This might sound crazy to you, but I used to think getting a tattoo was something that would mark a moment in my life as a celebration… for example my age, turning 18 or 21, something cool to show my friends, even something to make me feel ‘in’ with the trend.
I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and then another when I was 21; each time I felt a high afterwards and wanted to show people how cool I was and how sexy my tattoo looked. It has been quite an experience for me to see how different I feel about tattoos now as I do not think they are cool or sexy at all – in fact I find them very much the opposite. What I find interesting also is that they take you away from seeing the real person and instead you just get drawn to the tattoo.
Getting the tattoos removed has been somewhat of an amazing experience for me, although little did I realise the pain and frustration I would go through to remove them. They don’t tell you that although the tattoo only takes 30 minutes to apply (depending on size), that it would then take 2 years plus to take it off with laser sessions every 4-6 weeks. They also don’t tell you the pain this treatment entails.
I have found that although this has been painful, if I really stay connected to myself throughout the process and really deepen my stillness, the pain is not as bad: but the times I have had a tattoo removal and not stayed connected to myself, the pain has indeed been so much worse. This to me is something I must share because often I find we are put off doing things in life that we know will help us because of the pain that it will incur. We can in fact look at this on many levels; for example physical pain and emotional pain – we often stop and put a wall up based on not wanting to feel hurt to any degree – and what I realised here is that the pain/damage that the tattoo was in fact doing to me by being imprinted on my skin was much more painful than taking it off.
Is it possible that tattoos do affect us in ways that we could not even imagine?
I have not quite completed this process yet but I am nearly there, and would never ever consider having a tattoo again. I now feel I finally have got my body back… that my body is all mine again. Somehow the tattoo left an imprint that was not me and at the time I was ok with this: now having gone through the removal process I have claimed my body back and I feel that this tattoo is not affecting me anymore, which can only ever be a good thing.
I can now feel how beautiful my body truly is on its own with no imposition of a tattoo or any other outer ideals and beliefs – like what my hair colour should be or what clothes I should wear or even how much makeup I should put on. Without getting caught up in any of these outer influences to dictate or have control over me I am able to feel and enjoy my true beauty, which has nothing to do with anything physical but instead is all about just being and letting myself feel the beauty I hold within. This is very powerful.
I feel that the tattoo removal process has given me an opportunity to give power to what I feel true beauty is, and not get caught in what the world is telling me it is or should be by any doing or action. Instead it really has been a question of just letting it come out and be seen by all, by firstly letting myself see me first.
True beauty is an allowing. It is not about a doing, which is what society seems to be saying it is. My focus now is to allow my beauty out rather than try and make myself beautiful.
by Amina Tumi, 32 yrs, London Salon Owner