I’ve often heard that it is beneficial to be fat and get tattoos – more canvas space, you know. I know, when I got my first tattoo at the age of eighteen, I was both comforted and nervous about this fact. It is on my hip, one of my fleshiest body parts. I didn’t want to show my skin, my body to the tattoo artist and to half the shop. The area where the tattoos take place is sectioned off, but people can still see in – I was worried that anyone walking by and coming in the door would OMG SEE ME AND MY FAT.
The artist is a friend of my father’s; I don’t know if that made it worse or better. Probably better, because he was both patient with my anxiety and jocular. He made me feel at ease. Considering he’s probably seen a lot of this type of anxiety in his day, he must be an expert on it. Getting my first tattoo was liberating in a way, it helped me start to accept my body. I wasn’t anywhere near where I am now at eighteen, but it was a small step in the right direction.
Since I turned eighteen, I started getting more tattoos. I became addicted! Each of mine means something to me and I like that they’re permanent reminders of different times in my life.
My body has changed since I was eighteen and will continue to change as I get older. I am both fascinated by these changes and a little scared. I think every time this happens, and as I get more comfortable in my own skin, I get more into decorating that skin.
Right now, I have ten tattoos. I have plans for three more. I think I will stop at thirteen, but I’m not entirely sure. One I have planned is going on my ribcage. I won’t be going to my usual artist; I will be trying a different place. I am nervous about this. I think once I get there and talk to the artist that best fits the tattoo I will be ok, but right now, I have the usual concerns – exposing that part of my body, what the studio looks like, whether I’ll click with the artist. I’m sure these are all concerns that people of all sizes and shapes face, but they feel ultra magnified when you’re fat.
I’m not going to chicken out though. I’m going to do it. I like having physical reminders of change and what I love branded on to my body.