My Tramp Stamp

I have this regrettable back tattoo.

I got it after I dropped out of college. You could say I was going through a life crisis of sorts. A few weeks before I turned 20, I decided that I had to do all of the stupid things that only a teenager would do. Hence, the tattoo.

I had always thought about getting one, but never knew when or where or why. But I also have this idiotic motto that “I will try everything at least once”… within reason.

I’m not even really a tattoo person. I actually hate 90% of tattoos.

But, a few days after participating in a regrettable youtube rap music video where I pretended to make cocaine on a stovetop (that is a highly regrettable story for another time), I marched into the tattoo shop and told the guy at the counter that I wanted this black compass on my back.

“Not a tramp stamp,” I said. “I want it in the middle of my back. I don’t want people to be able to see it..well, unless I’m naked of course.” Anyways, two days later I got tattoo. He made it bigger than I had originally planned, but I went with it. I told myself it would be more proportional that way.

I didn’t pick a tattoo that accompanied some tear-jerking story about my grandpa dying or something. Its meaning was simple. A compass helps you find your way, and I was lost. I was just finding my way. Plus, I had just gotten back from Australia so I was feeling like quite the world traveler.

Two days after getting the tattoo, I regretted it. I wanted to claw it off my body. My dad thought it was pretty cool. My sister did, too. My mom was a little iffy, of course, but I wasn’t thrown out on the street corner so that was a good sign.

I got the tattoo at a time in my life when I was even more confused and lost than I am now. Every day, for two years, I would look at that tattoo in the mirror, along with all of my other flaws, and wish it gone.

It reminded me of the pain I was in, and its permanence made me crazy.

“God, whoever you are, take it off my body please. I promise I will never participate in a fake rap music video ever again.”

About a year ago I started laser tattoo removal treatments.

It’s about 50% faded, but I don’t hate it so much anymore.

I used to hide it from everyone. It drove me nuts, and still does, that every item of female clothing these days is see-through or backless. Like, my god, why do we have to buy so many layers to hide our regrettable tattoos?

Now, it’s just a piece of flesh, like a freckle that sits on my skin. It’s been to a lot of places with me. As it slowly fades away, so do my worries, so does my pain.

I used to be afraid of people judging me for having a slutty back tattoo.

But, it’s just a part of my story. Not one of the smarter parts, but still a part.

What’s your tramp stamp?

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