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All over the world, different cultures use tattoos as a form of body art. In fact, evidence suggests that the ancient art of tattooing began between 3370 BC and 3100 BC, after the discovery of tattoos on a mummified corpse. Historically, primarily done for spiritual and religious purposes, decorating one’s body with tattoos has become a means of self-expression and individuality. In today’s culture, it is widely popular and even fashionable, becoming mainstream via inked celebrities, like Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Justin Bieber, and Angelina Jolie, to name a few. They are featured all over social media and advertising content among fashion brands–think Calvin Klein!

Personally, I never thought I would get a tattoo. Making decisions has never been an easy feat for me, especially permanent ones. Yet, at the age of 31, with my 10-year marriage falling apart at the seams, I realized that things I thought would be forever, were not; and so I started to see my life and my body, as temporary, as well. I was desperate for an escape from my emotional pain and in dire need of beginning the process of recreating myself. No longer wanting to fit the mold of the quintessential stay-at-home mom, I opted for a different look; something edgier, mysterious, and interesting. I wanted the tattoos to be a reminder and to tell my story.

My first piece, the Serenity Prayer on my rib cage, made me feel liberated. I had made a decision, and I was happy with it. “Serenity to accept. Courage to change. Wisdom to know.” After that, I was hooked, and continued to add to my collection. A floating monarch butterfly (for my grandmother) flanking my abdomen, “La Vie Est Belle” (Life is Beautiful) on my back, an anchor I share with my best friend on my left wrist, glyph symbols: “explore, create, transform, understand” — inside my right arm, music notes behind my right ear, the word faith on my left foot (walk by faith), and the Hebrew word, Ruach, meaning spirit, on the back of my neck. Each tattoo I got coincided with a specific event in my life that I wanted to remember, and each piece holds special meaning to me. I placed each one in a spot which I felt best suited my body, the artwork and the meaning behind it. My favorite: a skull on the lower right side of my back that I got the weekend my husband moved out of our house. It was the “death” of my old life; foreshadowing many events to come as I began my transformation — emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

My appreciation and love for my artwork plays a role when it’s time to shop. I love shopping for formal events, in particular, where I enjoy finding something that reveals a little exposure of my tattoos, like when they’re peeking out from angles of a beautiful dress! Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself walking past a mirror and I think to myself that my tattoos are my best accessories—and to think at one point I never thought I would get them!

 

By Melissa Warner

Always up for a challenge, and pushing her limits, Melissa has surpassed 1200 Orangetheory classes and 2 NPC bikini-level bodybuilding competitions. As she has truly put performance athleisure to the test, Melissa brings her experience and her eye for quality and style to the table as a Buyer for JeliCrush. Consistent with her creativity and elevation mindset, she created her jewelry line, A11ure – featuring her custom designed and hand-crafted bracelets.

 

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