They judge her. Do they know her? They do not. Do they care? They do not. Whne she walks into her day job at a local café, her co workers stare at her and ask her demeaning questions.
“Why do you have piercings on your face?”
“Do you ever eat? You are disgustingly skinny.”
“When was the last time you washed your hair?”
The same questions, and sometimes new ones, are asked over and over again. She tries to play them off as if she doesn’t care, and most days she doesn’t. But sometimes, enough is enough and she loses it. She loses sight of herself, who she is, and what she cares about. Sometimes, they win. But when she feels like self harming that’s when she resorts to do what they find so disgusting – body modification. She draws a beautiful piece of artwork, especially tailored to a clean spot on her body. She draws it over and over again, trying to make it perfect. She will only get her own artwork tattooed on her body. She says it makes it more meaningful, more personal.
She goes to the shop and pulls out her drawing, telling the artist this is exactly what she wants. She wants a gladiolus flower on the dent on the front of her stomach between her side and her belly button. She chose this because she didn’t have any floral type artwork on her body. But the most important reason is always be meaning behind the piece. The meaning doesn’t need to be universal, but sometimes it is. The meaning doesn’t have to be understood by other people, but sometimes it is.
The gladiolus flower is the flower that was given to gladiators after a victorious battle. It’s become a symbol of the strength of character. She sees each negative interaction with a person as a battle. A battle that she is determined to win – so she overcomes each interaction within herself, somehow creating a stronger sense of self each time. The battle with the pain of the needle, pulsating ink into her skin to create this permanent decorative composition, also makes her feel deserving of the gladiolus flower. The pain builds character. Each time, her character is broken a little in the moment, but afterwards she comes out stronger and happier than before; just like each negative comment she receives.
She will not allow others to beat her down in the long run. She will come out on top. She will prove the world and the stereotypes wrong. She will be triumphant; a gladiator.