TATTOOS, REBELLION AND DIRTY NEEDLES

cropped-img_9433.pngWhen I was growing up tattoos were taboo and rebellious. Today, they are widely recognized as a definitive, creative way for people to express themselves and tell their stories. And depending on said tattoo they are also recognized as lame, beautiful, hideous, symbolic, impulsive and/or intriguing. I’ve heard it all. As we well know, everybody has an opinion.
Some tattoos have meaning. Others only symbolize the fact that you were barely coherent when you got yours. You know who you are…

I, for one, love a little marking every now and again. Mine are nothing elaborate or anything to write home about. I’m not trying to be hard or cool or Kat Von D over here. I’m just a wanna-be. Still, some of you hate them and are probably judging me right now. It’s ok. I still love you. Tiny pieces of any respect that my parents have for me gets chipped away with every one I get. It’s fine. We can agree to disagree. Either way, this is a terrible story so don’t leave now.

Here’s how it went down. I was out with friends on my 35th birthday. We lived in Colorado Springs at the time so downtown Denver was the place to be. I had just finished reading a book by Ann Voskamp called ONE THOUSAND GIFTS. My depiction and take-away of this writing can not do it justice so I won’t even try. Just let it be known that I was so moved by this book that I was willing to stamp my body with permanent ink to prove it. I wanted to add a tiny black string around my finger to remind me “in all things, be grateful”. So off we go. And down we go. No, literally. Underground. Downtown Denver. To Frank. Frank was a novelty. – ecsentric. Why I thought this was a good idea, I’ll never know. Frank spoke of many things – mostly shenanigans. And I listened intently as he prepared what could’ve very well been a dirty needle (I’m still not sure). I listened and listened until I could no longer hear the words that were coming out of his mouth. For you see, I could hear nothing over my sudden, intense pain comparable only to the enlightening stage of child birth. The ring of fire (but literally, the “string” of fire). I had no idea I was even pregnant, but this baby was about to come out the tip of my right ring finger. And he was a big one.

“I’m sorry, Frank. Excuse me. Do you have an anesthesiologist on hand, because I’m pretty sure I’m gonna need an epidural for this. It may only be a little ink, but sir, if I didn’t know better I’d say you’re sawing off my digit. Kindly stop lest I die.” I’m not kidding. I thought my time was up at 35 – underground – with Frank.  Don’t let me go this way, Lord. It wasn’t worth it and I’m not ready.

One very expensive trip to the ER later and the results were conclusive. Frank cut me nearly to the bone and left me with what looks nothing like a string – more like a Halloween spider that I endearingly named, Charlotte. She’s really a beautiful addition. I think I got that tattoo to remind me of something, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was (something about being grateful, maybe). Because now all I think about when I see it is FRANK. Thanks, Frank. You’re always in my heart. And on my finger (but hey, at least I still have one). And at least I’m not the only one walking around with a bad ink job. Some of you have it way worse than I do. I’ve seen the work. My condolences.

I digress.

Back to the topic at hand.

I do not claim to be a theologian on the matter of permanent body ink. I just like getting tattoos at random. To each his own.

Many people ask me about the tattoo on my right arm so let me give you a brief what-for. Besides trying to make my parents extremely proud, I wanted to get something symbolic of the valley I had just crawled my way out of. Also, after Frank, I needed redemption.

Here’s the story:
After my divorce I had to learn how to do life again. We – me and my two children – were hurting but strong. And we were headed in this new direction together.
And we were gonna make it, Lord-wiling and the creek don’t rise. I was determined. (So many other stories in here, but let’s move on).

For some reason I loved arrows (they’re all the rage) and as luck would have it, upon my studies of them, I found that they are a symbol of strength and direction.
While one arrow can be easily broken, a bundle is tougher to break. And here we were – this little bundle of weak strength. Being held tight by the arrow-maker Himself.
Figuring it out.
Forging a path.
Walking a new direction.
Together.

After lots of Pinteresting and careful consideration of where body marking #4 would actually take place,  I gave it a go on Birthday #41.
NO RAGRETS. (Please see google on the inter-webs for further explanation of this spelling).

Three “arrows” headed in the same direction.
This stupid, ridiculous, sweet, symbolic, beautiful (whatever you want to call it) piece of ink tells a part of my story. It forever and always reminds me that we are strong. I remember where I’ve been and where I’m headed. It is a constant reminder of who I am and who I’m raising my people to be. Tenacious. Tough and tender and full of grit. And God is not finished with us yet. Our story is not over.
My team of three. Making it.

Maybe I AM rebelling. Rebelling against all of the nay-sayers and the things that say I can’t do it, that I won’t make it. Rebelling against complacency – against the hurdles, the hard places, the status-quo.

I am finding as I meet new people and hear your stories, that I am not the only one walking that road. Many of us are facing or have faced circumstances we never asked for or never imagined being in – where we have to keep moving. We are all learning that even in the weak places we are still strong.

And we are still moving – together.

I’m grateful to walk the road with you. And I’m also excited to announce that…drumroll please… these three arrows are the newest addition to our I AIN’T DOIN IT merchandise line. In just a few short days you guys will be able to wear your story. I cry…

What do these arrows symbolize for you? Where are YOU headed? What are you standing up for? What corners are you turning? Who are you being strong for? What are you “not doing” anymore? What new way are you taking and what new movement are you pioneering? Whatever it is, may The Lord keep you steady and may you come out on the other side stronger and better for it.
I hope you love this new addition as much as I do.  And I hope it will encourage you to be bold and tell others about your journey. Somebody needs to see you being strong and owning it.

I can’t wait to hear your story!
Wear it well, family.

158 thoughts on “TATTOOS, REBELLION AND DIRTY NEEDLES”

  1. Heather, I turned 64 last December. Last Friday I got out of a 6 day hospital stay. You never know what life is going to throw at you. I am now focused on better health. Take care of your body, and it takes care of you. All that. I agree tattoo’s are a personal thing. My son has full sleeves. They are beautiul. They tell a story and are very personal to him. He gets a lot of crap about them, but he doesn’t care. Love your arrows. Onward and upward girl. You got this.

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  2. At age 40 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After months of chemotherapy and radiation, I decided to get a tattoo and when I look at it, it reminds me of all I’ve been through and, thank God, I’m a survivor.

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  3. I was a single mom of two for several years until I met a man willing to take us all on. That time in my life – although scary and exhausting and uncertain … toughened me up for the next part of my journey … battling two cancers. My kids have turned out better than any dream I had for them. They are married to exceptional people and my husband is still a prince – now battling his own battle against Addison’s Disease and a Carcinoid tumor. We are appreciative of all the laughs we can get so keep ’em coming Heather! We love you here in West Virginia!

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    1. Bless your heart! I wouldn’t normally do a reply, but wanting you to know I am saying a prayer for y’all. My father had carcinoid cancer. I know how difficult it can be.

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  4. I am a 40 yr old widow to a six yr old son after losing my husband to stage 4 rectal cancer. I got a tattoo the week after he passed to honor his memory. It is a combo of an arrow, cross, heart, and anchor to symbolize where we have have been and to look towards where we are going, to always have faith, to love unconditionally, and to know that He is my rock and salvation.

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  5. I love the arrows and what they stand for to you. I am a tattoo person also. I got my first one 9 years ago when I lost my husband of 20 years to kidney cancer. He was 43 years old. It is in honor of him. I now have 3 and would love to have many more. They all mean something to me and I thought long and hard about them before getting them. My son is 29 and has several some with meaning and some just because they were cool (and I say that loosely) after drinking. In fact the year my husband, his father, passed that is what I got him for Christmas was a large rib piece he designed in honor of his father. He also designed the my first one that I got in honor of my husband. Keep doing what you are doing, no matter what the negative people say.

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    1. I lost my husband of 31 years to kidney cancer also. He was 56. That was 10 years ago. I feel the weight of your grief. Do what you must to survive and find strength and purpose sister.

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  6. My sweet friend…. yes I said friend even though we’ve never met in person. I feel like we are good friends. I started watching your videos in what I like to call your “alter ego” back in the fall 2017. My husband passed away on June 25 after surviving nine years with a severe traumatic brain injury he sustained on the job in 2008. I brought him home and took care of him with 24hr nursing in 2012. Wow… God brought me/us through the unthinkable….as he was 100% disabled. No speech… no motor skills… not much emotion…. however his sense of humor was left intact as he would laugh out loud to “I Love Lucy” reruns and slapstick comedy. After he passed I invited my two sisters and my mother over for a much needed girls weekend. That’s when we discovered your videos. We have never laughed so hard…. and my mom is 87yrs young.
    I want you to know that I love your blogs, I love your story, and I love what God has done in your life! And I certainly love your videos, I wear your T-shirts and drink my coffee from your cup! And I can’t tell you how many times in casual conversations as I talk with friends and family that the phrase “I ain’t doing it” comes up… LOL.
    Keep up the good work and let God continue to use you mightily! Your friend Rana

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  7. I to have tattoos and no regrets I lost the love of my life on 7-4-17 from heart diseases he never woke up he had open heart surgery 2-20 -17 we were lucky to have him for 4months after his surgery so I got a tattoo with his name on it with a heart and the broken chain it means the world to me.i just wanted to share my story with you I love you and your videos the help me laugh in my darkest days .thank you.

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  8. I lost my mother at 9…she was 36. It was a domestic situation that turned very ugly for her and her 6 girls! My mother was a single mom trying to raise 6 girls on her own so she was never without a job or two or three. Her passion was singing with her band. We were the epitome of southern white trash but we never new it till later. We would frequent the bars that she would perform in. What I wouldn’t give to hear my mother sing again. As the world turned, my sisters and I were all separated for one reason or another: adoption, foster homes etc. The short point to this story is that no matter how far we were from each other…we were always connected by music. The influence of our mother and the greatest bond she could have given us in her absence. I have no tattoos but think often about designing one with 7 music notes. One for her in the center and 6 others surrounding it…one for each girl! I have yet to come up with a great design…so if you know someone… (NOT FRANK PLEASE!) 🤣🤣🤣

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  9. I have two tats. I’m getting one more before I get too old. I’m geeting lips on my a$$. Just for the poor folks who will be stuck changing my diaper in the nursing home. They’ll need a laugh too.
    I love your sense of humor Heather!
    Xo Janice

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    1. I have lips on my a$$… I got it right after my divorce in “02 ….. I now have the spot permanently marked that he can kiss!!

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  10. Your stories are funny, strong inspiring & very impowering. I love reading your stories & watching your Videos…. you are a welcome asset social media & a bright spot in the day . God Bless you in all you do😘🙏🏻

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  11. Your stories are funny, strong inspiring & very impowering. I love reading your stories & watching your Videos…. you are a welcome asset too social media & a bright spot in the day . God Bless you in all you do😘🙏🏻

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  12. I have been trying to work through all the tragedies I have had in my life in 2017. I lost my husband of 36 years and 4 month on April 24, 2017 to ALS. He had fought it for years. He was a dairy farmer for over 20 years, a rancher and a truck driver. He went from being a human bull dozer (he worked extremely hard everyday. He would do the work of 10 men and never ask for help) that’s why I always called him a human bull fixer. He wasn’t able to even lift his arm. He was such a proud man. The love of my life. We had been together for 38 years. We were planning our retirement when we got the diagnosed. Then on august 28, 2017 i lost my brother in law right in front of me. He was my big buddy. An awesome man. Then on September 10,2017 I lost my Mom. She was an Angel. My beat friend. I struggle everyday. I tell myself every morning that God promises he would never give us more than we can handle. Your stories are very inspiring. Even though our stories are different we are both struggling. Do you ever do shows in Oklahoma. I would love to see a live show and have the opportunity to meet you. God bless and keep on making me smile and laugh.

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  13. I have 11 tattoos and they all have a special meaning. Each one reminds me of a point in my life that was either sad or happy. I have one for when my god son Isaiah was born. It’s from the Bible. “ when you pass through deep waters I will be with you “ Isaiah 43:2
    I have lupus and the doctor have frowned appon me getting any more. Once my lupus is under control I have one that I made about my lupus. I can’t wait to get it!!! Thank you for all you do !! Your such a blessing

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  14. Heather, thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I’m going through a particularly hard time right now. Trying to make ends meet and after a mistake at work Friday, I could lose my job. To say the least, it’s been a blow to my self confidence and spirit. Reading your stories, helps tremendously to know that I’m not alone.

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  15. I love your meaning behind the arrows, and I think it’s beautiful 🙂 I have three tattoos myself: first one was the “I’m 20, I’m an adult, and I’ll do what I want” one, second was a matching tattoo with my mom to remind us of home…the third one was for me. I’m a survivor of sexual assault, so I decided to get a tattoo that was a chain: Teal ribbon, teal heartbeat, date I put the man (my step-dad) in jail, maroon heartbeat, and a maroon Superman symbol minus the diamond outline (meant to symbolize survivor). Maroon is one of my favorite colors, and I wanted the end of the tattoo to be a different color to symbolize change. No matter what tattoo I get next, this one will forever be my favorite.

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  16. One month after he was involved in a hunting accident, on our way to the ER, my husband died in my arms in the hospital parking lot. In that instant I became a 37 yo single parent and sole provider/decision maker for our family. I have struggled through days and conquered others and I am still figuring it all out almost two years later. We have one beautiful daughter who was almost four at the time of his death. I have been honest with her and make sure that she knows that it’s ok to be sad because Daddy’s gone, but it’s also ok to be happy because we are still so blessed and have so much to be grateful for. Even though we got sucker punched and knocked down, we have to get back up and press on. We are going to be ok, because we have a Lord that will carry us when we can’t stand and gives us the strength make it. So, a year after his death, I got my first tattoo. Two birds on my inner left ankle. I’m not sure why we were chosen for this path, but it is ours and it’s filled with endless possibilities. So like those little birds, I’m spreading my wings and learning to fly again.

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  17. I’m 65 and have 7 tattoos mostly military one is the reaper knowing we’ll all meet him at some time one is a patch of a military unit I was with in Thailand in 73 2 dragons and a skull with a ww2 leather flying helmet I started to get mine at 63 no regrets to the people who lost loved one and got a tatto to remember them I think that was great way to remember them and you have my condolences

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  18. I loved hearing your story! I am a fan of tattoos! I have two that are meaningful and that I thought long and hard about. The first one I got at 38 after a particular fall-on-your-face time in my life. It’s script on my foot that says “walk humbly”, from one of my favorite verses Micah 6:8. A good reminder for this girl to keep my heart squarely at Jesus’ feet. It’s the only way I can do life. The second one is a lotus flower on my wrist. That one I had done at 40 after completing school to become a Firefighter, one of the hardest seasons of my life. Nine months of grueling physical and mental work. (That’s another whole story). The lotus flower only grows in the mud. It’s strongest when it has adversity to push through. It represents strength and perseverance. Peace and love, Heather! I think you’re super great!

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  19. When I turned 18 I could not wait to get a tattoo. I wanted something small and hidden as I was going to college and didn’t want my parents to freak out since they were technically still supporting me. Also being 18 I wanted something sexy. So I chose to get a small strawberry slightly to the left of my right hip bone. Not just a strawberry but a strawberry with a bite taken out of it and couple drops of juice dropping down. Sexy right??? Haha. Well I was very pleased with my tattoo for several years. Then a few years after I was married and became pregnant with my first child, I realized my sexy strawberry was looking more like a tomato with a bite taken out of it and tomato juice dripping down. Not quite so sexy. My second pregnancy I “carried” my precious girl even lower which made my tattoo stretch even more! So even though I had no issues with dirty needles or infections (thank goodness) let my story be a lesson to 18 year olds who want a sexy tattoo in a provocative place. Your body will change and what is sexy at 18 is not as sexy after 2 kids and being a 39 year old mom!

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  20. Two years ago, my 32 year-old Iraqi war veteran son, Michael, passed away of heart failure caused by severe PTSD. The three arrows to me symbolize my family; my husband , my daughter and myself. We are headed into the future. I’m standing up for the families that love and support someone struggling with PTSD. The corner that I turned was the realization that I own my grief and the decision that came from that was, STOP. WALLOWING. GET. UP.
    God is my absolute source of hope and strength. Praise Him!

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  21. I am 47 and going through my second divorce. 😩. Not something I EVER imagined would happen. I thought we were happy with our 16 years and 2 more kids. So I am now finding myself single with 3 kids at home trying to be strong for them. I am also learning to love myself again. I thank you Heather for your videos that make us laugh and the blogs that share your story. I am stronger and happier. I have 3 tats now but this month will be getting a new one, a lotus flower. It’s a powerful reminder that beauty is born from dirt.

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  22. Almost 20 yrs I got a tattoo……..in the middle of my chest, just left of my right breast. It’s a target for the radiation I needed everyday for 6 weeks. I kid you not, it’s the size of a pinhead but that dang thing was so painful, I was screaming and swore I’d never get a “real” tattoo……and I’ve kept my word!

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  23. I don’t have any tattoos but thought about getting one after having a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Six surgeries later I decided not to. I went through so much with the surgeries that’s I just can’t take the chance. I love your videos. I discovered you last year when I was going through my dark days and you make me laugh!! Thank you for that, keep doing what you’re doing!!

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  24. 62 have many tattoo’s, Have a son and daughter in law who own a very awesome studio, both collage graduates, I work in a professional career. I love getting inked. Most of my friend in their 60’s have a tat or too. and you know what else, I love Jesus! I talk about Jesus. My ink does not defy me, my faith, integrity, my compassion for veterans and the love of my Flag and country. I say lets ink everyone. And you my friend rock! love love everything you post. God bless and Keep you safe!

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  25. I got my first ink 3 weeks ago. In Aug 2016 I was diagnosed with melanoma and 2 different kinds of breast cancer. I had a rose tattooed over the scar where the 1st melanoma was removed. I have plans for “the girls” too when those scars have fully healed. The 2nd melanoma is on the top of my forehead. I won’t be marking that one! 😜. I was lucky enough to have Deanna Smith from the current season of Inkmasters to do my rose. We plan on her doing “the girls” too!
    Ink on, but mean it. Also, no Franks!!!

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  26. Hey Heather , I love your video’s and all your stories of you ! I have one tat , thought about getting more , but every time I do I remember that pain and change my mind . Thank you for all you do and and I love your three arrows ! Please keep doing what you do !

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  27. Love your blog and your honesty. I have 4 tattoos, all of them from my son and all have tremendous meaning. I had him do my tattoos after he came out. I was struggling to find connection with him. He’s a PK and we were in a small southern town and our whole family was under attack. I had him tattoo YOU ARE on my wrist because when our kids were little my husband would hold their faces and tell them You Are… my tattoo is in his handwriting.

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  28. Heather, It amazes me how you rants, chants and now tats are so connected with my life and thoughts. I am 56 and at the young age of 40 my daughter had the grand idea of us to get matching tats . I have went through a long divorce and worried as any mother that it may hurt my daughter in some way . Only the opposite happened It had really only been the two of us even before I left my ex. We were always alone and the outcast. It was a tough job to be both Mom and Dad but we managed. There were days that when we came home in the evening, we woud hold our breath until we saw if the doorbell light was on to let us know the electricity had not been turned off because I needed just another day to pay the bill. She and I bonded, grew up , and helped each other through alot of hard times. Prior to us moving out, my father died of a heart attack and a year prior to that lost my mother to colon cancer. After my divorce I started dating and met what I thought was a great guy, but he ended up using us and could not be happy with just one woman. So.. yes a tat would be a great idea. Back to that – after an hour of my daughter trying to decide what we could get, she backed out on me. …. I had decided I was not going to leave there un-inked ! I found a heart that had wrapping twirls on the inside. The meaning of this symbol was on the sheet – ” Never forget your past ” … To me this was a loaded description of my life .. Loss, Love, Learning and move on. …. I am ready for antoher one. The relationship I have been in for the past 12 years ended a few months ago. I trusted this man with my whole heart and believed everything he told me. … We talked and talked about getting married, but something would always come up , his kids, his house, his parents, his ex…. Finally I asked to see the divorce papers …. there were none ! He finally admitted it was all a lie. So, my new tat will be an Anchor, with the words I wil not sink !
    Your arrows are great !!! Thank you for all you do and say . You do not know how uplifting it is to read things you write.

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  29. My son bought my first tat for my 50th birthday! To this day I believe he actually thought I wouldn’t do it – he got a surprise! The tatoo artist was kind although he did comment my gorgeous rose with a butterfly was “old school”. Hey, so am I.

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  30. My tattoos don’t really mean anything ( I can come up with something profound if pressed LOL) What I love about them is the memories of getting them. I got them with my BFF, or with friends that have moved on as we have grown up. I love the one I decided to get all on my own just because I was bored, my kids were with their Dad and I felt like being Jayme instead of Mom for an hour or two. I have faced backlash because I allowed my daughter to get one for her 16th birthday, and then watched as other Moms caved because “Hailey’s mom let her get one” My daughter and my niece have now made the decision to get “cousin tattoos” . They are 9 months apart and BFF’s so one will say “I will you keep safe” and the other is, ” I will keep you wild” and fits them perfectly. I love them all, even when I shake my head, and wonder what some people were thinking.

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  31. I have always been a tattoo person, but I never get one without meaning. My Mom found out she had cancer, stage 4, but decided to try chemo. After the third round, with no change, she quit. She kept going into the hospital and after the last time, she went to rehab and never came out. The most amazing thing was she died on her birth date and so to honor her life, I had the time she was born, with a EKG heartbeat, then the time she died tattooed on my outside arm. I get more questions about its meaning and my Mom’s memory lives on. I love tattoos and the beauty of a good memory.

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  32. Heather, I do not have any tatoos, and I don’t judge anyone who does. We just differ on an opinion. But I, too, am going through a difficult adjustment in life. After 32 yrs of marriage, I am leaving. I just ain’t doin this any more!! I’ve raised my kids and now is my opportunity to start over. (at 50+ yrs of age) It’s scary/overwhelming/exciting/nerve-wracking….you name it! loads of emotions. But your sense of humor is helping me! It’s reminding me to think, feel, breathe, laugh, forgive, love….and begin again, alone. This is all so new to me…But here I am!! Please, keep doing what you’re doing! Each time I listen to a post, it gives me a break….a humor break, that allows me some space to put aside all that worries me. Then, when I’ve watched it as many times as needed, I pick up where I left off, but the load just doesn’t seem as heavy! Thank you for that brief respite!!! God Bless you and your family!

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  33. Heather,
    Oh the pain and heartache we have all gone through and will continue to experience along our journey. The most awesome thing is that God brought your Facebook “I ain’t doin it” into my feed. You have made me laugh when my heart was truly breaking. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
    I don’t have a tattoo, I’ve thought about getting one but I’m too chicken. I’m afraid I’d get halfway through it and change my mind. But if I ever get brave enough, mine would just say, “New Beginnings”. And it would be a reminder of me being brave enough to walk away from a 29 year marriage to a cheating man. I stayed in that marriage affair after affair. Afraid to stand up for myself, feeling less confident, beautiful, worthy, needed, after each affair. Slowly watching myself wither away…drying up and dying…like a plant that was not being watered. The day I said, “I’m done” was the beginning of my journey back to finding me…my “New Beginnings”.
    Thank you for sharing your life, the good, the bad, the ugly…love ya!

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  34. I got my first two tattoos in my twenties as definitely rebellion. To state to the whole wide world what I identified myself with. Highly encouraged by the people I called friends after a particularly nasty divorce and an end to another ill advised relationship. Just 5 short years later, after another broken heart, I regretted it. Two cover-ups later and a renewed relationship with the ONE who really matters, I got a new one after the birth of my second child… a rugged wooden cross with a vine of new life wrapped around it, a Phoenix (beauty) rising from the ashes of my former life and last, a lion guarding a lamb… now everyone knows I love my Jesus, even if I can’t speak…

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  35. What an incredible group of strong, loving people! My first tattoo was/is in honor of my father. Initial diagnosis of leukemia he fought the good fight for one year. It did go into recession. When it returns they gave him a year. He chose not to do any treatments. He went with dignity Grace and love. A year after losing him lost one of my brothers. He struggled with drug addiction for the better half of 30 years and in the end he chose to end his battle by his own hand. I’m working on my new tattoo for me it is a status symbol of survival and strength. I’m a Survivor to ruptured cerebral aneurysms and a craniotomy now. By the sheer blessing of God himself and surrounding my life with laughter family and friends, I shall go on. God bless her for your strength and your humor and your ability to be real and humble.
    Thank you for sharing you with all of us!!

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  36. I am a tattooed mom as well…I desire another or five daily.
    I went out and got my first marking in honor of my 2 boys, my husband and I but most of all to remember all that we had been through and that we were all 4 still here. See, I had always wanted tattoos for as long as I could remember but hadn’t gotten any put of respect for my husband. But our oldest son tried to take his life and our world changed. When the Holy Sprit urged me to get up in the middle of the night and not leave Joshua, I didn’t understand, he was on Christmas break from college and all seemed “looked on the outside” great. But it was NOT, Joshua had tried to take his life before at college and no one had ever told us. He was a cutter also…we didn’t know. So much was revealed to us in the journey we faced after that night that changed our lives. We took him to a mental health facility and left him in their care. It was the hardest thing I had ever done to that point in my life…leaving him there. But God has a plan for Joshua and all of us. He came out better, on his way to healing and restorstion. A week after he got out I looked at my husband in bed and said I’m getting a tattoo…he just said do it. So, I got 2 feathers, one is much more worn and damaged than the other, both of my boys names and 5 birds on my right shoulder. The feathers represent my husband and I, there is a bird connecting my boys names (the Holly Spirit-always with them) and the 5 birds represent the 5 babies I’ve lost to miscarriages. It reminds me every day that we are all still here by the Grace and Love of Jesus!
    And it was the beginning of my tattoo journey as well. Joshua has 8 and desires sleeves and a large wing on his back to cover all of his cutting scars. We both take lots of ridicule, disappointment and there were even tears shed over our tattoos…but this is our journey and we are still moving forward.

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  37. I got my best friends name inside the batman symbol on my arm, it was where he had his only tattoo, and his favorite thing in the world was batman. he passed away a year ago. It has been the hardest thing, learning how to live without him. I feel I keep him with me with this reminder on my skin that someone loved me, every single thing about me, so fully. That is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes, being reminded of what I meant to him, and living life every minute knowing he would be proud of me. Rest in peace, brother.
    I would also like to thank you, Heather Land for your amazing funny videos that i cannot get enough of!! laughter is what we all need and thank you for it!!

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  38. Heather,
    I have 4 tattoos! All of them represent things dear to my heart, but the two that I wear on my back shoulder blades are my prizes. One is Samoan ink and is a fiery winged butterfly filled with Samoan symbols. This tattoo was designed by me to represent being a domestic abuse survivor! The second one represents the freedom that I now walk in and my passion for life! I am a travel nurse. My family and friends affectionately refer to me as their Gypsy Nurse, and the tattoo was designed as an original by me and a dear friend. I will cherish it forever!

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  39. I was one of those….I will never ever get a tattoo…..all my life I was a never getting one. I had a change of mind the year the miss America contestant came out wearing her scrubs and her stethoscope. In the days that followed and all the buzz about her wearing the Dr stethoscope…..bothered me. I am a nurse I to wear my stethoscope … And not once did a Dr own it. It is a part of who I am. Itbwasbseveral months in the making…. And I now proudly wear mine between my wrist and thumb…

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  40. So many beautiful stories …. we are all “Spiritual” beings on a human journey. I have 5 tats so far. All of mine are of the spiritual nature. When I was 45 I decided to get my first tattoo. The first one that I got on the right side of my neck says, “Child of God”. I put that where I could see it every day in hopes that I might somehow believe it. I have another one on the left side of my neck, “Raffaella” which means God with us. I won’t bore you with the others. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I love reading about women overcoming adversity. I, myself, am a survivor of child molestation, sex trafficking, multiple rapes, domestic violence, alcoholism, homelessness, mental illness, psy wards, hospitals, suicide attempt, jails, detention facilities as a youth, 13 foster homes in 9 years and on and on, so I was just basically just existing in life but not living. On February 14th, 2018 it will be 2 years since God rescued me, saved me, cleaned me up, put me on the right path and has continued to show me how to live as a daughter of the King. God and I will celebrate two years of freedom from alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships, abusive relationships, homelessness, jail, psy wards, promiscuity, hospitals with the DT’s, lying, detox centers, stealing, cheating, isolating, full of fear, complete hopelessness, and just wanting to die every day. I have never known that life could be like this and all the praise, glory and honor go to my Father, for without Him, I truly am nothing. Thanks for sharing y’all

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  41. I just love your videos and insta. Today is the first time I’ve read ur blog. Great story. My daughter who is getting ready to turn 26 next month is going thru some tough life decisions. She is a college graduate with a degree in modern language concentration in Spanish. She studied abroad in Argentina and then after graduating she moved there for 1 year teaching English at an institution there. She got TEFL certified (teaching English as a foreign language). She too got a tattoo there. Who knows the sterilization. After that she moved back home and could not find a whole lot to do with teaching in the US because she didn’t have a teaching degree. Well in reality she was going thru a culture shock. About 6 months later, she packed up some of her favorite things and traveled across the US. From SC to CA in a tent. She would stop along the way and camp at an RV Park by HERSELF. Now she lives in Colorado and can not for the life of her figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life. I just have to give her pep talks via text or phone calls because we live in SC and still work full time. I will get this shirt for her. She will have a great ending but it will take time.
    Thanks for sharing and sorry for the long comment

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  42. Ok so I teared up reading that.
    I have a dragonfly tattoo on my ankle. Got it last year. Hurt like a mother. But that’s not what brought the waterworks.
    Husband left me after 30 years and my last surgery for reconstruction after a double mastectomy from BC. He changed. Mid life crisis? Who knows. Loved his work more than me. And too close to his female business partner. I filed in Dec.
    Your 3 arrows and words about them. Remind me to keep going. That God has some crazy plan for me. My 3 adult sons are awesome and I have lots to be grateful for.
    It’s 8:15 am and I’m gonna get out of bed now and start another day….thank you for giving me a laugh this morning and reminding me that I’m strong enough.

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  43. I went through the last year and a half with supreme brokenness and only by God’s Grace and mercy came out of it. I know I’ll never be the same but I have learned a lot about love, abuse, hatred and many thing’s no one should ever have to experience, if someone loves you. Red lights were there (God was telling me), I was only listening to me and what I wanted. I have learned that if God is not in your mate’s vocabulary….run!!!! Never look back no matter how painful. I have also witnessed the same and worse circumstances happen to my best friend. It was horrific to say the least and she didn’t even want to live. Today we are survivors of a “True Love” gone really bad💔. You never really get over that but you grow and move on whether you like it or not! I listen more intently to hear God speak to me, I know the consequences of the opposite of that, 😞. I hope to see you live and in person soon. Your Friend In Christ’s Love, KB

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    1. You’re right, you never really “get over it” but you do move on. And there are a lot of beautiful things waiting for you and your friend in the moving on. Thanks for your story. Hang in there.

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