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Tattoo Artists Share The Most Wholesome Backstory Behind Pieces They've Inked

Tattoo Artists Share The Most Wholesome Backstory Behind Pieces They've Inked
Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

Tattoos used to be seen as a mark of rebellion; something only criminals, baddies, people who were marked against their will and "women of ill repute" would get. That time has long passed, though, and tattoos are now as commonplace as hair dye or glasses!

In fact, some tattoos have downright adorable backstories.

Reddit user elscharfe asked:

Tattoo artists of Reddit, what is the most wholesome story behind a tattoo you did?

The stories that follow are some of the cutest, sweetest, most heartwarming tattoo tales we've ever heard! There's talk of love, friendship, strength, survival, and coping with loss. It's a fantastic exploration of human wholesomeness. Brace for impending "aww"!

What's Your Name? 

For this one, it was homemade (way back in the 80's) and I was both the canvas and the artist.

In college, as we were about to separate for the year, two of my friends and I decided we wanted tattoos. Being in a small town and broke college kids, we decided to do them ourselves. This actually did not go badly as I am diabetic, so we had clean needles to use. We all got a design of our initials - J, M and D - intertwined. I never saw Dave again after that year.

Funny story and why this tattoo is one of my favorites - I have several professional ones I love - is what happened when I met my now husband. He was my one (and only) attempt at a one night stand. He asked about the tattoo on my hip and I explained that is what a design made up of the initials J, D and M. He looked at me funny and asked - "Why do you have my initials on your hip?" I asked him - "What is your name?"

We've been married 26 years now. I guess it was just destined to be.

- mel2mdl



My sister did a huge tattoo of a unicorn for a bloke whose 14 year old niece was very sick and loved unicorns. He got it to show her before she passed away.

- ronkeyfong

The Hospital Trip

I've been a tattoo artist for 13 years. Older gentleman client, I'd worked on him and his wife dozens of times. She drops him off to get inked and heads off to run errands. About two hours into the session a call comes in to the reception desk at my shop that his wife had gotten into an accident and was in the hospital. OH SH!T. I wrapped up the line I was running, wrapped him up immediately, and since their car was now totaled I drove him to the hospital myself.

She was ok, we finished his tattoo a few days later.

- BradC

A Sister's Smile

Not a tattoo artist, but I am covered in tattoos. Probably the most meaningful one on my body is done by a professional stick n poke artist (yes those exist). It's a drawing that my little sister did when she was 11, it was a little sketch on the back of her sketch book and it's still my favorite. She's incredibly talented and she constantly looks down at her art because she never feels good enough, mostly because of others around her bullying her. So to see her reaction to her seeing her art as a tattoo was everything. She was so thrilled.

- Novaa240

Trendsetting Grandma

A couple years ago my grandmother (80's) and my aunt (late 50's) came to visit my family. My mother and her sister had agreed to get tattoos. After theirs were done grandma liked them so much that she got one too!

When grandma got back to her nursing home all of her lady friends that lived there with her were jealous of her tattoo, so they got the staff to set them up a trip and they all went and got tattoos.

My grandma is one of the sweetest ladies in the whole world!

- Lmao151

Pink Butterfly


A friend of mine is a tattoo artist. She got a guy come in with a photo of a tattoo on someone and insisted it be placed in the same place, exactly the same. It was a pink butterfly on the right wrist. When she asked him questions about it, he got defensive and just wanted to get it done. He was a big guy with a nearly full body of tattoos getting a pink butterfly on his wrist.

Anyway, she does the tattoo - only took about 30 minutes - and when he saw the finished tattoo he started to cry. It was his daughter's tattoo, one he took her to get. She had died a couple of weeks before in an auto accident, and he wanted to get her tattoo as a memorial. When he tried to explain beforehand, he kept getting choked up and got defensive automatically (as guys often do).

- JimmyL2014

Englishmen In The States

My ex is a tattoo artist. The most wholesome thing she ever did on someone was two drunk English guys walked into the shop a few minutes before closing. They were best friends on a road trip across the states with the ashes of the 3rd friend that was supposed to go with them. They had been planning it for years. They both got his name tattoo'd on their butts.

The plan for them was to show their @ss to historical places. Apparently the friend wanted to moon Mount Rushmore. They decided that they'd show their butts to all of the historical places they were visiting.

- Fromhe


I read a couple months ago about a tattoo artist who had a grandmother and grandchildren come in. The grandchildren wanted tattoos that match their grandmothers.

The grandmother was a concentration camp survivor.

The tattoo artist did the tattoos for free.

- Nottheprob

Memory Book

It's hard to pick a particular one, because people come in for sentimental reasons all the time. Certainly any memorial piece can be emotional for the client, and since I'm a sympathetic cryer I always end up explaining their aftercare with the 'trying not to cry too' wobble in my voice.

Recently, I did a portrait of a woman's husband with his signature reproduced underneath. She brought in a memory book of photos she'd made of her and him together.

She'd given it to him on his last birthday before he passed from a sudden cancer (two weeks from diagnosis to death). Once the tattoo was done we flipped through the book together and she explained where they were and why he was so wonderful.

Throughout the next few weeks I've had half a dozen people come in raving about the portrait and how much everyone loves it and sharing memories with me about the guy. He was very well loved by the community, and I'm honored I got to tattoo him. :)

- 100Dachsunds

She Said Yes

Tattoo artist for about 2 years here. Last winter I had a happy couple in their 20s walk in wanting tattoos. I didn't think much of it because we take walk ins everyday. The girl goes first and got a small heart on her wrist. The guy goes second and gets a traditional diamond tattoo. It's basically just a really simple cartoon version of a diamond. I ask him why he wants this and just says he likes the design, alright no problem. They both leave happy.

A week later I get a message from the girl thanking me for making their tattoo day so special. The guy had proposed to her later that evening after being together for 5 years. He got the tattoo to commemorate their engagement while she had no idea that he was going to propose. This still warms my heart every time I think about it. And also I'm glad she said yes because that would've sucked for him.

- Spookyandcute

Combined Creativity

I was a piercer and during my apprenticeship I worked counter and sat in on tattoos. Dad let a kid draw whatever he wanted on him because the kid had cancer. The kid drew an outline and was having trouble so It wasn't an exact drawing the kid did but the artist stayed in the outline asked questions like " do you want me to color it in?" "do you want it real or like a stuffed animal?"

He basically used both their creativity to fill out the middle of the outlines the kid did and it actually looked really good. Dude has a pink and purple fat stuffed unicorn with its tongue sticking out on chest over his heart. The artist took a photo and it's was in the binder you can look through of his work on the counter but the story is not.

- ImStillaPrick

This Too

My best friend died in an accident right after we started college. Her dad is a tattoo artist so we always talked about getting our first ones together. What I wanted changed pretty much constantly, but she always wanted "This too shall pass" on her wrist. A few months after she passed I went to her dads shop and he tattooed it on me. It was always going to be a special one, but having her dad do it made it much more.

- Muzicnerd13



I had a kid come in that was moving from home, probably for college, and he had to leave his kitty behind. So he wanted to get her paw print on the spot she normally rests her paw. It almost brought tears to my eyes because I adore my cat and couldn't imagine leaving her.

- meowmeow138

Scars Into Beauty

I did a big flower piece; a cover up of self harm scars that went all up a girl's forearm and she wanted to have them covered before her college graduation ceremony. Her mom came in a few weeks later and got tattooed. Mom told me how important that was to her daughter and how happy she is to no longer have to see the bad memories on her body.

Both have been steady clients since and always remind me how much that tattoo changed her self confidence and helped her move past that part of her life.

Honestly being a tattooer can desensitize you to how much certain tattoos mean to people but situations like that always bring me genuine positive vibes x1000 knowing that my work can have such a lasting impact. Much love to all those overcoming a rough patch.

- Sikwolf95

The Last Letter

I tattooed a girl, her aunt and mother... all the same day. The girl had gone through chemo and was waiting on results of her cancer.... I was tattooing the phrase "just let go"

I kid you not, as I finished the last letter and wiped the tattoo the girl got a phone call before I could even clean it off. It was her doctor calling - she had been cleared of cancer and cancer free!! It was emotional for us all. But what timing it was to get the call just as the last letter was done. I hope she is doing well.

- wut-n-tarnation


Obligatory not a tattoo artist, but I asked the woman doing a time-intensive piece on me what her most unusual experience had been and her answer was really interesting and sort of ties in with this question, so I thought I'd share.

She had done a few of the nipple-replacement ones on mastectomy patients that others have mentioned, which is really cool, but she had done something sort of equivalent and *much* less common on a guy... See, he had a lot of vitiligo patches all over his body, and he was darker skinned. It had taken him many years to get over the self-esteem issues that had arisen from this, and he had finally, *finally* built up enough confidence (in his early thirties) to start talking to ladies. He was a really charming guy, and after a few false starts, had met a lady who he really liked, and the feeling was mutual. They had been dating for a few months and things were getting pretty serious - he really thought this was his soul mate, his happy-ever-after. There was just one problem...

The very worst of his vitiligo was over his groin. He'd never had anyone but a doctor see it, and he was terrified that this woman he wanted to marry would reject him when she saw it. So my tattoo artist spent a couple of months painstakingly (and painfully!) filling in all these vitiligo patches all over his crotch, over his testes and his penis. Nothing at all fancy, just literally very carefully colouring in all the white until it matched the rest of his skin and you had to look really closely to even tell. Took an ungodly amount of time because, well obviously he could only handle very short bursts, but when it was finally done, he cried and cried and cried.

She got an invitation to his wedding about 8 months later. Said it was the most amazing feeling she had ever got from tattooing anyone, seeing the difference it made to him.

- Oryctolagus_Argentum

Tattoos have all sorts of meanings to the one getting inked. Do you have a wholesome tattoo story to share? Please drop it in the comment section below.

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People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.