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Mom covers the mistakes of the past with a tattoo that pays tribute to her future

Bambi tattoo
Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 18:38:32-04

CLEVELAND — It was the darkest time of her life.

"It all started when I was bullied in 7th and 8th grade and it kind of continued into high school," said Heidi Shorter.

As a teenager, Shorter tried to kill herself.

"I felt alone, I felt useless to everybody," she said. "I didn’t feel like I needed to be alive anymore."

Even after her failed suicide attempt, Shorter kept cutting.

"I felt like cutting myself was the only way to release the pain I was feeling inside," she said.

When she had her baby girl Isabella, she knew it was time to seek help. Although she's better now, the scars on her thighs still remained.

"I would get people whispering and just staring," she said.

The 21-year-old decided to cover them up with a tattoo, and she let her reason for living decide what it should be.

"We were in the car and [Isabella] saw a deer so she goes, 'Bambi!'" laughed Shorter.

Covering up scars to cover up the past is becoming more and more common, a local tattoo artist said. He's helped plenty of folks redesign their futures.

"To see that up close and to say, well this is actually something that really happened, it’s kind of devastating," said Joseph Rhodes, the owner of BlackHouse Ink Tattoos in Cleveland.

He didn't do Shorter's cover-up, but he's helped countless other clients re-imagine their bodies.

"I definitely want to try to get rid of it, where they don’t have to look at the scars and remember where they have been, but more so where they’re going," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the best thing to do is find an artist who you trust to get a little creative and who won't judge your past.

"This is not just a business, it has to be passion," he said — just like Shorter has found a new passion for life and motherhood.

Shorter said of her daughter: "Life is just good and she just makes me want to keep growing and continue to be amazing for her."