several times a week, without fail, i get asked about my tattoos.
sometimes it is a seminarian wanting to translate the hebrew on my left wrist. sometimes it is an artist wanting to inspect the freestyled filigree on my right hand. sometimes it is just someone admiring the art. but more often than not, it is just someone who doesn’t know that they need to be reminded of who they are.
i’ve written before about my tattoos and why i have them. but the words i chose to have permanently emblazoned on my skin, and the stories behind those words, bear repeating as often as necessary (even if i am only talking to myself).
i have three tattoos- ‘beloved’ on my left wrist; ‘beautiful’ on my right forearm; and ‘blessed’ on my left foot. the two arm tattoos were birthday gifts to myself, and the one on my foot i got with my sister, who i consider one of my best blessings. i chose the words ‘beloved’ and ‘beautiful’ because i needed to be reminded that i AM those things. parts of my story are shaped by the fact that i listened to voices that told me i was anything but beloved or beautiful for a long time. those words inked into my skin are both an act of rebellion against those who would have me believe a lie, and a bold agreement with the voice of the only One who has the authority to name me. and He proclaims that i am His- and thus dearly loved, so much so that my name is graven on His hands and that He died to make a way for me to be clean before Him. He proclaims that because He made me, and because He loves me, and because He made me clean, that i am beautiful- because He makes no mistakes, and because He calls out “it is good!” over His handiwork.
my tattoos are for me- daily, sometimes hourly, reminders of who i am. but i chose to get them in locations on my body where others would see them so that they would see, and also know, and maybe be reminded who they are.
you are beautiful, and you are beloved.