As many of you know I'm not the "my body is a temple" type. Tattoos, piercings, brands, cuts, and sometimes play piercing are not uncommon to my flesh. All of my tattoos have been thought out, real feeling too them, but I can't say some of the sessions haven't been "pain therapy". Whenever I am depressed, sad, generally upset with my life, I desire a tattoo. I rarely desire piercings, too little pain and "effort" into such a large thing for me. But seriouslly, I find the pain of a tattoo needle, therapeutic. Maybe it is something with focusing on pain for a couple hours, verses whats up with my life at the time. I take anti-depressants, I make no secret of that, I've done the shrink thing, I talk to my parents openly about my feelings, hell if joe schmo on the street walked up and asked if I was heavily depresesd at the moment I'd probably tell him my life story. What do I have to hide? Should I be ashamed of who I am or how I feel?(both rhetorical) I don't cry, I have a limited capacity for it. Sometimes I seem horribly uncompassionate because of it. You can generally tell by my behavior if I am depressed or angry, but for the most part I don't show much emotion outwardly. Tell me my grandmother just died and I will have the same look I did 10 minutes ago. I'll say "that sucks" in an unconvincing tone. Its not that I don't care its just... me. Its the way I've been since who knows when. I cried a lot when I was young... a lot. I guess I'm cried out now. Everytime I get tattooed I feel better about myself. I'm tall, skinny, and very white. I earned(note EARNED) the nickname "Powder" in school after I shaved my head recently. Every time I get a tattoo I feel far better about myself. I get a self image boost out of them. I truly feel my self image is much better than it was 2 years ago. I attribute it to the tattoos. When I look at myself in a mirror I no longer see my bowed calf bones(though they are still weird), or my one anomylous rib that protrudes out farther than the rest. I look at the naked demon on my ribs, resting her head softly in her own arms, sleeping away on top of a mountain. Free and unworried. I look at the designs on my back and just smile. Anytime I question my religious beliefs(or lack of) I think of the piece on my back and ponder its different pieces. The rest just make me feel good, they don't have the meaning those 2 pieces do but I feel good about them. The thing is that my tattoos are much more than just the self conciousness booster I noted, sitting in the chair getting them made me feel so much better too. I remember that when I look at them. If I'm depressed, I get a tattoo. I not only feel better about myself but something about the pain is enjoyable, its sustained feeling in a way I can't relate. Its something I don't understand. It makes me feel, not just pain, but feel something else. I never walk out of a tattoo session depressed or angry. I never walk out all upset and wishing I could cry. I only walk out wondering when the next time I will do it is. Do you guys think this "pain therapy" is unhealthy? I'm hoping you take this seriouslly and don't just say I'm some masochistic freak. I can assure you I'm not. I have a threshold for pain above many peoples, but I don't derive sexual pleasure or even imense pleasure from it most of the time. Hell I hate to have my nipples bitten(like you needed to know that). Tshy raised the comment that I get tattooed "to feel and rival the status quo". I don't think it nearly the rebelious thing she does. Maybe initially. I could care less if its accepted, I get angry at people who put people with tattoos down for certain. I'll be nothing but angry if(when) I am discriminated against for my tattoos. As of yet all I've gotten is people who I laughed off when they kind heartdly gave me crap about it. Sure I derive some pleasure from the shock value stuff. Take off my shirt, or stretch and hearing someone go "you're tattooed?", smile and pull off the shirt to show I'm "more" than just tattooed. I like to think of it that way, I don't know if its making more of the ink in my skin or what. I guess its showing off... thats the young in me I guess. I keep my shirt on most of the time anymore. I'd rather keep my work to myself most of the time. I'd rather sit and stare in a mirror at the face on my ribs than have some person just say "thats cool, but I like the tribal like thing on your back better" eh I'm ranting and raving now... lots of personal crap in here, hope some of it makes sense or that any of you bother to read it. even if not I feel better for saying it.