I’ve always loved the concept of body modification.
Not to be rebellious, or make a statement or anything like that. For me, getting a new piercing or tattoo is an intensely personal process – and one that I don’t take lightly, or rush into. It’s a way to express myself, highlight a life experience or pay tribute to someone important.
I started piercing my ears when I was a teenager, and I’ll admit that in the beginning I wanted to do it to look “badass.” That was my rationale for the first four or five, but after that the process became more meaningful.
By the time I was getting more involved piercings – which I define as anything that should be done with a needle and has a healing time of longer than a week – I’d think long and hard before making the appointment. I’d also consider who I wanted to bring with me, because having a good wingman is very important.
In case you’re curious… two of my current earrings signify major accomplishments; another a horrible tragedy where heading to the nearest tattoo parlour and asking for a hole in my head seemed the only appropriate response. That one hurt the most, but I wear it as a reminder that all pain – whether physical or emotional – is temporary.
The decision to get my first tattoo was one that took me about a year to arrive on. Then, it took three months to commit to the design, and a final year before I picked a date and scheduled it. I wanted to be sure I’d love it forever, and have no regrets…
… and I don’t. The turtle sits proudly on my left ankle, and signifies family, adventure and my passion for travel. I’ve had it for six years and love it more every time I look at it.
The idea for my most recent tattoo started to take shape about a year ago, but it really became a solid concept after I travelled to Hawaii with mom this past March. I’ve gushed a lot about that trip – on this blog and elsewhere – so I’ll gloss over the finer points of our week in paradise and just say that Hawaii has always been a special place for our whole family.
Spending that time with my mom made me realize I wanted something permanent to remind me of her, along with my father and brother.
The hibiscus flower is self-explanatory. Not only are they beautiful, they’re everywhere in Hawaii and represent delicate beauty or old royalty depending on who you ask. The light blue is actually aquamarine, and represents March – the birthstone for both my parents. The light purple behind it is amethyst, which is February for my brother. And “Hope” ties us all together.
It was very important to me to have the word “Hope” written in my mom’s handwriting – and the tattoo artist captured it beautifully. Equally important was the placement. I’m a writer, and couldn’t think of a better spot to honour my family than my right wrist.
The significance of my new tattoo is already evolving and becoming more meaningful each day. There’s truly nothing better than having hope – whether you’re hopeful for a new job, a specific life experience or finding a long lost love again after a decade apart. Having hope gives life meaning, and the tattoo on my arm is a constant reminder of that.