Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why I, As A Mormon, Chose to Get a Tattoo

 


No one can ever call me a perfect Mormon and I'm not even that close to the top. I've made so many mistakes. I've allowed myself to fade away multiple times. I've never actually completed reading the Book of Mormon all the way through. I always forget to pray. And my testimony of the gospel is not the strongest.

That being said, I've never completely fallen away either. I was lucky to have an experience at the age of 17 that ensured that I could never deny God or leave the church for good. I believe the God, I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the truest gospel on the earth today, and I love the teachings and blessings that I receive when I do attend.

But as someone who suffers from depression on a daily basis, being a member of the church can be incredibly difficult.

My depression is a full blown, daily struggle, daily having to remind myself to be happy. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

A month or so before I met my husband, I was at a very difficult point in my life. And in a moment of weakness and loss of control, I took my hair straightener and pressed it against my left arm, leaving burns.

This wasn't my first instance of self-harm, and it wasn't the last either. Only the largest and most significant. In high school I spent nights with tweezers, picking at my legs until they bled. In college, I used my razor on my wrists. And after getting married, I used my own fingernails to scratch at my arms till they were raw and almost bleeding.



Growing up LDS, I was always taught my body is a temple. We are meant to love and protect our bodies the way we would the temple. But the distortion that depression causes, has never allowed me to fully grasp this concept.

For me, my body, my skin, is the thing that holds in all the darkness, the depression. When I cut myself, it was because I needed to feel real pain, to see an actual wound, to be able to put a band-aid over it and know that it would heal. Depression, the darkness inside of me, doesn't heal. I can't put a band-aid on it, I can't control it, I can't stop it when it comes.

There are ways to ease my depression, but it's still invisible. Treating an invisible wound isn't the same as one you can see. At my weakest points, I needed a visible wound to help me feel like I was in control again. If I couldn't see the pain I was feeling, I would make pain I could see.

A few years ago I found a song by my idol, Demi Lovato. The song is called "Warrior" and the moment I heard it, it changed my life.


This is a story that I have never told
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I need to take back the light inside you stole
You're a criminal
And you steal like you're a pro

All the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised

Now I'm a warrior
Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

Out of the ashes, I'm burning like a fire
You can save your apologies, you're nothing but a liar
I've got shame, I've got scars
That I will never show
I'm a survivor
In more ways than you know

Cause all the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I'm not broken or bruised

'Cause now I'm a warrior
Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me

There's a part of me I can't get back
A little girl grew up too fast
All it took was once, I'll never be the same
Now I'm taking back my life today
Nothing left that you can say
Cause you are never gonna take the blame anyway

Now I'm a warrior
I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

No oh, yeah, yeah

You can never hurt me again



I cannot express how much this song speaks to me. It sometimes feels as if this song was written about me, for me.

I've talked in the past about being a warrior. One year ago I shared a post called "Become A Warrior" in which I shared how I would write the word "Warrior" on my wrist to remind myself to be strong. And when I got the urge to claw at my arms, I would see the word on my arm and remember that I am a warrior, I am a fighter, and my depression "can never hurt me again."

On November 4th, 2015, I had my miscarriage and lost my first child. And throughout 2016, my depression had been worse than ever before in my life. The song "Warrior" was the only thing that kept me from injuring myself. I was consistently writing the word on my wrist as a reminder that I could survive. Somehow, I would survive the pain.

As a person, as a Child of God, I am in a war against Satan. Because of my depression, he has a strong grip on my life. I have to be a fighter to make it through the hell I am put through. I have to work hard on a daily basis to break the hold Satan has on my life, my actions, and my emotions.

"Warrior" helps me in the war against Satan. It helps me to not injure myself. It helps in the moments I want my life to end. It helps when my social anxiety appears. It helps me to be confident. It helps me to stay strong, be positive, and look for the light when my head is so full of darkness.

On November 4th, 2016, I got a tattoo of the word "Warrior" on my left wrist so I would never be without the support and strength that word gives me.

In my religion we are told not to get tattoos, to protect our temple. For me, getting this tattoo was one of the best ways for me to help protect my body and temple. And while I not supporting breaking the commandments the prophets have given us, I believe that for me, in my life, in my situation, getting this tattoo was important.

The night I got my tattoo, I said a prayer to my Father in Heaven. I apologized for breaking the rule and explain why I believed I needed it. And for a brief moment, I felt peace that He understood. I'm not saying that my decision was right or wrong, but I made the decision and I fully accept anything that comes of it, good or bad.

I have never once felt guilty or ashamed of getting my tattoo. I am proud to show my tattoo. I am happy to tell people why I got it. And while I know that many other members of the church will never understand, I still believe it was the right decision for me and I am not going to let them bring me down.



I cannot say that having this tattoo has made my depression go away. It's not magic, I know that will never happen. But there have been moments where the darkness takes over, I begin to lose control, and I see the word and make a change.

I still hurt, I still make mistakes, I still find myself in pain, but I am now constantly reminded that I am a warrior. Even if I lose a battle, I can still win the war. I can still triumph over Satan and his clutches. I can still find happiness even when I feel all hope is lost.

My life is not over. I can be successful. I can be the person that I want to be. 
Because as a warrior, I will NEVER stop fighting. 


3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you decided to get one! And love how honest you are. One thing that helped me tremendously with my anxiety and depression was being able to just talk and cry to a therapist. I was always so against going to see one, but it is now something I wish everyone would do! It's amazing how much it helped me. My anxiety is still something I struggle a lot with, but talking to a therapist really helped with the depression. It's helpful talking to someone who knows nothing about you, and who helps you understand why you feel certain things. I'm not sure if you've ever thought about it, but I've felt like I've become a more positive person, and feel like it also strengthened my faith. My therapist prays with me after each session <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are following your own personal authority and using the mind and heart God gave you to find meaning and purpose. As a practicing Mormon, please know you are supported and awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! It means a lot to me to hear this. :)

      Delete

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...