Lena Dunham Just Got A Huge Neck Tattoo Of The Word She's 'Most Scared Of Being Called'

  • Lena Dunham just posted an Instagram of a new tattoo on her neck.
  • The ink spells out the word “sick” using a rope as the lettering.
  • Lena said the tattoo is her way of owning what other people have been labeling her.

For Lena Dunham, facing her fears head-on also means putting her neck on the line—literally.

In a new Instagram photo, the Girls creator and star showed off a brand-new tattoo on the back of her neck—the word “sick” etched out in a rope pattern—and revealed what the eyebrow-raising ink means to her.

“Sometimes the thing you’re most scared of being called is the best thing you can call yourself,” she wrote. “Thank you @havenstudiobk for labeling me… and to my sisters in this dizzying but starry slog- I am lasso’d to you!”

sometimes the thing you’re most scared of being called is the best thing you can call yourself. thank you @havenstudiobk for labeling me… and to my sisters in this dizzying but starry slog- i am lasso’d to you!

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Lena has long been vocal about her myriad health issues. The 32-year-old was diagnosed with endometriosis back in 2014, after suffering through years of super-painful periods. Various surgeries followed to remove lesions, and in 2017, she elected to have a total hysterectomy in the hopes of ending her pain.

A year later in 2018, Lena had an additional surgery to remove her left ovary.

“Yesterday I had a two hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue & fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp,” she posted on Instagram next to an image of herself in post-op recovery. “Over the last month it got worse and worse until I was simply a burrito posing as a human.”

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Yesterday I had a two hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue & fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp. Over the last month it got worse and worse until I was simply a burrito posing as a human. *** My mother took this picture after I spent 9 hours in the post op recovery area with v low blood pressure that the nurses were diligently monitoring. I was so out of it that I thought I looked sensually moody a la Charlotte Rampling (turns out it was more of a constipation vibe.) *** A lot of people commented on my last post about being too sick to finish promoting my show by saying my hysterectomy should have fixed it (I mean *should* is a weird one). That I should get acupuncture and take supplements (I do). That I should see a therapist because it’s clearly psychological (year 25 of therapy, y’all. These are the fruits!) But a big lesson I’ve learned in all of this is that health, like most stuff, isn’t linear- things improve and things falter and you start living off only cranberry juice from a sippy cup/sleeping on a glorified heating pad but you’re also happier than you’ve been in years. I feel blessed creatively and tickled by my new and improved bellybutton and so so so lucky to have health insurance as well as money for care that is off of my plan. But I’m simultaneously shocked by what my body is and isn’t doing for me and red with rage that access to medical care is a privilege and not a right in this country and that women have to work extra hard just to prove what we already know about our own bodies and beg for what we need to be well. It’s humiliating. *** My health not being a given has paid spiritual dividends I could never have predicted and it’s opened me up in wild ways and it’s given me a mission: to advocate for those of us who live at the cross section of physical and physic pain, to remind women that our stories don’t have to look one way, our pain is our gain and oh shit scars and mesh “panties” are the fucking jam. Join me, won’t you? *** 📷 @lauriesimmons

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Yesterday I had a two hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue & fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp. Over the last month it got worse and worse until I was simply a burrito posing as a human. *** My mother took this picture after I spent 9 hours in the post op recovery area with v low blood pressure that the nurses were diligently monitoring. I was so out of it that I thought I looked sensually moody a la Charlotte Rampling (turns out it was more of a constipation vibe.) *** A lot of people commented on my last post about being too sick to finish promoting my show by saying my hysterectomy should have fixed it (I mean *should* is a weird one). That I should get acupuncture and take supplements (I do). That I should see a therapist because it’s clearly psychological (year 25 of therapy, y’all. These are the fruits!) But a big lesson I’ve learned in all of this is that health, like most stuff, isn’t linear- things improve and things falter and you start living off only cranberry juice from a sippy cup/sleeping on a glorified heating pad but you’re also happier than you’ve been in years. I feel blessed creatively and tickled by my new and improved bellybutton and so so so lucky to have health insurance as well as money for care that is off of my plan. But I’m simultaneously shocked by what my body is and isn’t doing for me and red with rage that access to medical care is a privilege and not a right in this country and that women have to work extra hard just to prove what we already know about our own bodies and beg for what we need to be well. It’s humiliating. *** My health not being a given has paid spiritual dividends I could never have predicted and it’s opened me up in wild ways and it’s given me a mission: to advocate for those of us who live at the cross section of physical and physic pain, to remind women that our stories don’t have to look one way, our pain is our gain and oh shit scars and mesh “panties” are the fucking jam. Join me, won’t you? *** 📷 @lauriesimmons

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

As she continues to heal, Lena now uses her social media account predominately as a platform to discuss her health and women’s health at large. More recently, she posted a connect-the-dots-style image of her various surgery scars, in honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month in March.

Anyone who knows me (or knows *of* me) equates me with 2 things: nudity and pelvic pain. I’ll take it if it lets me spread the good word. And now, I’m dating & connecting my scars from 12 surgeries as part of my endo sister @georgiewileman’s campaign #thisisendometriosis (March is endometriosis awareness month) to raise awareness of endometriosis and the multiple surgeries that are performed every year to try and ease the symptoms of an incurable disease that effects roughly 1 out of 10 women, yet is so often ignored or dismissed as a mental health issue (uh yeah, when you ignore our pain it sure becomes one!) Let’s make some noise this coming bikini season. PS: Should I just go for it and make these lines permanent? PPS: Trying to write the dates upside down on my stomach is the only downside of living alone.

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Kudos to Lena for being open and honest about her recovery, and for not only advocating for her own health, but for the health of women around the world.

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