Bucket List #42: Get a tattoo

There is so much meaning in that small, little word. Tattoo. So many turns in the road of where your thoughts were going. All resulting from one tiny, yet permanent decision. What turns does your own mind take when you hear about someone getting a tattoo, or see someone who has one?

I have seen and heard many different reactions. Some are good, some are not. Some are indifferent. I can’t say for sure when it was I first made the decision that I liked tattoos. I know it was before I graduated high school. The reasons why are just as blurry now, too. Who can easily remember their own mind 10 or more years ago? She is so long ago now, and I have changed a lot since then. Not everything about a person changes, of course. But the things we like, want, or dream can change as time goes by. And sometimes even the reasons for our dreams change even when the dreams themselves do not. Whatever it was that caused me to like tattoos then, I know why now. I also know why I ultimately decided on the one I got.

I got my tattoo in Maryland, USA, around a year ago now. My friend and I decided to go together, and I agreed to visit her and her husband to get it done there.

My friend had taken a long time to finally decide what she wanted. I had played around with different ideas for a while before this, and I knew for at least a year or longer by the time we actually went. I was pretty set on what I would get. When deciding what and where, the choice ended up pretty simple. I thought about what I would get as if I had no other opportunity to get another. If I could only choose one, what would I get? And where would I want it? I knew I wanted it somewhere prominent. Not somewhere it would be covered up. I was also set on the saying: “Live your life.”

live_your_life_tattoo

Why this? Tattoos are all subjective, of course. Sometimes I get people who confuse this saying (even my own mother, sadly) with the term Yolo that kids are using now. “You only live once.” This is not that. The saying I chose for my tattoo for me isn’t about using the idea of death as an excuse to live a life without consequences. This is almost the opposite, in fact. This is to live a life thinking strongly about your choices. To truly live, you could never throw caution to the wind so entirely you risk everything and anything.

It is about making hard decisions, and hard actions. It is about doing things, even when they are challenging or seem impossible. Striving to be the best to yourself, and the best to others.

It is being at the end, and knowing you tried as hard as you could–fought as hard as you could–to truly be a person your friends enjoy being friends with, your family love and can be proud of, your coworkers are inspired by, and you yourself can look back and say, yes. There is a girl I am happy in her actions and life. She wasn’t always perfect, but she tried her best to be a decent, good person.

Yes, it is also about not allowing fear hinder you from experiencing life, and sometimes giving into being impulsive every once in a while. It is working towards something you may fail at, or something that may, as an indirect consequence, be dangerous. It is the choice of living without always knowing the outcome to your decisions, and that is a scary thing to do sometimes. Sometimes it would be easier to take less complicated, safe courses in life. Courses you can see miles into the future of. But what is a future without heart in it?

jamie_tattoo_edited2

Almost a year and a half later, and I am still happy with my tattoo. It means what it means to me, and that’s why I got it. This is the life I want for myself. It is the life I try to make for myself, everyday. My tattoo is something that reminds me of that challenge.

I have seen all types of reactions. There have been some coworkers who only just noticed it very recently. Some who have noticed it, but have made no remarks. I watch their eye skim over my arm, just for an instance, and then they go on as if nothing had happened. Perhaps they don’t have an opinion one way or another, or perhaps they just rather keep it to themselves.

Some people have made silly, cliche remarks. One coworker once said, “Our little Jamie got a tattoo?”

I have had strangers who, while ringing my purchases up or riding an elevator with me, have said they loved it. Then there are people, like my mom, who wouldn’t speak to me after I got it. Who I ended up having a struggling relationship for 6 months before, thankfully, we finally worked it out.

The world is a complicated, crazy place to live in sometimes. Sometimes, just one decision can change so much. I knew going in this decision would do so. No matter how much we try to improve ourselves–as an individual, as a community, as a nation, or even as a species–there will always be tangible things we associate to identities. Always be judgement by the cover, before the book. Even the best of us cannot help it. Trying to negate this altogether would drive us insane, and a part of being a healthy person needs these kinds of identities in our lives to an extent. Having a tattoo means adding something to that cover, both good and bad.

As for the story behind the cover? Well, I suppose you’ll just have to keep following along with me as I find out.

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5 comments

  1. I have loved tattoos as long as I can remember, but here I am at 24 years old and my canvas is still blank. I have tossed around several ideas in my head but nothing has completely stuck. What I do know is that I want a half sleeve and for it to be colorful. I’m an artist of sorts so I jump back and forth between designing my own or getting a beautiful piece from a unique tattoo artist. Until that day comes, I will continue to dream of the possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice! Well, you still have plenty of time :). I was older than 24. Besides, being certain with what you want is important (and I guess especially in this case). I love half sleeves! I wouldn’t get one on myself, because I just wouldn’t like how it’d look on me personally (some girls it looks awesome). Which goes into another thing I like–when tattoo designs compliment the shape of a person’s body. I think that can be even more creative and skillful! I also love the idea of getting tattoos for important accomplishments. If I ever earned a black belt in jiu jitsu I would get a tattoo to celebrate that–no matter how old I was! 🙂

      I really want to get another, but like you said nothing has really hit me in a way that said “this is it”.

      I love color, too. I specifically went with black because I wasn’t sure how I would handle getting a tattoo. I’m actually deathly afraid of needles; so getting blood drawn, shots, anything freaks me out. I actually counted numbers the whole time he did it to distract my brain from thinking about it. I think it really helps.

      I thought black would fade slower, in case I didn’t have the courage to get it touched up. Also, for a silly reason too–but black never clashes with what you are wearing. But I know I can handle it now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love black as well and think it is classic. Though I really want a half sleeve, I know I will get something smaller and more simple done to test the waters and see how my body takes a tattoo as well. I’ve had an idea for a while, but have yet to take the plunge. It would be a memorial tattoo for my brother who was killed in a car accident 11 years ago. I’m not really religious so the the idea of a cross and some ribbons with dates scribbled on them has always been a turnoff for me. Traditional memorial tattoos just don’t do it for me at all. What I have settled on for sure are the words “You are not alone in this.”

        It’s a line from my favorite Mumford and Sons song and I always connected with the words. No matter what, in life or death I am not alone. Even if no one is physically with me, I have them with me in my memories and heart. Knowing that gives me the power and support I need to do whatever it takes.

        Additionally, i relate to it because I’m not the only person in this world to go through something, whatever it is. Hundreds, thousands, if not hundred’s of thousands of other people on this planet have gone through exactly whatever situation I am dealing with and have come out stronger and better. Knowing that gives me piece of mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is absolutely a beautiful way of thinking, and a beautiful memory to your brother. Very inspiring, and I believe in that as well.

        I think you have a great idea with this. I’m not really religious either so I can relate there, plus having something different makes it even more personal to you and even more connected with your brother. If you eventually get it done, I hope you post it on your blog so I can see the outcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hope to get it in the near future. I’ve been thinking about if for almost 3 years and it’s about time that do it. Initially I was waiting to get my “canvas” in better shape for the tattoos, but think I’m close enough for now. The half sleeve will come in time and I will eagerly await that day.

        Liked by 1 person

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