“I even have a dragon that curves round my proper hip, right down to my knee, the place I had rods surgically inserted into my femur to assist my bones, the place the most cancers had unfold; this hides the scars. To me, dragons symbolize spring, generosity, independence, free-mindedness, and creativity. I’m additionally right-handed, so having the dragon on my dominant facet can be vital.” —A.J.
“My tattoos are a part of who I’m as a girl, sort of like my scars have change into. As an artist and as a girl dwelling with metastatic breast cancer, I’ve a narrative to inform, and I simply occur to put on my story on my pores and skin. I’ve spent my 21-year profession within the discipline of tattooing, so not each tattoo has an intention behind it. They do, nonetheless, all converse to me. They function reminders of the place I used to be at any given second, bodily or mentally, during the last 20 years, in addition to how far I’ve are available life. A few of my favorites are my kids’s names, my grandparents’ portraits, and the Hindu god Ganesha—the remover of obstacles—on my throat, which I received simply after my terminal breast most cancers analysis. —Beth Fairchild
(Editor’s notice: Read more of Beth’s story—and see more of her tattoos—here.)