“I also have a dragon that curves around my right hip, down to my knee, where I had rods surgically inserted into my femur to support my bones, where the cancer had spread; this hides the scars. To me, dragons symbolize spring, generosity, independence, free-mindedness, and creativity. I’m also right-handed, so having the dragon on my dominant side is also significant.” —A.J.
“My tattoos are part of who I am as a woman, kind of like my scars have become. As an artist and as a woman living with metastatic breast cancer, I have a story to tell, and I just happen to wear my story on my skin. I’ve spent my 21-year career in the field of tattooing, so not every tattoo has an intention behind it. They do, however, all speak to me. They serve as reminders of where I was at any given moment, physically or mentally, over the last 20 years, as well as how far I’ve come in life. Some of my favorites are my children’s names, my grandparents’ portraits, and the Hindu god Ganesha—the remover of obstacles—on my throat, which I got just after my terminal breast cancer diagnosis. —Beth Fairchild
(Editor’s note: Read more of Beth’s story—and see more of her tattoos—here.)
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