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Getting rid of my Scarlet Letter

Poppy704 posted 2/6/2020 08:09 AM

One of XHs post-A requirements was that I got a tattoo of his name. I was never a tattoo person and never had ANY interest in getting them before that or after this one, but I submitted. It is rather large and would be hard to ignore in intimate situations, but not difficult to hide publicly It is not something I would recommend to any WS, because while it is an outward sign of showing your commitment to reconciling it is also a constant visual reminder for both parties and in my particular case was more a punitive, shaming measure than a healing one.

Now post divorce, still healing and trying to improve myself as a person, Im in a place where I feel that if Im going to have a tattoo it should be something I feel positive about rather than a Scarlet Letter that Im dragging into my new life with me.

This isnt something I can discuss IRL because my loved ones cannot understand that I do still have mixed feelings about whether I deserve to be rid of it, and that I still struggle with feelings of sadness and failure even though law enforcement, legal professions and mental health professionals all agree that it was and continues to be abusive.

hikingout posted 2/6/2020 08:47 AM

maybe you can get something done over top of it? Something that signifies something meaningful to you, about this being your journey and your journey only, about gaining a sense of self.

I 100 percent believe you should do that, and I can understand the mixed feelings about it. But, the overriding one has to be shame and a reminder of a lot of ugliness. No sense in cultivating ugly in your new life.

I would recommend removal but it's so much more expensive and painful, and usually only fades the tatoo, you often can still see the traces of it even after the many treatments. I would go and work with an artist on what you are trying to accomplish. A phoenix rising or a lotus flower or some sort of other symbol that is more about power, strength, renewal, healing, whatever resonates with you. I have a friend that has a mini mural that has many of these types of things mixed in. With also a symbol for her son, and two aunts that were important to her that passed.

MrCleanSlate posted 2/6/2020 08:52 AM

Poppy,

I would agree that 'submitting' to be tattoo'd was entirely wrong. It doesn't matter what the tattoo is.

My BW and I chose to get our first tattoo's on our arms about a year and a half after D-Day. Sort of a re-commitment to our M. They are song verses that we each chose that we felt were meaningful to each other. Those are not 'scarlet letters'.

Are you saying you are planning to have the tattoo removed or covered up? If so I think you should. It was not something you chose.

Poppy704 posted 2/6/2020 08:55 AM

I have an artist working on a sunflower cover up. Sunflowers are a thing between myself, my mother and my daughter, and more and more they are becoming a little pop of happiness in the decorations that we choose for our new home too.

hikingout posted 2/6/2020 08:58 AM

oh, good. I think that will be pretty, and it will be a good step towards your healing. We don't have to keep being who we were, you totally deserve to move forward. I hope that helps you.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:58 AM, February 6th (Thursday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 2/6/2020 09:23 AM

I love the idea of a sunflower to cover up the old tattoo. I have a photo of a sunflower that one day will become a tattoo for me. It too shares a meaning between my mom and I. I hope you can feel a new sense of happiness for your life going forward when you look at it.

MrCleanSlate posted 2/7/2020 10:38 AM

Keep in mind that yellow tattoo ink tends to fade and is not so good at covering up other colours.

JBWD posted 2/7/2020 11:17 AM

Tattoos can be so hazardous!

Still seeing the matching tattoo I have with the woman I betrayed is a frequent source of emotion. I know it hurts her as well.

These are all really good discussions on how to really transform- Knowing that regardless of how beautiful it becomes, youll know and recall theres something beneath. It certainly places a potential extra barrier to a healthy respect for our past without letting it dominate/overwhelm...

Can I ask who first phrased it as your scarlet letter?

Poppy704 posted 2/7/2020 19:43 PM

The specific literary reference is my own. But the concept has been discussed with XH extensively.

Initially the idea was presented as a kind of test of my devotion, would I get his name on me? The plan was also that we would BOTH get tattoos, and then he just didnt. I of course could not press the issue. Later on it was something that was thrown in my face, he chose the location so that if I was ever intimate with another man theyd have to see his name and Id know that and be humiliated . After the divorce he mentioned repeatedly that I could never be rid of the outward sign of my wrongdoings, and just as youd said, that it we would both know it was underneath of I covered it.

Poppy704 posted 2/7/2020 19:45 PM

MrCleanState: I actually discussed that with my artist! Hes working to incorporate the old lettering into stems and vines and a kind of floral filler, along with the centers of the sunflowers. It will have a kind of wildflower bouquet from a field feeling.

Justsomelady posted 2/7/2020 20:06 PM

Later on it was something that was thrown in my face, he chose the location so that if I was ever intimate with another man theyd have to see his name and Id know that and be humiliated . After the divorce he mentioned repeatedly that I could never be rid of the outward sign of my wrongdoings, and just as youd said, that it we would both know it was underneath of I covered it.

Sheesh that is so messed up and controlling. Branding you. Good for you getting the revamp. Vines and wildflowers sound pretty!

JBWD posted 2/9/2020 13:32 PM

...theyd have to see his name and Id know that and be humiliated...

Im so sorry you had to live through that. In your discussions I assume he was enthusiastic about it being a scarlet letter. That all sounds horrible.

Even if the reminders werent under our skin theyre in our minds. Were always living with our pasts and I think its wonderful that we can look to transform those as we incorporate them but put them in their place...

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