I have always had a certain affinity toward tattoos. The way that a person can permanently etch meaningful words and pictures into their skin that they look back on for the rest of their lives has an alluring quality to it.
My freshman year of college, I decided on a whim to get 3 small triangular glyphs scored into my forearm. Going in order, the trio symbolizes “create,” “explore,” and “express.” I would be lying if I said that there weren’t times that I wish I had taken more than a few hours to decide on the random placement and had waited until I went to a reputable shop in my hometown rather than a sketchy one in my rural, sleepy college town with an asshole of an artist. Despite the fact that they could have been better, I would also be lying if I said that they didn’t/don’t still mean something to me, especially for all that I had been going through during that period of my life.
Now, a few months short of 2 years later, I’ve only just gotten my second tattoo (mostly because I’m a poor college kid who doesn’t know how to save her money, but whatever).
Traced along my bicep, I now have “Love you forever … no matter what” in my mom’s handwriting. It’s something that she has written in almost every one of my birthday cards since I was a baby and has sentimental value to me.
Besides this aspect, it also has personal value to myself. I’ve struggled with loving myself for as long as I can remember and have put a guard up against those who love me, too. My internal thoughts have strained relationships, and this tattoo is something that I can now look at every day as a reminder that, not only am I loved by others, but I have the ability to love myself, too. Even if I don’t always feel like it, the ability is still there.
Love others. Let others love you. Most importantly — love yourself.