In this post, I am going to go through the reasons I tattooed the affirmation ‘I am beautiful’ on my forearm.
- I believe that by purely existing, we are all beautiful as we are all sophisticated, complex and unique miracles
- I also believe physical beauty is the least interesting thing about me
- My tattoo is written in the Zimbabwean Ndebele translation, ‘Ngimuhle’
10 Reasons for Tattooing ‘I Am Beautiful’ On My Forearm:
- The tattoo reminds me that all of me is valid
From the age of 5, a prominent caregiver made constant negative comments about my appearance. I grew up in a society during a period where a woman’s value was intrinsically linked with her ability to find a husband and create a family. I experienced other forms of childhood abuse that made it easy for my young mind to deduce I was invalid. I felt as though I was a burden and a mistake that had to apologise for its existence. A round of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in my mid twenties gave me the space to challenge this belief and talk to myself like I would a friend. Since in my mind, being beautiful and being valid were interchangeable, it was soothing calling myself beautiful. So much so I would notice my mood lift by reading the statement ‘I am beautiful’
- The tattoo is a reminder of my resiliency
I got the tattoo a couple of years into my recovery journey from rape. Although the sexual assault had annihilated what little crumbs of self esteem I had at the time, I was in awe at how much I was filled with life. I had a vibrancy and positive attitude towards the future that could not be erased even by the worst of days. I also noticed I was doing something miraculous by choosing to get better and having faith that recovery was possible, regardless of what was being thrown my way.
- The tattoo reminds me to nurture myself
Seeing natural things mature and thrive in optimal conditions is an interest of mine. Although my tattoo is not a living organism, the skin it is on belongs to a living organism, me. As I want to see my skin and tattoo mature gracefully, I am incentivised to drink more water, lead a more active life, eat more green vegetables and eat more fermented foods. Living life in this way also benefits the rest of my physical body.
4. The tattoo reminds me to respect myself
This is the opposite of the broken window theory. The tattoo is aesthetically pleasing for me and whenever I look at it I feel a deep admiration for it. This also seeps through to an admiration for my talents as an artist to have designed such an elegant, engaging design. This talent and achievement remind me that a beautiful soul and mind are housed within this beautiful body. It acts as an incentive to further treat myself with respect.
- The tattoo reminds me to be comfortable being treated with kindness from others
Sometimes insecurities make me paranoid of kind actions from others. With the belief that I am unworthy, I am suspicious of those who treat me with respect. I find having a tattoo to remind me of my good qualities keeps such reactions at bay by constantly challenging the unhelpful belief.
- When I catch people staring at me, the tattoo reminds me to be comfortable with others taking my features in
This is similar to point 5). Being reminded that I am beautiful can explain why people would be staring at me (at times when I catch them staring with no explanation from them). It is more soothing to think that they are taking in my features. Thinking this way also gives me the courage to be kind enough to have a chilled conversation with the person doing the staring.
- The tattoo unleashes an inner strength and power
Believing I am beautiful gives me ‘Bad and Boujee’ energy. I find it makes it much easier to be assertive and say no.
- The tattoo is a great conversation starter
As the tattoo is placed in a very visible part of my body, and it is in a language not spoken in the UK, most people I meet ask me what it means. Often a long conversation about identity or mental health follows which allows us to get to know each other on a deeper level.
- The tattoo reminds me of my choice to use my body as a canvas
The font is designed by me in patterns I used to doodle when I was in school. It feels like the tattoo is also a permanent record of my mundane experiences in school.
- The tattoo reminds me to appreciate the beauty in other people
Learning to recognise the parts in me that make me beautiful has made it easier to recognise similar attributes in others. As I know how much compliments can lift a mood, I am now also quick to give others compliments.
These have been the top 10 reasons I tattooed, ‘I am beautiful’ on my forearm. On the surface, calling myself beautiful and having that tattooed on my forearm may seem conceited. However, I hope to have shown that for me, beauty goes beyond physical features. There is beauty in mental resilience, the uniqueness in each human and the intelligence of our bodies to keep us alive.
Have you ever thought of having an affirmation tattooed on your body? Or do you have an affirmation tattooed on your body? I would love to know the main reasons behind wanting to get the tattoo. Let me know in the comments.
x x x