Intended for Mature Audiences
With everything I have learned in life, the most important is this single statement: What you do for a living does not define your worth.
For years I believed quite the opposite. I had to be an independant woman, tough, hold my own, make money and be brave. The tattoo industry is associated with a lot of those things, which is why I fell in love with the idea. It would make me who I thought I always wanted to be. I was going to be someone. I was different, unique and I did not care at what cost my career would take, but I wanted to succeed.
When I first entered the tattoo industry, I was viewed as an asset, I was a woman, with above average looks, and I wasn’t shy. I was willing to do anything to achieve my goals, and the people who did not agree with what it took to get there were quickly discarded. I treated people like crap, and did not care, because I believed it was every man for himself. Selfish living was a huge part of my lifestyle. I was willing to degrade myself as long as it meant I was one step closer to achieving that rock star status of tattoo artist.
I lived with my boyfriend at the beginning of my apprenticeship, and when he displayed dislike for drinking, I hardened towards him. When I found a man who did not care how I conducted myself, I discarded the first disapproving man and entered into another relationship. By this time I was tattooing, and had left one shop because I felt they did not honor my skill level and I was enduring sexual abuse at the hands of my mentor. When the next boyfriend’s behavior threatened my comfort level, and his abuse became too angering, I discarded him with the help of another man and entered into yet another relationship. I was comfortable at a new shop and doing well. I had more friends than I could count, and could live my life with what I viewed as no repercussions. During all of this, I had been proposed to twice. And on both accounts I had agreed and yet it didn’t work out. Maybe because I did not know how to be a wife, or the thought revolted me. I carried marriage in a basket with a black towel over it. I only uncovered the thought when it seemed safe and non-threatening to my self image.
I knew that marriage takes a lot of work, I have never been blind to the effort it takes to stay together, because most of the marriages in my family had failed. Deep in my heart I knew that this job was not conducive to raising a family, and I had been with so many men I had a feeling I would never experience real true love. I made the decision to pour my heart into art and tattooing instead of worrying about who I would marry and if I would have children.
I have raised a few children in my day, and the experiences I have had lend nothing to this post except for the fact I vowed to never have a child while living the tattoo artist life style. I would not be present in my child’s life and it would be unfair. When I was told that due to my PCOS and Endometriosis, conceiving would be difficult, I wrote off the thought entirely. I lived fully for myself with no worries of what the future held. I did not go out of my way for others unless I perceived it may benefit me somehow. My life seemed like it was lined up before me.
It was in the fall of 2011 That I got accepted into a shop of somewhat prestigious report. It was there I had a new boyfriend, and was convinced I was finally going to make it big. I had been soured to tattoo shops and burned many bridges before due to not fitting the mold they had set for me. I thought here would be different.
Boy was I wrong.
I had a moniker I made for myself. Genocide Elle or Miss Elle
I was trying to develop a persona, a character I wanted to be that was going to help me rise to the top. No insecurities, no fears. But it is here at this very shop where my whole world changed.
They started to break down my morale. I was told my art style was not preferred and I should be more like “Kelly Doty”. They were hiding my portfolio, stealing my clients and all around treating me less than desireable. At the same time, I was with a very emotionally abusive man. My entire facade of this independant woman, who had it all together was slowly being stripped from me by the cruelty I endured from others. I was no longer in control. I became even more hateful ,spiteful and vengeful towards the thought of love and marriage. I hated the thought of opening myself to anyone.
I had made the decision I was going to leave my current boyfriend, kick him out, and just do my thing with side sexual affairs that would never amount to a relationship. I figured that was safest. After all, the amount of sexual appeal and freedom in the tattoo industry stated I could do whatever I wanted. I was becoming exhausted with this life. I had attempted suicide twice in the midst of all this, and by the grace of God, I did not succeed. Honestly, I owe it all to my dog. God gave me a heart for animals and it was this trait that kept me around long enough to meet Jesus right where I was.
There is a lot of history in here that you’re missing out on, and I will elaborate on each when the time comes. There’s one man in particular that changes my entire outlook on life. And when we met, I was still a tattoo artist, still not interested in relationships and still struggling to achieve the title of “Best Artist in Toledo.” I had a big ego in those days, but it was only a shield to hide the insecurities I truly had deep down. All I really wanted was to be loved, and feel a purpose I didn’t have to struggle to achieve. I thought tattooing came easy to me, and the simple act of tattooing and the procedure to preform it had. But the simple act of living in that industry was never easy. I fought tooth and nail every inch of the way and I was growing tired of the constant battles.
Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for the last two installments. You’re about to find out what happened that made this person into a traditionalist housewife in just one year.
XOXO Sweet Baby Cadillac