Ask Dr. Phil and Robin: Kristin

A Marked Woman?

"When I look at my tattoos, I feel hideous," says Kristin, a wife and mother. "I have four tattoos I don't remember getting. I was around 13 when I got my first tattoo, and my last one I was 16." Showing off a tattoo along her lower back, she
says, "This is my least favorite. My 17-year-old friend from church said it was my tramp stamp, and that's what it feels like to me. I hate it." She is also marked with ink on her big toe and ankle.


Kristin admits to having been a wild child. "Drugs and alcohol played a huge role in my life. Captain Morgan was helping make my decisions in those days," she shares, adding that those days are long gone. "My life today is awesome. I married a man I truly love. I have beautiful twin boys. I'm halfway through my second novel. God has changed me and my life and given me a clean slate. He's not in the tattoo removal business." She believes her tattoos are scars for life. "I think when others see my tattoos, they think less of me,"

she reveals. "Several months ago, I was at a Christian writers conference, and I had the opportunity to sit across from an agent from a huge publishing house. I saw her glance down. She saw the tattoos on my toe and ankle, and I just saw this look come across her face of disgust, and I could just tell right there that she had written me off."


Kristin turns to Dr. Phil and Robin for help. "I felt in the past that my tattoos are holding me back. How can I stop feeling shame about my past and move on?" she asks.

"Those tattoos represent something to you, right?" Dr. Phil asks. "They represent a really negative time in your life."

"They are a constant reminder of something that I am very ashamed of," Kristin says. "It's just such a far cry from who I am today."

"You think you're judged because of those tattoos?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I think I was, especially in the Christian writing world," she says. "I did definitely see that I was written off instantly by the agent that I met with."

"One of the things I worry about is how you label yourself about this," Dr. Phil tells her. "It's a problem that you're assigning to it. That's just a symbol, and then you put the meaning on there in terms of your internal dialogue about what you say to yourself, because you know what was going on when you got them."

"Not really," Kristin laughs.

"Who knows why an agent was the way she was? It could be that she didn't like what you wrote, not what was written on you," Dr. Phil points out. "The first person who's got to stop judging you about it is you."

Dr. Phil asks her if she's considered removing her tattoos.


"I don't know if that's possible," she says.


"Oh, it's possible," Dr. Phil says.


"If you'd like your tattoos removed, we've talked to the folks at Monarch Medical Spa, and they have an office close to your house, and they have agreed to remove all of your tattoos," Robin tells her.


"Is that something you'd want to do?" Dr. Phil asks Kristin.


"Oh, yeah," she says with a smile.


"When you take off the symbol, you have to also take off the label," Dr. Phil reminds her. "That's your label. That's your internal dialogue of what you remember about that past or don't remember about it. You've got to decide that was then, this is now. That doesn't mean quit writing about outcasts and doing the things that you're doing, but give yourself a break." He tells her to focus on the now. "You've got to accept yourself and move forward."