Ten tattoos... ten stories...
I love tattoos but I also like to make sure that the ones I get have deeper meanings. These are some of my favorites...
I was thinking that the stories behind them might make good chapters for a small self published book that I can share with my daughter and maybe some close friends.
These are just the summaries. The full stories are a lot longer and I have a few more that I could add as well.
1. Different perspectives
I'm from the US and I got this tattoo during a trip to Australia. It's a sea turtle with a map of the world on its back... and the map is from the perspective of the Australian artist who designed it for me. So Australia is in the center instead of the lower right hand corner where it is on the world maps we usually see in the states (and North America is in the top right corner). Both perspectives are totally correct - the Earth is just a big ball of rock spinning through space and there really is no "up" or "down" as far as the universe is concerned. So I like this tattoo because it's a nice reminder that there are a lot of different ways to look at the world and none of them are necessarily (wrong).
When my mom passed away I had to spend a lot of time sorting through her things to decide what to keep, what to get rid of, etc... I'm an only child and never knew my dad so there really wasn't anyone else around to help me and it was a pretty stressful time. It eventually occurred to me that my mom's things were just "things" and most of them didn't have any meaning left now that she was gone. It made me wonder how many of my own things I really needed... and over time I got rid of most of them.... which helped to free up a lot of time and money for me to travel and have interesting experiences around the world... so I got a map with the saying Collect Memories, Not Things and had each continent colored in after I had a chance to visit it. Now that I finally had a chance to go to Antarctica earlier this year I need to make an appointment to have the rest of it finished.
3. Speaking of Antarctica...
I got this penguin tattoo in Buenos Aires on my way back home after running a half marathon in Antarctica earlier this year. I wanted a way to celebrate the end of a long journey to run in all 50 US states and on all 7 continents. I had to get the tattoo in Argentina since there aren't any tattoo shops in Antarctica but the artist did a great job.
I got this one in Thailand. It's a traditional bamboo tattoo that the artist did by hand Instead of using a tattoo gun. It's not a big tattoo and it isn't particularly impressive compared to some of my others but it has one of the coolest stories.
5. Where I've been
My passport stamps from all the countries I've traveled to.
6. Where I'm going...
A world famous street artist designed this tattoo for me and it has a compass on its back. It goes with my map tattoos so I'll always have a map and a compass to remind me that I can always find my way no matter how lost I might feel sometimes.
7. My Mom's artwork
My mom wanted to be an artist but gave up on her dream because she was a single parent and couldn't pay our bills without a regular 9-5 job that she hated. After she died I got a tattoo of her artwork to remind myself of how much she sacrificed to make sure I would have the kinds of opportunities she wanted me to have when I grew up.
8. A tribute to my daughter
When my daughter was just a few days old I noticed that she liked to sleep on her back with her arms and legs spread out to the sides and I thought she looked like a little star. So I gave her that as a nickname and got a tattoo to remind me of her. I've been calling her Star ever since.
9. A tribute to a friend
My mom's cat was three years old when she died. He came to live with me after that and lived for another 17 years. He was with me for most of my adult life and saw me through a lot of ups and downs (and since he was originally my mom's cat it felt like I still had a connection to her through him). After he was gone I wanted a way to remember him.
10. Learning about my roots
I always knew that I was Irish but I never knew my dad or anyone on his side of my family so I always felt like half of my life was a mystery. Luckily with the help of DNA testing I was able to find out the exact region in Ireland that my ancestors came from a few years ago. I traveled there to learn more about my family history and where my last name came from and also got this tattoo while I was there.