I just got my first tattoo last week. I was so nervous because I can’t control my muscles at all due to my severe cerebral palsy and I hate pain. But I am now the proud owner of a tattoo in honor of my grandpa who went Home in May.
I know some people believe it’s against the Bible to get a tattoo but when you study the cultural and historical context of the Bible, pagans were doing it for other gods. Plus, it wasn’t sterile or at all like it is now if you go to a reputable tattoo parlor. Here is a great article about the cultural and historical context of the Bible when it comes to tattoos.
I felt God with me the whole time and He put the verse, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” in my head that morning and while she did it. Plus, I feel closer to my mom having a matching tattoo with her! The whole thing has been wonderful and all good things come from God! And my tattoo comforts me every time I miss my grandpa.
I have wanted a tattoo for years but didn’t think I could stay still for it, especially since pain and anxiety make me move more. So the first thing I did once I decided I was definitely doing this was to Google “people with cerebral palsy getting tattoos.” I was very encouraged to find many people with cerebral palsy have tattoos. Even so, I was still anxious about whether or not it would work for me.
After researching this thoroughly, my husband and I went in August to meet with a tattoo artist at our local tattoo parlor which came highly recommended. I was very nervous when we went because I figured that they would see my involuntary movements and reject me. I am terrified of rejection because I have been rejected so many times throughout my life. Rather, I was met with total acceptance!
The guy we met talked to me like everyone else and listened when I talked. That means A LOT to me since some people look at my severe disability and assume that I am mentally disabled. And my speech is very slurred making it difficult to understand me if you don’t know me well.
I immediately told the tattoo artist that I can’t control my muscles so I was worried if it would even work. He asked where I wanted the tattoo and I had him feel my thigh so he knew how the muscles would contract. Of course we explained that we’d make my feet straps tighter and that my mom would be here to help hold me. I also took medicine to help control some of my spasms.
I was so excited for the next three weeks. I was also very nervous because even though the artist and the shop owner didn’t think there would be any problem with doing a tattoo on me, I was terrified that I would fail.
Ever since I was very young, I have been terrified of failure. As you can read in this post and this post, many people would look at me and not believe I could do things. I learned from a very early age that I had to always prove myself to people. Plus, I was verbally abused by various people growing up and I saw how my dad reacted angrily when my older siblings didn’t live up to his expectations. I still feel like this today. So I felt like I had to prove that I could handle the tattoo.
I can’t stress enough the importance of building our children up. They need to learn how to believe in themselves. This does not mean we make them proud as humility is a virtue. But humility does not mean feeling like you never measure up or always have to be afraid of failing. Humility means that you put others before you and you don’t think you’re better than everyone else. But feeling poorly about yourself is not humility.
Nobody should have to struggle with anxiety like I do due to how I was treated as a child and throughout my life by certain people. Thankfully, my husband and mom had complete faith in me as did many of my friends.
Well, the night before my tattoo appointment my artist who was supposed to do my tattoo contacted us because something came up and he couldn’t do it the next day. Yes, I had a little panic attack but he made sure someone else could do it. The lady we got was wonderful. She has done tattoos on people with cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. That helped put me at ease.
The day of my tattoo, I was so nervous. Again, I was afraid that I would fail. That the pain would be too much for me and I would move too much. But Candace immediately put me at ease. She was quickly able to figure out my spasms and work around them. Every time she initially put the needle down, my startle reflex would make me jump. But once that happened, she knew to keep going and I was fine. There were a few “ouch” moments where I made my husband talk more and I had to distract myself more but it wasn’t bad. I now have a BEAUTIFUL purple Mickey Mouse outline and a BEAUTIFUL red Corvette outline in honor of my dear grandpa! She was gentle and it was over before I knew it! I hugged her as I was so happy with her work.
The significance of my tattoo: Mickey Mouse is because when I was 15, Grandma and Grandpa took me to Disney World over my Christmas break. We saw the Christmas parade, rode on rides, and they arranged a private meeting with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and Goofy and other characters. I believe in signs from people in Heaven and ever since Grandpa went Home, I’ve seen Mickey everywhere despite Hello Kitty being more popular than Mickey nowadays. The Corvette is because my grandpa LOVED Corvettes. He was never without one since I was born. He was a mechanic and worked for BF Goodrich and loved working on cars. So he would buy Corvettes, fix them up, enjoy them, then sell them. My mom is a Corvette owner after 50 years, so getting the red corvette honors him for both of us AND is fun to have matching tattoos with my mom!
I have a major sense of accomplishment and I’m grateful to God for helping me through it! I loved watching my mom get her matching Corvette in honor of Grandpa who was her dad. And whenever I miss my grandpa, I just look at my tattoo!
I don’t know if I will ever be free from my fear of failure. But I do know that God wants me to use my pain to help others. Children deserve nothing but respect as do people with disabilities. Just because I am severely disabled does not mean I can’t live a “normal as possible” life. We just need more assistance. If you are reading this and want a tattoo that is meaningful to you and you’re disabled, I’m living proof that you can do it!
We can do all things through Him who gives us strength!