Not Just Roses & Regrets, Tattoos Are a Way to Reclaim Your Body


When so many other channels through which I’ve spoken to my body have been negative, tattooing is a source of power and positivity; it’s self care as buzzing needles instead of glittery bath bombs. Tattooing has become a channel into a different kind of relationship with my body—one where I choose what and where beauty is, what to celebrate and even what color to celebrate it in. Tattoos are a form of control over my body; I decide when they become what they are.

I realize the great range of tattoos; how they can be in memory of. Or they can be because it’s always struck me or it’s always been my favorite. How they can be fuck it, why not. And by now, I have a few of each. Always, though, my tattoos—or fattoos, as I lovingly call them—are a celebration of my body, of art, of experience and my connection with another human being, a place, a time.

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Every day, people go to tattoo artists wanting to camouflage their fatness and their scars, their strange quirks. They’re anxious about the way their tattoo will change if their body grows or shrinks, or ages. Tattooing is a way to cover what people see as their flaws. My artist, Cat Houngsombath, who works at Resistance Tattoo Parlor, says, "People get tattoos to distract. You think no one’s ever going to look you in the eyes again. Then you get that one person who's like wow, your eyes are really blue."

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You will be seen. No matter how you wear your hair or do your make up or dress or what tattoos you have. This is the good part. This is part of why, regardless of the conversation you’re having with your body through tattooing, it’s a way to reclaim confidence and power—because it’s about the way it makes you feel. So, choose an artist you love or a shop you happened to find; the perfect time, a drunken night or the space where they coincide; a sacred spot on your skin, your friend’s wrist, the inside of your lip. Talk to your body. Say, how perfect.

Angela Corbett is from Ohio. She’s never met anyone famous. She received her MFA at CSU, Fresno where she served as the Associate Fiction Editor and Managing Web Editor for the The Normal School. Her short story, "Grievers" won the 2015 Sonora Review Fiction Contest judged by Stuart Dybek, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also published at and has a piece forthcoming in Sequestrum. She likes the circus, food accessories and octopuses—they have three hearts.