot about how that person feels about themselves. I got one because I wanted to create an identity. By living in a way that is from a connection to my innermost, I have been able to let go of things that I adopted to be identified. These include smoking, tattoos and a lifestyle of vagueness.
Thank you Nicole for writing about your experiences with tattoos. What you have written should be handed to every person to read before they submit their body to such a permanent disfigurement. You have truly opened up a discussion that is much needed in today’s world. Seeing getting tattoos as an addiction is something, I am sure many have not considered. Yet this does need to be considered and treated like any other addiction. When looked at from the perspective of self care and honour for our bodies, as with any addiction it would be much harder to go through with getting one.
Tattoos feel as though they are saying something to the world that we are unable to express. To me they have always felt like self harming and a disfigurement of the body. They also have an appearance that can prompt a disgust in me when I only see the tattoo and not the person behind the tattoo. It also feels as though I am being blocked out – that the person does not want me to know them and who they are. By listening to Serge Benhayon I am now able to see beyond the tattoo and to connect to the person rather than judge by outward appearance. It feels amazing when I can connect with everyone in this way and the world feels more equal and at one with itself. The more we connect and express how we feel the more unity and harmony we can have in our lives.
I agree Susan, that tattoos for me was an attempt to say something to the world that somehow I couldn’t express or did not want to take the responsibility in expressing.
I have heard many times that tattoos are addictive – something about the adrenaline caused by the pain. This is interesting when we consider our entire society at the moment and all the many stimulating addictions that we have.
I have really noticed how a tattoo really does help a person hide – it is noticed before anything else (if it is visible) and often asked about before anything else ‘what is it?’ ‘ what does it mean?”. The person becomes identified by their tattoos not who they truly are.
I have witnessed the same Rebecca, along with the growing prevalence of heavily tattooed limbs, torso, neck, etc, and the wearing of clothing that ensures these markings are seen (even when that means much ‘flesh’ exposed in cold, cold weather!). It is of course the decision of the person to be ‘inked’ in this way, but I can’t help but feel the hiding also, as Nicole has so honestly written about here.
Hiding, along with something of a defiance at times, that can occur along with any addictive behaviour, as in, “I know this is harming me, but I’ll do it anyway, and put it forward for you to see”. In this, I can truly appreciate what Nicole has shared about how tattoos just fitted with the way she (then) viewed herself.
When I got my second tattoo I knew very clearly that this is an addiction. I could not stop until I got my fourth. Like all things that we are addicted to, I felt I needed more tattoos or to go through more of the inking process, because I feel I am not enough.
What was I not enough of? Today I realize it is about expression. The holding back of myself in expressing the true and fullness of myself, I was constantly looking for ways to confirm that which I know, but have not expressed. But eventually tattoos or any addiction did not fulfill and could never fulfill this void I am feeling, but I would now have to take the responsibility of the choice of tattooing myself.
What you have shared here Nicole, as it seems from the comments, is a much greater understanding of why people choose to get tattoos. That there is more going on than just getting ‘some ink’. This understanding is very much needed. Thank you.
I totally agree Lisa. By what Nicole has shared and the the comments the understanding behind tattoos is really significant. How they and other addictions are ways we use to protect ourselves from unresolved the painful issues and the protection is an illusion. The issues do not go away, they only get more difficult to face the longer we put off the eventual day of reckoning.
I find myself very distracted by people’s tattoos so when you shared “did they allow me to focus on something else on my body – rather than on my body itself?” It made sense.
Me too Nicole…I always look at other people’s tattoos and ask myself “I wonder what the story behind the choice for this one, or that one, was?” when really we can read the energy behind the choice and understand and connect to the person again, and not just the story behind the picture.
I watched a football match last night on TV, and their was not a player on the pitch that did not have so many tattoos .
These professional players, supposably are not setting a good example to the younger generation.
When these players career come to an end, I wonder what they will be thinking about the way they have disfigured their bodies?
And it’s crazy because I notice that no less than 70% of people where I live actually have tattoos. This includes in the work environment. I wonder the impact this is having on children when they are brought up with it being the norm that mum, dad, teacher etc have tattoos sleeves, or multiple tattoos on the body.
You are correct Nicole in saying that tattooing is everywhere and that people do actually say ‘why don’t you have one’. Today the unique or individual person is the one without the tattoos or shall we call them for what they are ‘body mutilation’. But why do we go to a something that is a form of mutilating ourself? You have pointed out the lack of self worth and feeling the need to pretty yourself up. And if we expand on this, I can also see that tattoos are something of a form of identification for people, something that takes the focus off the person and directs it to the tattoo, a type of distraction, they are a way to be recognised, a way to fit in to the ‘normal’ or the ‘common’ these days and to blend in.
Wow Nicole! Another amazing article directly from your lived experience. I found this quite powerful ‘Was it possible that tattoos fooled me into believing that I accepted myself? Or did they allow me to focus on something else on my body – rather than on my body itself?’ From this and from the fact that there is huge rise in tattoos, it is obvious that we as a society have a ‘lack of self worth epidemic.’
That something so appalling can become a fashion accessory is reminiscent of ages past that we look back on, and reflect on the ignorance that was manifest in the society then. It is not so far away that society will look back on tattoos with the same bemusement, and wonder how on earth people did this to themselves.
“to realise that I am not the clothes I wear nor the hairstyle I have – to know that I am what is within ” absolutely Nicole; and looking at your photo and the words you write, your beauty from within, radiates through.
Thanks Nicole, your insight into why you wanted the tattoos makes perfect sense… and offers something by way of understanding of the recent explosion in tattooing. Unravelling all of what was underneath it for you is fascinating to read, I had not made the association with addiction before.
I have frequently noticed that I find my attention being caught by tattoos and not the person they are on so, after reading this article, I now understand that they have been chosen to distract attention from the person themselves. Beautiful to read how you have been supported to come to this realisation and have reclaimed the beauty of who you really are, Nicole.
Great point about tattoos being a distraction from seeing the true person wearing them – kind of a form of protection. Obviously this is not consciously acknowledged at the time of getting a tattoo and is quite revealing of the choice to use a form of protection that is going to be there on the body for one’s whole life.
Awesome, thank you for sharing Nicole. I never got any tatoos, didn’t like the permanency of them plus didn’t have the money to pay for them when I was interested. I hid who I was in other ways though so it was interesting to read how you used tatoos to hide from your true self and how you are now reclaiming and loving your body as you have the tatoos removed.
I have certainly been tempted by tattoos in the past – this is such a great summation of the process that leads to this choice. The idea that you adopted the tattoos as a permanent beautification – to keep you distracted from the real you.
What an amazing healing process it must be for you Nicole to now be removing them with the support of a loving doctor.
When I was in my 20’s I was considering a tattoo, my partner at the time had many and we went to the tatoo parlour and I chose what I wanted, but chickened out at the last minute as I don’t like unnecessary pain, as tattoos are painful. I felt that I had to get one to fit in and have a feeling of seperateness from the main stream of society and the tattoo would be a form of individual expression.I felt that to have a tattoo you were in rebellion to what is accepted or the norm, there is a club that you belong to when you have a tattoo. I was angry at the world nd did not feel loved or accepted so I wanted to rebel. Now that I have a beautiful connection to myself and my body, I’m so glad I was afraid to go through with the tattoo as Id be getting it removed. They are a marker of a time in your life that was not connecting or loving of yourself, and it’s not who I am now.thank you Nicole for your powerful blog
Thank you Nicole, from what you have shared I can now understand more clearly the addictive nature of ‘tattooing’ and why it has become such commonplace in society. Some of my colleagues that have tattoos speak about how they “can’t wait to get their next one”, which often surprised me, but with my understanding of addictions, this now makes sense.
I always wanted a tattoo to become more interesting and to ‘upgrade’ myself. I even thought about having, instead of a marriage-ring, a tattoo on the finger. Fortunately I did not find a picture I loved enough to put onto my skin for ever… Now I am very glad that I was so undecided because I discovered for myself the last years that I am very, very precious and that I am worth celebrating as I am. I celebrate myself by dressing and with make-up which I can change and adjust to my feelings of that day.
Like you Sandra I toyed with getting a tattoo but couldn’t decide what to get and where to put it. I remember telling my Dad I was thinking of getting one and without missing a beat he said Suse ‘why would you do that, you know you change your mind all the time’. At that very moment we were walking past a stall that had fake tattoos that wash off. He pointed to them and said ‘just get a few of those and then you can change them whenever you want’. Wise words Dad, he deflated by intention instantly. Years later, the thought now of someone drawing forever into my skin with a permanent imprint of ink that effectively marks their territory on my body is not something I would even consider for as you share there are an infinite number of other ways that are far more loving for my body to celebrate my preciousness so like you Sandra I ‘can change and adjust to my feelings of that day’ with my own freedom of expression and no one else’s art expressing themselves from me.
I’ve never had a tattoo and could never understand why other people would want to get them. Thank you for sharing your story Nicole it has brought a deeper level of understanding to this topic and helps me be aware of why people tattoo themselves.