I started planning my first tattoo when I still was underage. I invented the idea of my first tattoo when I was lying on my bed and listening to one of my favorite bands, Simple Plan. Although these words don’t even appear in the lyrics of the song I was listening to, somehow they just popped into my mind and I decided to have them tattooed on my skin. The first tattoo was quite an exciting experience, but luckily the tattooing itself didn’t last long.
Good enough is above all a reminder to myself. I knew immediately that I wanted to have the tattoo on my wrist, where I’m able to easily see it myself. The tattoo is located on my left arm because it’s the more functional one. I also have a personal history of depression, and that’s what makes this text even more important. It helps me to remember that I’m good enough just as I am.
I guess in some way, all my tattoos have something to do with my self-expression and the fact that I have to remember to love myself. There are many aspects in the lives of the disabled people that are still invisible to most people, and that’s why I want to raise awareness of them.
I used to think that there are so many things that don’t apply to me at all just because of my disability. At some point, however, I just began to think that I have an equal right to do things just as any other people have. That’s what made me want to speak out in the first place.
If you think about comprehensive school, for example, there are so many topics that are only discussed from the majority’s point of view, and as a result, I’ve always had to figure out myself how these things concern me and my life. I began to be more active on social media so that I could tell other people about my own experiences as a disabled person. Still, I don’t want anyone to think I could speak for all the disabled people, and that’s why I only tell about things based on my own knowledge and experience.
Since the beginning, it has been clear to me that I don’t want to share things anonymously, because I want people to see who I am. It was very exciting at first, but luckily people have been very supportive towards me even though I’ve only been active on social media for a short time. My family has supported me so much as well.
When I told my father I’ve started my Aktivistikaisa-account on Twitter and Instagram (link), he was so emotionally moved he actually had tears in his eyes. My sister has an eco-activist account on social media herself, and I think that was one of the things that inspired me to start my own account in the first place. I have two sisters, and we’ve been planning to have tattoos of the coordinates of our home town one day.
My next tattoos were the bows on my both thighs. Originally, I got the idea to these tattoos on Instagram, where I saw an image of someone who had tattooed bows on the back of her thighs. I wanted to have the tattoos on my front thighs instead – to a place where I could see them better myself.
The bows were grayscale at first, but last autumn I decided to add colors on them, and now the other bow is turquoise and the other one is purple. I love colors, and I’m especially fascinated by the colors that appear in space pictures.
There are so many topics concerning the life of the disabled people that I want to bring out into the open. If I want to travel somewhere, for example, it’s not just packing my bags and leaving, but instead there’s a load of things that need to be taken into account. Still, it’s worth all the trouble. I used to do wheelchair dancing on a competition level and have traveled quite a lot because of it. The last time I traveled abroad was when I went to England.
Sometimes I dream about moving to Helsinki. There’s so much happening there all the time. Someday I’d also love to visit USA. I’ve been dreaming of going into New York where everything seems to be so great and big.
If I’m going somewhere with my wheelchair, I occasionally have to choose a different path if there are too many high curbs or doorsteps in my way. There are times when I’m not able to take a detour, though, and that’s when I just have to go full speed and hope for the best.
My chest piece was made in four different parts. There’s two sunflowers and a butterfly. This tattoo or my bow tattoos hold no special meaning for me – above all, they’re just pretty pictures on my skin. I’d love to have more roses tattooed on my left arm next. There’s no particular meaning for them, either. Roses are nice, that’s all.
In addition to disability, sexuality is the other important topic I want to raise awareness of. I’ve known for some years now that I’m attracted to both men and women. I actually realized it by an accident.
One day, my friends and I were just hanging out together at my place. At some point, one of us told us others that she actually likes girls. I just thought okay, that’s great!
Her disclosure, however, started my own thinking process as well, and I truly began to reflect my own sexual identity for the first time. After a while, I was ready to accept my identity, and I just told the others maybe I have to add on my Tinder profile that I’m interested in women, too. My friend was just like yesss!
I was born with cerebral palsy. I don’t mind if someone’s interested in it and asks about my disability. In my opinion, it’s always better to ask than assume.
Most of the time, people are very nice and polite, but I have different kind of experiences, too. Sometimes people have come to talk to me in a childish manner just because of my looks. At that point, I’ve just felt like saying that even though I have a physical disability, I’m still a sane, grown-up person, thanks for asking!
I’ve also heard about cases where a stranger has asked a disabled person how he or she is able to have sex. Those are absolutely the kind of questions that I or anyone else have no obligations to answer to. If there’s a question you hope to find an answer for, always think first whether you could just go and ask the same question from a random passer-by as well. As long as the questions are appropriate, I’ll be happy to answer.
In the autumn, I’m going to begin my studies in the upper secondary school for adults, and my goal is to have a graduation cap one day. I love writing, and I’ve been writing short stories for many years. In addition to Finnish and literature, I’m interested in psychology as well. The human mind is such an interesting thing.
Above all, tattoos have an important meaning for me because I want to prove to myself that I’m able to have them. I want people to see me first and my wheelchair second, not the other way around.
Along many other things, my tattoos also remind me that my disability is not a barrier, and I’m capable of doing the things that I want to do. I think tattoos have altered me both externally and internally. They have become an inseparable part of my own identity.