When my high school peers started getting tattoos, I was completely turned off to the idea. Sure, I thought decorating one’s body with meaningful (or sometimes just cool) artwork was an admirable thing to do, but I could never see myself putting permanent ink on my skin. I mean, come on, I’ve never dyed my hair in my life and I only have double ear piercings…I’m not exactly the textbook definition of “badass teenage girl.”
Well, friends, I have some exciting news for you! I GOT A TATTOO!!!
Yep, I did it. Two days ago I went to my local tattoo and piercing shop and held back tears as the artist drew the design I wanted onto my right inner wrist. And it was freaking awesome.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t awesome in the moment. Maybe I was too afraid to look at my wrist while the tattoo artist was at work and instead stared at the wall, gripping my boyfriend’s hand so tight that I almost cut off his circulation (because I have a low tolerance for pain and holy hell, did that tattoo pen hurt!). But I am so thrilled with how it turned out!
I grew more open to the possibility of getting a tattoo (or two or three, we’ll see) when I started my second year of college and met more people who had them. And the best part was that each person lit up every time they told the story of what their design meant to them personally — how it memorialized a loved one who had passed away or signified an internal struggle they had overcome. I began sketching out a few ideas that represented my passions and life values and the many different ways I see beauty in the world. Then my boyfriend gave me a Christmas gift that solidified it for me: he offered to pay for my first tattoo! That’s when I knew I wanted to get it done this summer.
Now here is where I reveal the message behind the ink! After a lot of back and forth, I finally settled on the design in the picture above. It holds a double meaning for me that makes it even more special in my eyes. This symbol appears on the back cover of Florence + the Machine’s 2015 record How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Since the first time I saw it, I was captivated by its simplicity and striking depth. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Florence Welch’s music has helped me through so many dark, difficult times in the past few years and this album in particular continues to inspire me every day, so getting the symbol tattooed onto my skin felt like the perfect way to honor that. It is a reminder of the healing power of song, the free spirit that is within me, and my own strength. Fun fact — Florence herself has the same tattoo (just upside down from mine) on her finger!
It also has another meaning that I discovered later on when I found this jewelry website, where the author describes the drawing as a connection of the four alchemical elements. The top triangle of my tattoo is the alchemical symbol for air and the bottom represents water. And to everyone else who looks at my wrist, the plain triangle becomes the top one and stands for fire, while the bottom shape is earth. I have always felt connected to air and water, and now I can look at my tattoo and feel all four elements of the earth with even more energy.
I absolutely love the dual symbolism behind this beautiful design and I am so glad that it is now a part of me forever! It’s the perfect size for me and I feel like it was meant to be right there on my wrist. My first tattoo experience was very positive overall and well worth 10 minutes of pain, haha. I have some other ideas in mind but I think I’ll stick with this one for a while…after all, the story on my skin will last a lifetime.
Stay free! xo