Most of you know, but some probably aren’t aware that I am a tattooed hooligan. I got my very first tattoo back in August. I had been saving up for a while, mostly birthday and Christmas money (thanks mom and dad!), and I had finally saved enough to pay for it. For 5 years I had the same idea in mind for the tattoo, and I never stopped loving the design. So, I decided I was ready to have it permanently put on my body! This is what the tattoo looks like:
Beautiful, right? I was so impressed with the work. I spent months looking at local tattoo artist’s work online. I narrowed it down and I knew I wanted someone at Black 13 Tattoo in Nashville to do it. His name is Steve and he’s a big, burly guy. He’s been tattooing for a million years (literally) and we got along splendidly. We talked the entire appointment, which was a great distraction from the pain, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. Yes, it hurt. Really freaking bad. But it was totally worth it. It’s a daily, visual reminder of something I desperately need to know.
You see, when I was 19 I experienced depression for the first time. I had probably been depressed before, but not in the same way. I was living in Kansas City away from all my family and friends. I was at a place called IHOP (International House of Prayer–sadly there were no pancakes), and I was having a spiritual crisis. I felt terrible about myself; I felt worthless and alone. I was isolated and scared and for the first time I thought about how nice it would be to suddenly be dead. I’m not trying to sound dramatic, but that’s how bad it was, and I didn’t know how to make things better. My time at IHOP eventually ended and life got easier, but during my time there I found a verse that brought me peace. I clung to it when I felt like I didn’t deserve God’s or man’s love. It’s from Psalm 84. Here’s the whole thing:
Here’s a picture of me and the tat halfway through:
The handwrighting used on the tattoo is acually my sister Erin’s. She is one of those people who calms and brightens a room just by being in it. She helps me feel strong, and she supports and affirms every weird little aspect of my personality. If I had to magically switch hearts with someone it would be her. I know without a doubt that if I died on the spot I’d walk right into heaven. Or I could sell the heart for a lot of money because it’s made of pure gold 🙂 Anway, it’s so fun having a part of her with me everyday.
I know everyone feels differently about tattos, and I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but my tattoo is a part of me. A reflection of my heart. At times it has genuinely helped me get through the day. I came up with the idea while I was at IHOP, and 5 years later I’m still in love with it. (Plus, it makes me feel like a total badass!)