Woman Says Pizza Tattoo On Her Bum Helps Keep Her Sane
Most people enjoy a nice slice of pizza when times get tough, with that magic combination of hot cheese and crusty carbs being reliably comforting. But for one woman, pizza holds a particularly special place in her heart.
US Air Force veteran Aleen N. Johnson has experienced her fair share of struggles, having battled with mental health issues from an early age.
In a bid with tackle her issues with depression, Aleen, 24, chose to use exercise and pizza to keep herself feeling strong and focused. And fun tattoos of the iconic junk food can be found inked all over her body.
Known to her 174,000 Instagram followers as ‘The Fit Pizza Girl’, Aleen regularly posts pictures bearing her pizza themed tats alongside motivational captions. There are also, unsurprisingly, plenty of pics where she is enjoying a piping hot slice for herself.
Now a successful model, Aleen has gone from being a quirky Instagram star to being featured on the covers of Australian Playboy, and FHM. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
According to Aleen:
At the age of 15, I attempted my first suicide due to years of continuous bullying, verbal abuse and harassment from other students.
Instead of seeking help, I kept it all inside because I did not feel like anyone would actively take the proper routes of helping me on a personal level.
Looking to find purpose, Aleen enlisted in the military in 2013. But sadly, she continued to suffer from poor mental health:
Veterans commit suicide every single day. Yet we still feel ‘uncomfortable’ or make people feel uncomfortable when they talk about their problems. So many of us suffer from battle wounds called PTSD, depression, anxiety etc. and yet changes aren’t made because of the unfortunate invisibility of these wounds.
As service members we hide our pain behind temporary satisfactions because taking care of our mental health could not only target us as incapable and unreliable in our work environments.
Following another suicide attempt, Aleen spent some time in hospital. But she wasn’t about to let her depression beat her.
Focusing on fitness, and – of course – her love of pizza, Aleen was able to make positive changes in her life:
I knew I needed to make a change, and I was willing to take risks. In June 2019 I competed in my first powerlifting competition placing 2nd in Junior – all while promoting my obsession for pizza.
Now a passionate mental health advocate, Aleen uses her platform to speak up for others who have experienced similar difficulties:
I am still shell shocked to see myself on the cover of these two well-established magazines. But I’ve fought to be where I am today and it just goes to show that when you stop allowing others to dictate your future and your happiness, you can go far.
I will continue to be a voice for those who feel like they don’t have one and although I have my own triggers and battles to overcome daily.
Rather philosophically, Aleen added:
Everybody always asks me ‘why pizza’? ‘Why not’ I say. It’s always the smallest things in life that keep us sane.
According to Aleen, her venture into the world of modelling has done wonders for her self-confidence, and she now hopes to inspire others:
The shoots were everything I could have asked for and my photographers made me feel worthy. I hope I can be the woman who built her own confidence by building up others.
Not a product of my mental illnesses, not caring about being accepted by people who can’t even accept themselves. I just want to be the Pizza Girl.
The best of luck to Aleen as she continues to raise awareness of mental health and boost her self esteem, all while rocking her unique and tasty body art.
If you’ve been affected by bullying, and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Bullying UK (Part of Family Lives) on 0808 800 2222. The helpline service is open 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.