When CeeCee, a mother of four, decided to get a tattoo to cover up the self-harm marks she inflicted on herself as a teenager, she settled on a beautiful compass design inked on her forearm. Rather than the traditional N-E-S-W symbols though, CeeCee got her kids’ initials, S-T-K-J, inked at each point of the compass, with the letters “S-O-Z-O” inked in the center, representing the original Greek word used in the New Testament for salvation. Simply defined, the word “sozo” means “rescued, pulled from danger, or lifted above trouble,” which CeeCee certainly was.
The touching story behind CeeCee’s compass tattoo was shared on the Facebook page for Love What Matters, a blog dedicated to “celebrating the moments in life that matter,” but what happened when CeeCee actually went to get her tattoo is the real story. “The tattoo artist opened her shop early just for me,” writes CeeCee in the Facebook post. “We chatted as she drew out the design. After a moment, she grew silent before blurting out, ‘You know, you remind me of someone I used to know.’”
When CeeCee asked where she knew this person from, the artist responded, “From a hospital,” and immediately, CeeCee knew. “I felt a tingle down my spine…the one that tells you something big is about to happen. ‘What hospital?’ I asked. She named the one that takes suicidal teens. My mouth dropped open. ‘I was there too.’”
Through all the years that had passed since CeeCee and her tattoo artist had been in that same hospital for suicidal teens, they had found themselves together once again, helping one another heal. “Yes. She was there,” CeeCee writes. “When I was a teen. When the scars on my arm were fresh and covered in gauze. And now, she was the one to put the tattoo over them that says ‘Sozo’ – healed, whole.”
Just like so many others out there, it wasn’t embarrassment or shame that led CeeCee to cover up her self-harm scars. Rather, she saw the compass design with her kids’ initials as a symbol of her successes, and getting the tattoo inked overtop the scars as a way to take back her body and finally close the door on that painful chapter of her life. “I look at [the tattoo] now,” she says. “My arm, a place that once represented hopelessness now represents love…More beauty from ashes than I could have ever dreamed.”