In the same way that the lyrics of a song or the emotion behind a painting can represent a deep personal experience for an individual, tattoos are often worn as a way to commemorate specific memories and events that have taken place. Whether they be something grand such as the birth of a child or possibly just a representation of that perfect Sunday morning, we get tattoos as a way to remember what has happened to us. The same philosophy goes for the tattoos collected by Michelle Knight, although based on a casual first impression, her tattoos are not what they seem.
Knight was one three women who was imprisoned by Ariel Castro between 2002 and 2013, and in an extensive interview with Newsweekshe explains how she found solace in representing her experiences as a captive through tattoos. The each of the five roses tattooed down Knight's arm represents an abortion she had during her time spent captive in Castro's house. The roses that adorn Knight's arm act as a remembrance for the children that she lost and as proof that she is a survivor of extreme and horrific circumstances.
In addition to the roses on her left arm, Knight has other tattoos that she got to represent her captivity. On her right arm, she has a teddy bear embellished with red hearts, a drawing that she designed during her time held captive. On her chest, she has the portrait of a sleeping baby with the words "Too Beautiful for Earth". She also wears a tattoo on her right calf, a female face made up of a clock, a butterfly, and a skull, which marks her role as a survival of abuse.
"This tattoo represents my life from the past and my life in the future," Knight toldNewsweek. "It says, 'My heart is not chained to my situation."' Knight uses this tattoo as a way to show that this horrific time in her life will not hold her back and that she is free both physically and mentally from the torture she endured for 11 years of her life.
While it may be difficult for most people to relate to the ordeal that Knight endured, her expression of survival and strength that she faced both in Castro's house and after her escape and her desire to vividly embrace her experiences through permanent tattoos is one that many of us can relate to. We may get tattoos for different reasons and occasions but we all share the desire to commemorate something important, impactful, or just simply beautiful through tattoos. Everyone has their own story to share and getting a tattoo is just one way to get our voices heard.