The Healing & Humbling Power of Tattoo Therapy

Every tattoo I do is an honour, and special to that person in some way. Every now and then, I do something like this for someone. It reminds me that sometimes what I do goes far behind a physical aesthetic. Sometimes, what I do is tattoo therapy.

Tattoos can heal YOU.

This floral arrangement is covering a 2 year old mastectomy scar on Michelle. When she looked in the mirror after it was done and proudly said with a smile across her face, ‘That’s something I don’t mind looking at every day’, my heart swelled. I could feel her relief.

The feeling of being able to create that for a person is indescribable. I wonder what Sailor Jerry Collins would say if he knew back in the 1930’s what tattooing would become? Not just for sailors on leave to permanently record their nautical achievements and journeys, but to help people heal from physical and emotional wounds.

It’s amazing how a medium like tattooing, a medium that’s come so far from being something reserved for the seedy underbelly of society, is still frowned upon and misunderstood by many. Tattoos can have such therapeutic and healing potential. If you have a tattoo enthusiast in your life, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term ‘tattoo therapy’. It really is a form of therapy for some people.

The amount of people who have cried tears of happiness, sadness, relief, and healing in my studio in the last 14.5 years is astounding. I’ve covered all manor of scars with tattoos. I’ve camouflaged body blemishes and helped people feel like they were taking ownership over their own bodies. These are things I couldn’t even fathom when I began my apprenticeship so many years ago, just excited to draw for a living.

With all this healing positivity happening, its hard to believe some people still make negative comments to tattooed people. While it happens less frequently these days for me, I still hear whispers about my appearance in public. Sideways glances at airports, sales people serving me saying they feel that tattoos are mutilation or are just ugly. I’ve had people ask me what prison I was in, like….to my face. I’ve walked by people on sunny days in a nice sundress to hear them say after they’ve passed me ‘Now why would you go and do that to yourself?’

You wouldn’t believe the hard time I had trying to rent a space for my tattoo studio when I moved to Truro! One renter told me I’d have to sign a contract saying I wouldn’t have hard drugs or loud music on the premises! This is even funnier if you know me at all. Needless to say, I did not rent there. Jokes on them, as I’ve been in the same building with my wonderful landlords, Denise and Tom, for 7+ years and expanded my space with them three times to accommodate my growing business!

Not just for sailors on leave to permanently

record their nautical achievements and journeys

I hope this blog can give you a deeper look at tattooing as a treatment instead of a fad. Whether you have one tattoo or one hundred; whether they have deep meaning, or just bring you joy, tattoos are for any person and any body. I’m so thankful for the places this career path has taken me to, and excited to see where it will take me in the future. One things for certain, I can never repay the gratitude I feel for the gift of so many people’s trust and business over the years, but Ill spend the rest of my days paying it forward.

For more on tattoos as therapy, check out this Instagram post I did on International Tattoo Day

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