Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mastectomy Tattoos and P.INK

Firstly, I want to share the first installment of an article written by Skin Deep Magazine about P.INK and P.INK Day 2013.  You can see and read the first part of the article here.  My favorite part of this article is where they talk at the end about one of my P.INK sisters, Mari, and how Mari before tattoos is a different Mari than after her tattoos.  P.INK, maybe unknown to the project at the time, changed a lot of people in a lot of ways.  Mari and I would argue, I bet, that P.INK changed a lot of people for the better.

Well, friends, I believe I am a different Megan also.  Before my tattoos I didn't know if talking about a mastectomy and breasts was in some way indecent or inappropriate.  I always felt a yearning to share my story but at the same time I was cautious because I didn't want to make a situation awkward.  I didn't/don't want pity and I also didn't want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private body parts; regardless of the fact that the conversation would not be at all sexual.  I felt uncomfortable telling my colleagues of my leave of absence in order to have a mastectomy because I would not only be talking about breasts, but MY breasts.  I felt timid about sharing my story at the Relay for Life event where hundreds of my own students were in attendance.  Could I get fired for talking about my breasts? 

I went to New York for P.INK Day 2013 with the intention of not allowing pictures and never sharing my new ink with anyone but the three people in my household.  I left New York with my breasts splashed across the Internet from Huffington Post to Pinterest.  I also left and basically lifted up my shirt for anyone I felt would not call the cops on me.

I have an old friend that is a phenomenal photographer.  Christin Lewin who owns Captured by Christin, specializes in infant photography.  But I asked her if she would take some shots of my new ink so I could commemorate this year, this experience and this body.  My stomach will change and my foobs (fake boobs) will change, so I wanted pictures now so I could remember why I did this and the feeling of freedom and pride I had and have after getting P.INK'd.

Secondly, I want to share some of my photos compliments of Captured by Christin.  I love my tattoos.  I love my body and the way my scars are there and visible, as a gentle reminder, but so is an amazing amount of beauty and femininity.  Before I was tattooed I was "different".  I joked about my albino nips, but inside, it was a source of insecurity.  Now, I'm putting pictures of myself, half naked, on the Internet.  Right or wrong, the Megan before P.INK Day 2013 is very different than the Megan that come home.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.