It is finished. Paid in full. It is a Greek word and it is what Jesus said on the cross just before He died, bearing all our sins for all eternity. And it is what I got tattooed onto my wrist where I used to cut. In my 19 years of going to church I don’t ever remember hearing the word. It wasn’t until listening to a sermon of my preacher uncle that I was awakened to its wonder. The second I heard him use it and give its definition, I knew that would be my tattoo. For years now I’ve been planning and plotting and sketching and doodling what my tattoo would be.
I first started cutting right after turning 13, although I didn’t really understand why. After a few months I stopped and was clean for just over a year. I started again in about January of 2009 and it got worse and worse from there. I was at my “peak”. I cut constantly. That year I had been clean was the year I spent watching other people get into what I had been in, it was the year the emo reign really took over, and it was the year I had my “official rebellion” and just stopped caring. I went all out. I wore mostly black and neons. I had bracelets 8 inches up both arms and inch thick winged eye liner. I wrote depressing poetry and death notes (not to be confused with suicide notes, although I did write two or three of those). And all the while I was going to church, reading my Bible, raising my hands, etc. But maybe not for every single service.I walked a beautiful fine line. There’s a lot more to it than that but I’ll save the full story for another time. Anyway, I started tapering off at the end of 2009 and the cutting just became occasional in early 2010.
When I started designing my tattoo I initially wanted to have the first initial of every person I ever knew that cut. That list reached the point where it would have turned my wrist tattoo into a sleeve. The potential tattoo took on many forms over the years and at times was very detailed and elaborate. Especially after I quit cutting for good, because the tattoo was going to be my visual testimony and conversation starter. It had to be perfect. When I heard “Tetelestai” I was sold. It was one word. So simple. But it packed possibly more meaning than any other word ever will. So now I walk around with the Greek spelling of the word tattooed across my wrist. And since getting it done, about 3 months ago, I’ve been able to share bits of my story with several people. It’s a beautiful constant reminder everyday.