3rd July 2014 – the day I got my first tattoo.
I was excited and nervous, but I was very sure of what I wanted. What was it? Well, I’m a huge fan of the horror series on YouTube called Marble Hornets, I’d been watching since 2009 and on June 20th, it finally ended, marking the end of something in my life that shaped a more recent part of me. I fell in love with the creepier side of the internet and MH (along with several other series online inspired by it) got me through some of my darkest times – mostly the heartbreak caused by MFP, then my mom’s illness and subsequent death.
At the end of the video, it ended with this screen;
After many years of working out what I wanted as my first inking, I knew I had to have these words on my body. I felt it in my heart. It was before I was diagnosed with BPD, but I was heading towards destruction and I was desperate to have something personal on my body to spur me on, even when things were bad. I wanted to see something in the mirror that would make me feel okay, no matter what’s going on.
It was to be what drove me forward, as well as a tribute to a series I love.
What can I tell you about Marble Hornets without gushing? Well, I was introduced to it by The Ex back when we first started dating, after he told me to watch it because ‘it would scare the shit out of me.’ He wasn’t wrong. The series and alternate reality game (ARG) follows protagonist Jay as he investigates videos left by his old college friend Alex featuring the mysterious figure known as the Operator (a version of the slender man from popular internet folklore) and soon becomes a target himself. It’s scary, engaging and just like nothing else I had ever watched before. Soon I became enthralled with other series online, such as TribeTwelve, EverymanHYBRID, DarkHarvest00 – then followed smaller series. I became a bit of a figure in the fandom at one point, even starting my own series (it’s since been ended prematurely, but it is the basis of my first novel!)
It’s weird that such a strange, scary series can end up inspiring something permanent and positive on my body.
Getting inked was a wonderful, liberating experience. I had never felt brave enough to do anything like getting a tattoo before – I always had to answer to boyfriends, my mom, I couldn’t stand up for myself and my own identity. Having BPD, my sense of identity is skewed as it is, and nearly a year on after my diagnosis I am still building on who I am. And the pain was cathartic, it felt like a similar release to self harm but in a less destructive, damaging way.
This tattoo was going to be the start of finding who I am.
A year on, and a lot has happened since I got my first tattoo. There’s just too much to summarise here, and this entry isn’t about that. A few months after, I went and got a second tattoo – a little secret one on my rib for my Other Half! My borderline personality disorder explains a lot of my behaviour, and it makes some things difficult in life, but I don’t want it to define who I am. I want to be my own person and have my own identity, and not be bound by my illness.
One step at a time.
As for tattoos, I would love to have the scars on my arm covered up with something beautiful. I’d love a watercolour piece, but I’d also love a half sleeve on my forearm to cover the scars and give me something beautiful to look at, instead of wincing at the signs of my self-mutilation. Maybe something nerdy?
In the meantime… everything is fine.