Some people prescribe to the idea that you ought not get tattoos unless they carry a profound meaning, while others believe that your body is a canvas and you are the one holding the paintbrush.
I believe people have the right to do what they want in terms of tattoos; your tattoo being meaningful or meaningless has no effect on my life. Personally, my tattoos do carry meaning but just because they are meaningful, does not mean I want to share with every person I come across what exactly that meaning is.
The meanings I have given my tattoos are personal and not something I easily care to admit. I have a hard time admitting difficult truths verbally so I thought I could reveal them in a written form, where I don’t have to look anyone in the eye or suffer an uncomfortable pause.
So here are the ways I answer “So what is the meaning behind your tattoo?”: the watered down truths and the whole truths.
What I say: I really loved the fact that it was a lotus blossoming, symbolizing new beginnings. The way the petals are geometric rather than rounded, like a normal flower, symbolizes uniqueness.
What I mean: So this is tattooed on my sternum/rib/stomach area because this is the place I hate most about myself and my desire to begin to instead appreciate it. The blooming lotus symbolizes my decision to start anew and stop starving myself.
What I say: This is based off my favorite quote and considering my wrists are almost always in sight, it is a visual reminder that I can do this.
What I mean: This is based off my favorite quote and I put it on my wrist because when I am sobbing uncontrollably or rocking with my head in my hands during a panic attack, I can open my eyes and see this reminder. Hopefully it’ll make me feel better.
What I say: Well, some of my happiest days were spent on bikes in the summer and the sunflowers add that summery, joyful feel.
What I mean: This is my own version of a semi-colon except I didn’t want to broadcast that information to everyone. The bike symbolizes the need to keep moving on, even if you don’t want to, because there are sunnier days ahead.
It can be uncomfortable for people, and myself, to know such personal information about me. I have the watered down truths memorized, as if the reasons were a script, and every time I am involved in a conversation regarding tattoos, I begin to rehearse them. Ready to share my, at surface level, “deep meanings” without ever truly reaching their depths.
“Tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but also enhance the soul” -Michelle Delio