I got the tattoo that became my scar while trying to find closure from a painful event. I'd been seeing a man on and off for just over 6 months when I learned I was pregnant. It wasn't an equal relationship in any sense - he'd been my boss, he'd told me I wasn't good enough to date, but when he wanted to drink he'd call me. It was humiliating, but I was in love, so I let it happen.
I had the abortion alone and I had an allergic reaction to the abortion pill that put me in emergency care. The year that followed was a wash of grief, loneliness, humiliation and regret. I woke up every day feeling like I'd been kicked in the gut and I carried that feeling with me until I fell asleep at night. I was ashamed just to be alive.
I chose a tattoo of a gothic letter 'A' because I wanted to own those feelings, like Hester in A Scarlet Letter, who made her own path out of misfortune. Within a few hours of getting the tattoo, my skin started to bubble and blister. It was an oozing mess for over a year, and when it finally healed, all the ink was gone and there was a raised scar in the shape of the 'A'. Apparently, I was allergic to some pigment in the red ink...
I hated the scar for a long time - it felt like my body betrayed me twice. Now, I'm happy to have it. I wanted a visible mark for a psychological scar, and I got one in the most literal sense. I tell people the 'A' stands for 'ankle' but for me it has many meanings - 'A' for abortion, 'A' for alone. I will never let myself be treated like something worthless again. I'll never be pregnant again, or pursue a romantic relationship. On some fundamental level, I'll always be alone. And I can live with that.