Pronunciation: /pur-muh-nuh nt/
“There is nothing permanent except change” – Heraclitus
I swear I never thought I’d live past twenty-six. For on my twenty-sixth birthday, I did the unimaginable. I did the one thing my dad disapproves of with a passion: I went out and got tattooed.
My father was (and still is) terrified more tattoos will spontaneously appear on my body (as if it’s a progressive disease) and will cover my skin completely. I tried reassuring him that’s impossible, but I can tell he’s not convinced.
Although my dad did confess he kind of likes mine. But still. It’s a tattoo, a permanent image drawn on my otherwise colourless skin. He’s still not happy about it (but I still am, heehee).
Here’s the thing: I thought about it carefully and let the idea linger in my mind for months and months before I acted on it. I deliberately chose an image I created myself (see the doodle in the picture on top of this post) so I would know for a fact that there’s nobody else out there with the same tattoo. In other words: it’s unique. Like me.
Then, because I like symbolism, it had to mean something to me. Every aspect of it. And it does: the heart shape is a reminder and a thank you to all those I have come to know in my life, whether they are alive, dead, human or animal, and who managed to steal a bit of my heart. I don’t open it up easily, so this is for the special ones that were totally worth letting in.
Basically, my tattoo is a tribute to those I love and/or miss the most. Even if I don’t think about them every day, the image is there permanently and they’re a part of me forever. Literally.
The heart is open so I won’t forget to open myself up to others. I need to give others a chance to secure a special place in there, too. If I don’t, I’ll end up lonely and miserable and I don’t want that.
The colours of my tattoo also have a meaning: apart from being my favourite and second favourite colours, the yellow stands for reason (using your mind, rationality), and the purple stands for spirituality (feelings, intuition, emotion). They compliment each other, in their colour as well as in their meaning, and they represent me. I am very spiritual, but I also think thoroughly before making big decisions (like getting some ink done).
Finally, I had it put on my shoulder for two reasons: so I don’t have to see it ever day (I was scared I’d might grow bored of it, and since it is permanent I didn’t want that to happen, and secondly because I see it as a symbolic pat on the back. I have had some bad years and won some tough battles, but I am still here. I survived, I somehow bounced back every time. And I am proud of that.
Whenever I feel down, I look at my tattoo and I remember how strong I am. Actually, I find myself staring at it in good times, too (even stroking it admiringly sometimes). It’s simply that special to me.
To my dad, it is and always will be a shame and a form of mutilation. To me, it’s like coming home. I often feel like Sweeney Todd when I look at my open heart tattoo and think: “Finally, my body is complete (again).”
The finished project: