It was something like February 25th, the day after my 18th birthday, and my Mom had given me 100 bucks. I remember being in the car, smoking weed with a few friends, headed to Venice beach. We were on the way to the tattoo parlor so I could get my first tattoo.
The tattoo wasn’t planned. The idea was not pre-meditated, and neither were many of the ideas I possessed during that period of my life. My foster Mom of 12 years had given up guardianship two years prior because of my drug abuse. Even my friends paused for a moment when I told them I was going to “commit” to being stoned for the rest of my life. I think even the tattoo artist was shocked at the idea.
Six years clean, I sit at the dinner table of the student apartment I occupy. My roommates are in eyesight, and no one’s smoking weed. Mentally, I’m sound. Physically, I’m fit. Emotionally, I’m opening up. The tattoo remains. Whenever someone asks me if I’d cover up the Forever Faded, I tell ‘em “no.” Forever Faded is a testament to my past, a real reminder of the suffering and struggles that I went through as a using drug addict. Forever Faded is a reminder of my past reality, which at one point was headed towards destruction.
I don’t pay much attention to the tattoo these days. I rarely think about it unless the shirt I’m wearing has short sleeves, and I catch someone else’s eyes looking at it. At points like these I feel exposed… vulnerable. I know they want to ask about it, and I wish they would. They should. It’s okay to inquire. Ask me. I’d love to talk about it.
– Kevin C.