Growing up as a military brat, frequently moving from one place to another came with the territory. This also meant that I was always the new kid on the block. Back in the 80s and 90s anti-bullying campaigns didn’t exist, and as a new kid, I got bullied by everyone – even my teachers bullied me at times. It was my third grade teacher who taught me that my initials BS also stood for bullshit. I still sign my initials BPS.. And let’s just say my thick glasses with magnified eyes, mullet, and either homemade or goodwill-bought clothes and shoes, didn’t help me at all. I made it easy to be singled out and beat up.
Bullies, often themselves draped in the armor of their own insecurities, wield cruelty indiscriminately. I too began to bully others as a way to sort out my internal feelings of helplessness and fear. At first getting tattoos at an early age was a way to ward off would be aggressors, being that tattoos had been traditionally intimidating in the 90’s. But as I continued to collect them my relationship to them changed. Through the process of receiving needle and ink, I began an internal transformation. It wasn’t merely an act of rebellion or aesthetic adornment but a rite of passage—an act of reclaiming agency over my life, too often dictated by the whims of others. Every needle’s prick, a whisper, saying, “I am here, I exist, and I dictate the narrative of my skin.”
Years of weathering brutality, tattoos became solace. Each design etched onto my skin was a victory flag planted on the battleground of my self-worth. Each tattoo signified something deeper—a milestone, a lesson learned, an obstacle overcome. Tattoos were not just art; they were the chapters of my life story that demanded to be told. My tattoos narrate tales of sorrow turned to joy, of silence morphed into song. With every line, shade, and color, my internal pain was transmuted into something powerful. The permanency of ink offered something that the fleeting nature of perpetual moving could not—they endowed me with a sense of control.
Not all Suffering is Bad
Tattoos serve as a lighthouses, signaling to fellow souls adrift in their respective tempests. They speak of the courage to face the pain of needles, to choose one’s scars rather than to merely receive them. This external armor mirrors the internal fortification—a shield of resilience, an embracing of one’s personal truth. Skin can be the canvas for a personal renaissance, the rebirth of the self, one that embraces all the complexities, the highs and the lows.
Now, let us not mistake this journey for a glorification of suffering or a suggestion that one must walk through fire to find their artistry. No, it is instead a testament to the power of the human spirit; the incredible ability to transform agony into art, despair into expression. It is a transmutation alchemists of old could only dream of—a turning of leaden experiences to the purest gold of self-fulfillment.
Through tattoos, I discovered my voice in a world that had attempted to silence me. In this discovery laid the seeds of leadership, for in the lessons of endurance, empathy was cultivated. A newfound capability to relate to others’ hidden battles, to recognize the silent cries that echoed their own, formed the bedrock of future relationships, both personal and professional.
Indeed, tattoos became my map by which I’ve navigated life, symbols that represented an atlas of resilience. They are the outward manifestation of inner strength, the proclamation that I have weathered storms and remain standing, with colors and lines as proud testament.
The allure of turning pain into something beautiful is irresistible; it whispers promises of power, of reclamation, of rewriting past narratives into present strengths. Tattoo artists, hold this transformative power at the tips of their needles, they can become silent allies in the journey of transformation. The curators of metamorphosis, the scribes of skin-bound sagas.
To inspire leadership among tattoo artists is to acknowledge the potent role they play. It’s to empower them to recognize each mark they inscribe on our clients are more than just ink; it is part of the individual’s journey towards self-mastery and discovery. By guiding the needle, we aid in charting the course of someone’s life story, perhaps even providing an outlet that channels pain into creations that inspire awe and respect.
Tattoo artists, through their craft, have the extraordinary ability to help clients wield the brush of their experiences, painting over the monochrome of their past with a palette of empowerment and hope. This is where leadership in tattoo artistry extends beyond the stencil and the skin—it dwells in the nurturing of a soul’s narrative, the shaping of identities, and the fortifying of resolve.
So, let my story serve as an homage to the intricate dance of life’s trials and the triumphant display of ink. It is in these patterns of resilience, these emblems of endurance, that leadership and success are inked indelibly, not just on the skin, but on the heart of the individual and the collective memory of those they inspire.