"Today I can look at my inner forearms and see art that has meaning for me," the 18-year-old wrote. She then alluded to her history of mental health struggles and self-harm, which included a suicide attempt in 2013: "I don't see a dark past anymore. My scars and past of self-hatred have been covered by loving marks, creativity, ingenuity...and depth." Jackson posted her heartfelt explanation alongside a photo of her gazing steadily into the camera.
People who have struggled with self-harm may choose to tattoo over their scars in order to avoid the stigma attached to them and, more importantly, to demonstrate their progress toward recovery. A 2015 study even found that women with more tattoos were more likely to have attempted suicide. The researchers suggested that acquiring multiple tattoos may be how some women "restore emotional losses."
Jackson ended her post with a message of strength and support for her peers: "I'll always keep fighting, and encouraging others to stay strong... So to anyone struggling, it gets better. You're not alone."
Read Jackson's post in full below.
the craftsmanship of tattoos will always be a controversy. some people like them, some people absolutely hate them. i appreciate art, i always have. especially when that art means something to me. today i can look at my inner forearms and see art that has meaning for me, i don't see a dark past anymore. my scars and past of self-hatred have been covered by loving marks, creativity, ingenuity.. and depth. sure i will always carry my past with me, but i see ink as a way of changing for the better, always improving. they represent strength for me. i look back at my old self and then i look in the mirror, and i see a fighter looking back at me. i'll always keep fighting, and encouraging others to stay strong. we all go through hell every now and then but it makes us the warriors of love we were meant to be. so to anyone struggling, it gets better. you're not alone.
If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.