“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.” - Ludwig Wittgenstein
The human soul is an invisible aura that surrounds us and consumes us. It is our essence. It is who we are. But it has no form, until it finds a body to hold on too. Each body is unique and what we do with that body to express our soul is all our choice.
Our bodies are meant to be our own. They are what we should be most happy with. They should be showing the person that it is inside. How that is done is different for everyone. Hair can change, nails, jewelry, piercings, tattoos… Just an endless amount of possibilities to express ourselves.
“Hair is just one way of expressing ourselves. We express ourselves through how we dress or through tattoos or body art or piercings or cosmetic surgery.” - Linda Evangelista.
I change my hair a lot. Sometimes I grow it long. My competitive image was long dark hair, almost always completely straight. I had injury hair, short with straight bangs. I had post competition season hair, long with highlights of whatever colour I was feeling at the time. Now it seems I identify with short hair and a red tint. It is just what I like.
My favourite way to truly express my soul is through tattoos. I love looking at tattoos. I love hearing the stories behind the tattoos. I find body art truly incredible. Always so intrigued by the beauty and the history.
I have four tattoos right now. I will most likely end up with more. Still looking at adding to some. Each one special in one way or another. Some are defining who I am and what I’ve done. Some are reminders to myself for positivity and reminders of strength that I’ve had. Some seem random, but it is something that is a part of me and has memories behind.
Here are mine and the stories they have:
My first tattoo. My Olympic Rings. I got this tattoo the summer following the 2014 Olympics. It was a tattoo I told my parents I was getting the minute I found out that I had a chance of making it. It was my first and the most painful. And it holds so many memories. While getting this tattoo, I had a stress fracture on my left foot, so that's how it ended up on my right ankle. After getting that tattoo, I told my mom I wasn't competing anymore if I get injured again. I ended up breaking my leg. Following surgery, my doctor informed me they had to cut through my tattoo. I panicked. I was guaranteed it was mangled. If you look closely, the one ring is not even, but I appreciate the story it holds now. Proves that the Olympics took work and pain. Made the special moments more incredible.
The second tattoo that I got was very fun and very special. My sister, Natasha, has always been an incredible inspiration. She was the reason I began skating and the reason I fought so hard to be good. I wanted to be just like my sister. I am so glad that I have her in my life and that we have always been so close. Natasha and I went in to get these tattoos when she came to visit me, going into my second last year competing. I got Little Sis on my ribs and she got Big Sis on her foot. I am proud to be her little sister and I love that no matter where I am, I am always reminded that she is there.
My third tattoo was a slight rebellion. It was a few days after I got home from the 2018 Olympics. I was in the midst of an emotional rollercoaster. The extreme highs of Olympics, the hype, and the medals, was very soon connected to the crash of exhaustion, confusion, and stress. The Olympics were over and they were incredible, I didn't know how much more I could take. I knew I had Worlds coming up and I didn't believe I had the energy to get there. This tattoo came as a secret and adrenaline rush. It gave me something that wasn't competing for a minute. It made me feel like a total bad ass and that is what I needed right then. Maybe that was my World Championship secret.
And my fourth tattoo. One I got halfway through the Rock the Rink tour. Struggling with transition and learning who I am not as a competitive skater. I lost sight of who I was and didn't know how to rediscover myself. I was losing my love for skating. Starting to resent it actually. I kept comparing. Kept judging. Losing more and more of myself everyday. Until one day, things began changing. I started laughing again. I started smiling easily. I started feeling like I belonged without trying. Not trying was the biggest release I needed. Feeling like I was on cloud nine, halfway through a show, I messaged my tattoo artist and described what I wanted, picked a font, and a week later it was on my arm. Always a daily reminder to be who I am and love who I am.
I am not saying go out and get yourself covered in tattoos, unless that is what you want to do. Use clothes, use hair die, get your ears pierced. Maybe it's nothing. Maybe the best way to express who you are in to embrace your natural beauty that you were given. Just embrace your beauty the way you want to be seen. I love words and stories, and I had lying.
Body art to me, means having my truth expressed on my skin.