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Before I transitioned, I had zero interest in ever getting tattoos or body piercings. The thought of altering my body from the way it was at birth seemed very odd indeed. Why would I make a permanent change to a body that itself wasn’t permanent?

I didn’t judge anyone with tattoos or piercings, but I just didn’t understand being that sure in something, sure enough to commit to permanently changing my body. How could anyone ever be that confident in the decision to alter their own body?

Then, I hit puberty. My body began to develop traditionally masculine characteristics. My voice dropped, I suddenly had a huge Adam’s apple, I was hairy all over and my own uncontrollable body made me feel routinely uncomfortable.

I didn’t like my body.

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For me, puberty was a lot like renting accommodation on a short term contract. Suddenly this place I had to live all my life, by no choice of my own, was different. I had to adjust to living in a new skin, one I disliked.

I didn’t want to stay that way. I wanted a situation where I could make the skin I inhabited my own. I wanted ownership of my body, not a rental subject to sudden upheaval.

I decided to begin the long road of transition.

I began to take ownership over my own body as something I could control. I changed my clothing, I altered my voice, I changed my name and my gender marker and my hair.

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I also started to get tattoos.

The road to physical help with transition is a long one in the UK. Years waiting to start hormones, and years beyond that to get surgical options done.

Years and years of waiting for the UK medical system to help me take ownership of my own body.

So I started taking that ownership myself.

I got three pixel hearts on my left wrist to celebrate making games writing my full time job. I got a My Chemical Romance quote on my right wrist to celebrate three years without a suicide attempt. I got a pixel magic bar on my left wrist to celebrate getting my Adam’s apple reduction surgery. I got the Let’s Play Video Games logo on my right wrist to celebrate going independent as a writer and managing to still thrive. I got the Non Compliant tattoo on my left wrist to celebrate lower surgery and taking pride in my own non traditional femininity. I got Faith’s tattoo from Mirror’s Edge on my left arm to celebrate having the strength to move from one period of my life to a brand new stage.

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Every tattoo, whether it fades or blurs with time, will remind me of a time in my life I took control. Each one reminds me of a time where I made my life something new. A time where I committed to something.

Every tattoo is a reminder that this body is mine. This body is owned not rented. I can decorate the walls. I can put in a window. I can turn two rooms into one. I can make drastic changes. I can make this body a home of my own.

No landlord can take this body away from me.

As someone who has made a lot of changes to their body in the name of control and comfort, I will forever be proud of every change I made. Every surgery, every tattoo, every piercing and every modification a reminder that my body belongs to me, and I can make it home in what ever way I like.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t share an interest in getting tattoos myself, but this is a compelling story. I think it’s great that you have such great commemorations of your personal milestones. Just another thing that makes you awesome.

  2. Hi Laura,

    this was an interesting read – I can strongly relate, although things were a bit different for me.
    For on thing I’ve always been amazed by piercings – ever since they started to appear in public in the 90’s (or at least that’s when I started to see them). However, I only liked them on girls. They idea of getting some myself never really crossed my mind until much later. I have a phobias regarding medical practitioners or people getting close to my body in general. Although there never were really “bad” things, I’ve always felt that people had control over my body – because it always felt that they were doing things without my consent. Not only medical things, but also things like cutting hair and so on. I ended up at a point where I was sort of dissociated from my body. I had this strange feeling that my body belonged to someone else and it was not mine. Hence I didn’t do anything with it because it was not mine.
    When I came to the realization that I was trance, I had to rethink my relationship to my body. I began to accept that it was mine and very early on one of the first things I did was – get piercings. It was funny, because people were irritated and I was so falling out of the expectations. Quite a few. It was one of my ways of regaining ownership of my body.
    Later on I began to transition and everything started to fall in place. My whole expression changed and I got a sense of what it means to be whole. Today, I love my body. And I got tattoos (and still want more) although the craving has subsided a lot – even though I still love my piercings. Although I hate doctors and stuff I also got surgeries – the ones I wanted – because I wanted to shape MY body. Not because someone else wanted. Yes, nobody can take my body away from me – it’s mine. I totally feel you. 🙂

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