Tattoos are a way to express yourself. I have five myself. I was always told that I couldn’t have a tattoo until I was 18 and old enough to sign for myself. As my parents said, this was so that I would have a better understanding of what I was choosing and to make sure that it would mean something to me. About a month after I turned 18, I got my first tattoo.
My Hope tattoo was free-handed on my left wrist with a Sharpie and the artist tattooed over it. I explained to him that it meant the world to me. Being that it was my first tattoo and I was struggling with the death of my grandmother earlier on in the year, it was for her and for the one thing she taught me my whole life. HOPE. It is a daily reminder to have something to believe in, to look forward to, to keep me going. The placement of this tattoo, on my left wrist, covers scars left behind by blades that were pulled across my skin. It hides the places that blood flowed out of my arm like carnations. It conceals the night that I tried to swallow pills that swelled going down and began to gag me, yet I refuse to give in. It reminds me that I was strong enough to keep going and that I made the decision to keep writing my story.
My next tattoo is pretty much a cliché to most people, but not to me. The reason for my infinity tattoo was for my own start. The start of my life and how I wanted to live it. I listened to someone else tell me how to live my life, what to wear, who to love and who I was forbidden to love, what I could and couldn’t spend my money on, everything. This tattoo was for my beginning. And of course, who doesn’t love some of the most famous words of Bob Marley.
My third tattoo is my diabetes awareness tattoo. I’ve grown up around diabetes my entire life and quite a few people that are very important to me have diabetes. It’s a war within itself. Diabetes is something that has affected not just people that I love, but me as well. While I don’t have diabetes, I still live with it. My partner has Type 1 Diabetes. If you’re uneducated about Diabetes, you should learn about it. It can save a life.
‘In a world of my own.’ My first Alice in Wonderland tattoo. Alice is my favorite Disney movie and throughout a lot of situations in my life, I’ve had a rough time adjusting or coping. Sometimes I’ve felt so lost, I could have sworn I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. So, I would dream of my own world. I would create seas that spoke stories and sky’s that rained music. My Alice tattoo leads into my last tattoo.
My songbird is one of my favorites. I drew this one myself, that would be the reason it is not scaled to size. Music=LIFE. Music has created another world for me. Somewhere where I can melt away, somewhere where I can hide away from the rest of the world. My favorite song by one of the greatest bands in the world, being Paramore, is called Daydreaming. I know I can’t be the only one to escape to another world when I listen to music. Music is my protector. Music is my safe haven.
Being that I was an emotional cutter and have gone through some rough things where I became suicidal. My tattoos are parts of me. They tell my stories and are pieces of my puzzle. They are my masterpieces that create my life. I’m Ashton. I’m a lesbian living in the southern parts of Alabama, with my partner. This is my story.
“Tattoos are a mark of the soul. It can act as a window, through which we can see inside. Or it can act as shield, to which we choose to hide.”
For the Love of Tattooing is a project in collaboration with Serpents of Bienville and submissions are still open. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org