Monday was P.INK Day at Saved Tattoo. I was one of 10 tattoo artists paired with breast cancer survivors or previvors to tattoo over mastectomy and/or breast reconstruction scars. A previvor, for those of you that don’t know, is someone who has undergone surgery before they have been diagnosed with cancer as a preventative way to deal with a genetic predisposition to cancer. The event was made possible by the incredible P.INK organization, which I look forward to working with again. The organization really did a wonderful job of scheduling, being in touch with all of us ladies participating, being mindful of what an intimate procedure this type of thing is, catering to the needs of all involved…it was a spectacular event all the way around. So, Jenna, Jillian, Nikki, Courtney, Noel, Adam, Nathan, Stacia, Libby, Molly, Stacy, David, Azmina, Kendall, John, Kate, Katie, Scott, and all the amazing people at the P.INK Day Crew, thank you!
I would like to extend my gratitude to Saved Tattoo for opening their shop to all of us in such a beautiful way. They have a gorgeous shop and phenomenal artists there. Please go check them out and get tattooed! Big, huge, ginormous thanks to all my fellow artists! Working alongside these truly talented, compassionate women was a great honor for me: Stephanie Tamez, Virginia Elwood, Ashley Love, Michelle Tarantelli, Roxx, Shannon Purvis Barron, Nikki Lugo, Miranda Lorberer, Jen Carmean.
Most of all, THANK YOU to the inspirational survivors and previvors who were courageous enough to be involved. It is extremely difficult to go through the emotional heartaches and physical hardships they have endured; participating in this event means they’ve further subjected themselves to opinions (and often times ridicule) of the public at large concerning a topic that is still very taboo in many places and mind-sets.
Without going full-blow Anthro-Joy on this post, and conceding that I am making generalizations and acknowledging exceptions to every rule, our world is dominated by ridiculous standards of superficial beauty. Many of us, myself included, grow up feeling sub-par due to the images and ideals by which we are bombarded. It takes many years (if it ever happens) to overcome this “ideal” and recognize that our beauty is, in fact, individual. Now, imagine you’ve finally come to peace with your own body. You are happy in your own skin…a miracle! Then you are diagnosed with breast cancer and discover you must drastically alter a feature that is inherent to your gender. It is part of your identity, your womanhood, sexuality, etc. Breasts are the focus of so much in this society. Make them bigger, make them smaller, change the shape of the areolae, hoist them up, flash them to the crowd, buy this bra, buy that bathing suit! It’s exhausting and confusing. Combine the pressure of trying to live up to an unattainable standard of beauty with the feat of going through losing the idea of one’s self while just trying to stay alive and fight cancer. Somehow, after all of that, there are women who are willing to publicly share their journey in both words and pictures! The entire thing is incredible and I hope to have a fraction of the strength they have throughout my life when I am struck with my own obstacles. I will leave it at that…for now.
This is the first tattoo over a breast reconstruction I did back in October 2007.
Tuesday, I joined Noel Franus, from the P.INK Organization, and Megan Hartman, the amazing, sassy, brave previvior I was paired with for this event, at the Huff Post Live studios for an interview about the charity event, breast cancer awareness, and issues surrounding tattooing over mastectomy and/or breast reconstruction scars. Please check out the links below. The entire interview is a little over 26 minutes; Huff Post also did a shorter one minute-ish version, which is the second link. If you or someone you know is interested in having tattoo work done over mastectomy/reconstruction, please get in touch with myself or another artist familiar with this procedure, check out the P.INK artists recommendations, contact the survivors and previvors through P.INK for support, just get involved!