Senior uses her new ink to inspire herself and others


Photo by Abby Rollison

Senior Abby Rollison shares her first tattoo just a few days after turning 18. The blooming flowers signified the beauty of the next chapter of her life after recovery.

There is often a stigma behind getting tattoos, especially for young people as they turn 18. This didn’t stop senior Abby Rollison from getting her tattoos as a reminder of how far she has come on her quest for self satisfaction.

Rollison got her first tattoo on her inner left forearm on October 15, 2020. The tattoo was one she had wanted since she was only 12 years old. It depicts a grouping of blossoming flowers strung together by two vines.

“After I recovered from anorexia, I felt like I was blooming into a new chapter of my life without my eating disorder and I get to look forward to doing something even more powerful down the line,” Rollison said.

After her battle against her eating disorder for five years, the relief and excitement of having the tattoo as a reminder of her perseverance motivates her every single day.

“If you really want something and want to take care of yourself, you’re going to go for it,” Rollison said. “That was my junior year New Year’s resolution, to get help. And then in 2020 when I turned 18, it was finally time for me to get what I had wanted for so long.”

Once it finally came time to get the tattoo, she had already decided on a studio and artist that she trusted to execute what she had hoped for. She chose to get her tattoo from Glass Street Tattoo in the Mall of New Hampshire.

“I trust [my artist] and she’s so friendly,” Rollison said. “You have to connect with your tattoo artist and trust them. I, personally, have to feel comfortable so I like to go to her first so that I’m not jumping from artist to artist.”

Her younger brother joined her for the hour long process of the tattooing to show his support and develop his interest in tattoos.

“I brought my brother, Gavin, with me and he was really interested,” Rollison said. “He loves and supports my tattoo journeys so it’s nice to have someone near me. He liked seeing the progress and I really liked having him there for my first tattoo. I was super nervous so I was glad to have him there to talk to me during the process.”

Now that she’s had the tattoo for a few months, Rollison is reminded each day of what she was able to accomplish and can feel proud of how far she’d come in the last six years.

“It makes me feel like I can accomplish more things down the road into my life,” Rollison said. “I fought my eating disorder for five years, I think I can handle more now. I can accomplish anything I put my mind to; if I really want to go for something, I have to work towards it. During treatment, I’d tell myself, ‘If you really want to recover, you have to fight for it.’”

Merely two months after her first tattoo, Rollison was right back under the machine for her second tattoo. The right side of her ribcage displays, in cursive, “i am enough.”

Rollison gets her second tattoo on December 1, 2020. It is a reminder to herself that the only person she needs to be happy and satisfied with is herself. (Photo by Abby Rollison)

“I used to not think I was enough because my dad left me at a young age which was when the [eating disorder] started,” Rollison said. “I used to ask myself, ‘Since my dad left me, am I ever going to be good enough for a boy?’ It made me really sad to think that way so whenever I look at my tattoo I know I am enough for me, I don’t need a boy to make me happy. I can be enough for me and that’s all that matters.”

Although she had only been planning to get such a tattoo for only a few months (compared to five years), it still holds a very special meaning Rollison holds close to her heart.

“I wanted [the tattoo] near my rib cage because I used to be so overly obsessed with that area,” Rollison said, “looking at my rib cage in the mirror and being fixated with it because of my eating disorder. That’s where it all started in seventh grade.”

I knew when trying to figure out what exactly I wanted that I needed something meaningful and words I knew I needed to see every day. It had to be something that made me stronger as a person. Now I can see it every day in the mirror and remember I am good enough.”

— Abby Rollison

Now, Rollison is always posting updates on her Snapchat story of her trips to the gym and spreading the body positivity she has worked years to develop, expressing the skills she’s gained to motivate those around her.

“If you’re going to get tattoos, do it for yourself and nobody else,” Rollison said. “If you are struggling with your body, try body positivity talk once in a while because I feel like not a lot of people do that. It takes time, but I’m now glad I can finally be me without feeling judged.”