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Beneath the ink | Coeur d’Alene Press


Tattoos are a type of self-expression.

What occurs when the individual beneath the ink grows into a distinct individual and needs nothing greater than to shed that former pores and skin?

It takes braveness, and laser tattoo removing.

“Oh my gosh, that was the worst ache I’ve ever skilled in my complete life,” stated Paul Myers of Publish Falls. “It put my physique in shock. I used to be sweating — my shirt was drenched with ice-cold sweat. I “It was shivering. However I made all of it by means of the entire session, I am fairly happy with myself. It was an hour of pure torture.”

Myers, 39, is just not eradicating one tattoo, neither is the method easy. Myers is present process laser removals to rid himself of the reminders of a life he as soon as lived and barely survived.

“Each considered one of my tattoos I am having eliminated are gang associated and performed in jail,” he stated.

Myers comes from a previous of substance abuse, gang exercise and homelessness.

His story started in tumult. He was born to teenage mother and father whose lives have been steeped in medication and crime.

“Rising up with so many individuals out and in of our lives, it appeared every day we have been discovering out that somebody we knew was murdered or died of an overdose,” Myers recounted. “We hardly knew the distinction.”

He and his little brothers have been continually left with strangers, typically for weeks at a time, and by no means knew what occurred to their mother or if they might ever see her once more.

“There was a time in our lives when the one meals we ate was from a comfort retailer,” Myers stated. “Earlier than they might throw their meals out, they’d look ahead to us to come back, it was normally simply me and my two youthful brothers, Tyler and Nathan. We might stroll there they usually’d give us the hotdogs on the rollers, the popcorn they have been going to throw out. No matter that they had left, they’d put in a bag for us.”

The brothers bounced from Idaho Falls to Las Vegas and again, typically with their mother, typically with relations. They grew to become foster children, the place they suffered abuse by the hands of lots of the households tasked with caring for them. Quickly they have been cut up up.

Myers ultimately discovered a spot to belong to operating medication for the Norteños, a neighborhood gang into which he was jumped at age 9. This led to a five-year jail sentence and a life that continued down a darkish path after he was launched.

He met his girlfriend, Stephanie Oxner, who impressed him to return to highschool and construct a greater future. Then their first daughter was born, and she or he modified all the things.

“I give up when my daughter was born and I by no means turned again,” Myers stated.

A contented, productive, sincere life is what Myers is striving for. He’s celebrating 5 years of sobriety and loving being a daddy. He and Oxner welcomed their second daughter into the world in July. With a lot to reside for, Myers is now engaged on getting a level in elementary schooling at North Idaho Faculty, the place he’s a math tutor, and he needs to provide again to the world. He particularly needs to assist youths who’re struggling like he as soon as did.

However the tattoos on his neck, face and fingers have haunted him. This spring, he accomplished volunteer instructing hours at Seltice Elementary Faculty, an expertise he cherished. When the fourth graders requested about his tattoos of him, he instructed them they have been household crests.

“I needed to misinform them about it. I did not need to however I selected to. That is after I determined to take them off,” Myers stated. “It wasn’t as a result of I assumed they’d be scared. It is as a result of I assumed they’d assume it was cool.”

A math tutor colleague and buddy, Brenda Paustian, knew he needed to take away the tattoos and launched him to the faculty’s Heart for New Instructions program, which related him with Charity Reimagined and Press Christmas for All. With their assist from her, and Superior Aesthetics in Coeur d’Alene offering the service, Myers can afford the eight removing periods that usually value $800 every. He underwent his first session in August and has just a few extra to go.

He’s decided to free himself from the ghosts of his previous.

“That is the value I’ve to pay,” he stated. “It is a very small value to pay for a few of the stuff that I’ve performed in my life.”

Paustian calls Myers her “adopted youngster.” She has seen him blossom from a timid new scholar to somebody who goes out of his means to assist others.

“He is come thus far,” she stated. “He is performed a lot private progress. He has these targets, and are available hell or excessive water, he will make them occur. The factor about Paul is he is not simply doing issues for himself, it doesn’t matter what he is doing at NIC he is at all times acquired others in thoughts.

“It is not many college students who work so exhausting to get by means of their math courses and switch round and grow to be math tutors,” she continued. “He is aware of what it takes to beat and he is aware of what it takes to achieve success, and he will do it. I’ve little doubt.”

The Heart for New Instructions connects college students in want with sources to assist them on their tutorial journeys. Pupil Success Navigator Louisa Rogers shared a written assertion about Myers.

“Very similar to the Apostle Paul from the Bible, Paul’s story is considered one of redemption,” she wrote. “Paul needs to be a instructor. He was accepted to the College of Idaho, after spending two years at NIC, and is motivated and decided to complete his diploma and grow to be a instructor.”

Charity Reimagined board member Elaine Kingston stated after they obtained Myers’ software for assist, “we knew instantly we would have liked to assist him.”

“He has cleared so many massive hurdles in his life by means of his personal resilience and tenacity,” she stated. “We’re very excited to assist him achieve success as a future instructor of our youngsters.”

Myers has huge plans to pay it ahead.

“I consider I could make an affect, particularly for these youngsters who are suffering as I did,” he stated. “I consider that my story is relatable to many individuals.”

By eradicating the tattoos, he is aware of in his coronary heart group members and fogeys of the scholars he’ll at some point educate shall be extra accepting of realizing the life he as soon as lived is way behind him.


The Press Christmas for All marketing campaign kicks off at this time. Over the subsequent few weeks we’ll share the tales of these making use of for assist from the vacation charity program.

We can even share tales like this one, tales that illustrate the resilience of the human spirit and the facility of serving to our neighbors take brave steps to enhance their lives.

Every year, Press readers donate generously to this system. Each penny raised is distributed to Kootenai County residents. All overhead prices are lined by The Hagadone Corp.

The present recipients are our neighbors who’re struggling, together with the aged, the homeless, veterans in want, and other people with disabilities and psychological sickness. Many who search help from Christmas for All are working, however dwelling in poverty.

Beneficiaries of Press Christmas for All maintain their dignity whereas the group supplies a hand as much as assist get them again on their ft.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with help from CharityReimagined.Org. It’s a legally acknowledged 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run totally by volunteers.

Listed here are methods to donate:

  • Mail a verify to Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814.
  • Name The Press and make a safe bank card donation over the cellphone: 208-664-8176
  • Drop off your verify at The Press weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm: 215 N. Second St. in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
  • Go to cdapress.com and click on on Christmas for All 2022 to make a safe, on-line donation.

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