Cross Tattoo Debate


I’ve written this post something like 7 times in the last month or so, and I think I need to just post it…this is a tough subject for me.

I’m just gonna say it - I have two scars on my left arm from trying to kill myself. I hate them. Everything about them reminds me of a terrible mistake I can’t change and an ongoing fight that I know I will fight my whole life. I am closer to God than I ever have been, and I know with Him (and medical intervention and therapy, both of which are very active parts of my life) I can fight the fight and finish the race right. It’s just…when I am fighting hard, and I see them, I slip into despair so easily.

I want to get a tattoo next to them. They are impossible to cover because of their size and location but I believe that getting a very small, modest cross tattoo next to them will draw my eyes away from them and to the cross to remember who I really am. That I am not this mistake, or these scars, but someone treasured. I also feel like the tattoo would draw others’ eyes away from them and to the cross as well. I’m very self conscious about them. I was thinking something like this:

Here’s the sticky part. My husband hates tattoos and really doesn’t want me to get one. The other issue is I am a teacher in a public school. What are your thoughts?


This a tough one. Could you just wear a rosary bracelet, or something else to draw the eye? Is a tattoo the only option? God bless you, I am sure that this has been a struggle.


Does your school have a policy on visible tattoos? Something small like the picture could be at least partially concealed by a bangle or bracelet I would think. As for your husband, talk to him. Does he know your reasons for wanting the tattoo?


You may want to check your district’s policy on tattoos. Technically, ours has a policy against them being visible, but it is never enforced. We do have a policy that we can wear religious jewelry, but I don’t know if tattoos would apply to that. I don’t know your husband, but I’d take a pretty dim view of him if you explained your reason for wanting one and he still objected.


I’m really sorry to read about your situation. Scars from self-harm or suicide attempts can be, and usually are, sources of distress for a very long time after the event.

You probably already know this, but there are special kinds of makeup you can get matched to your skin tone to camouflage the scars. Are you saying that that is not an option? I have even heard of people having skin grafts, but I suspect that in your case the scarring from the skin graft would be worse than the existing scars. I should say I’m not a medical expert, so that is just a guess, but it’s something I happened to be discussing with somebody a few weeks ago.

As for the tattoo, I think tattoos can be quite nice things to have, so I wouldn’t in principle advise anyone against one. Your husband is entitled to his opinion about tattoos, but it’s your choice and I imagine he’d support you if it was what you decided on. I don’t know about where you live, but here I think most schools would be pretty relaxed about tattoos. One of my teachers at school had a tattoo that he was pretty proud of: it was the insignia of the Parachute Regiment. That was a long time ago now!

I think the things you need to decide now are whether you really want this particular tattoo and whether it’s actually going to help. Firstly, remember that a tattoo is permanent, so be certain that you won’t find at some point in the future that a cross tattooed on your body is something that you no longer want. I’ve thought about tattoos myself, but one reason I’ve never had one is in case I end up regretting my choice. Are there any alternative designs you have considered? Is there something else that is significant for you?

Secondly, will it actually work to draw your eyes (and other people’s) away from the scars? Could it also attract unwanted attention from people who otherwise wouldn’t have looked? For what it’s worth, I don’t think the scarring is actually that visible to somebody who doesn’t know to look for it. Obviously it is very visible to you and that is what counts.

My instinct would be to say, ‘Go for it!’ Clearly this needs more thought, but I think it’s a nice idea. The tattoo design looks good and it seems that it could help you. It doesn’t count for much, but you have my best wishes.


I say, after explaining the matter to your husband; go for it. I have three tattoos myself and they have been spiritual benefits, IMHO; as I’ve learned to master the pain of the tattoo going in as a way of mastering the pain within. Your idea is a good one and isn’t against the Church.


I think it’s a nice idea. Just pray and consider carefully, but it sounds like it would be helpful for you. I think you’ve gotten some good advice about it.

Check your district policy, but I’d be surprised if they’d object to something so small and discrete. I agree it might draw more attention to your wrist, but it also might draw your attention back to Christ.

I also think wearing a rosary bracelet is a great alternative if you ever want to hide the scars/tattoos.

I’m so glad you are doing better mentally/emotionally. Praying for you that you continue to cast all your cares on Him. :pray:


Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies. A lot of really great ideas! My husband is against it aesthetically but I know if I put my foot down he’d let me. He just gets really wigged out at the idea of ink under skin, but that’s his primary objection.

I didn’t know about makeup, I’ll have to look into that. I’m really open to suggestions on getting rid of them. They are small and minor because I did all I could to make sure they’d heal right…but there are remnants…

I know my district is a zero tolerance kind of mindset of any religious jewelry. I will look into the tattoo issue once the district office opens up again for the year. Seriously, thank you all for your input and support. This is such a painful subject and a part of my past I want to move on from, desperately.


Have you thought of white tattoos? I had an acquaintance with a painful past (sexual abuse) and she had a beautiful, large white tattoo of the word “Beloved” done in script along the inside of her forearm. It wasn’t very noticeable, but it was part of her healing process to remember that she belonged to God.

Your husband might object less to a white one, and for school it’d be even less noticeable.

I think you might like “Beloved” with or without a cross. It’s one of my very favorite verses…“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”


Does the public school have a tattoo policy? Check and see. These days everybody I know under 30 has a tattoo and some of them have entire sleeves and still teach somewhere, but I imagine the rules differ based on where you are located.

Husband is a trickier one. If he doesn’t like it, you may want to think twice, just because we sometimes make sacrifices for our spouses. My husband didn’t like them either and that is part of the reason I don’t already have one. You could try explaining to him why you want it and trying to bring him around to your POV.

With respect to your scar, if it looks like the one in the picture, nobody is going to notice it, or even if they do they might think it’s an accident scar. My mom had a similar scar from falling off her bike as a kid and impaling her arm on a twig.


There are some Christians who believe it is a sin. The verse in the Bible that most Christians make reference to is Leviticus 19:28, which says,”You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” I’m sure God understands your situation though


that looks great, I say go for it.


How about consecrating yourself to Mary and wearing a chain on that wrist? Consecration chains do not have any distinguishing religious medals, they’re just a simple chain. I’ve been wearing mine for a year now and the only people who recognize it as religious are wearing a similar chain themselves.


I say do it. It’ll be a powerful symbol of the change you’ve undergone, and help you in further pursuing the faith. I can understand why the scars you are left with could be very distressing. It’s a good impulse to try to turn them into something positive. It’ll help you concentrate on the passion, if nothing else. God Bless!


I’m afraid that I cannot explain—either with simple, or complex words—why you shouldn’t get a tattoo.
The reason being that, in principle, the Church does not oppose tattoos.

The advice I gave to my sister when she was considering a tattoo was to give it several months. If you still feel strongly about the tattoo you had in mind after that time, then maybe get it. If, during that time, you change your mind about the type of tattoo you wanted, or where it should be located, perhaps wait another several months before getting it.

They also in this article debunked that the ceremonial law of not tattooing is still in placed. It isn’t part of the moral law, it’s ceremonial.

I would suggest talking to your school administrator or trying to find out whether there are any rules and regulations against tattoos and whether having a tattoo would hinder you seeking further employment.

Then, I would strongly suggest sitting down and telling your husband what you told us. It means a lot to you and for these reasons—x, y, z. I would approach it in the same manner as cutting all your hair off, or changing your clothing style—you are still you, worthy of love regardless of the outer shell.

ETA: Have you looked into putting on a temporary tattoo, you can buy them very cheaply, and placing them in the location you are thinking of? Perhaps after 1-2 weeks of this you would be able to make a better decision.


I really don’t like tattoos, so please take my post with a grain of salt.

You are bothered by marks on your wrist and you want to distract yourself from them by adding additional marks? I don’t think a tattoo will bring you the piece of mind you’re seeking.


All I know is at our school teachers were asked if at all possible to cover their tatoos as much as possible.

I think it is a GREAT idea. It is a reminder but also a way to refocus on God and appreciate the journey you’ve had and where you are now.

A family member has the Sobriety Chip tattooed on their arm to remind them of how far they’ve come and that they don’t want to go back there.

Now about your husband well that’s gotta be between you 2.

I don’t have any tatoos. I think once in a while about getting one but then the thought gets replaced with other things.


Check your school policy.

Some of them do not allow visible tattoos.

You would have to cover the tat every day (I’ve friends who wore wide cuff bracelets to cover tattoos in a professional work environment).

There is a smaller choice, many people who have battled suicide choose to get a semi-colon tattoo

They can be very small.

Maybe your husband could live with something tiny?


My husband thinks tattoos “are stupid”, but I really wanted one and now have 5, (4 if you count a rose and verse as 1 instead of 2).
I’d talk to my husband more about it, explaining to him what you told us.
I’d also check to make sure it’s ok with the school.


I think you could one day accept your scars as battle wounds. You fought a spiritual battle and you won.

If a student sees them, they will gain understanding of the struggles others face. They may be feeling depressed and may need your testimony. Seeing your scars will help them.

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