I talked a while ago about my revised bucket list after my diagnosis.
One of the things on that list was ‘get a tattoo’ and I can now cross it off my list.
I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo for a long time, but when you’re going to put a permanent piece of art on your body it better be something that has meaning to you. It doesn’t matter if it has meaning for others – it’s yours and yours alone. It’s also something that you have to live with the rest of your life – so that meaning has to mean something to you 5, 10, 30 years from now. I’m old enough to not go into this lightly – no spontaneous decisions. My experience with brain cancer, the support of my family, and the promise of life gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with an idea for a tattoo that meant something significant for me.
The next step is finding images of the elements of the tattoo to bring to a tattoo artist, giving him/her enough to do what they do best. The right tattoo artist will use those elements to design a tattoo that incorporates them into a piece of art that reflects the image you had in your head. That tattoo artist should be someone recommended to you by someone who has experience with him/her and who’s work you’ve seen and like.
Then you need to convince your 10-year-old daughter that having a tattoo won’t change me as a person. That it won’t be on my face. That I’m old enough to make decisions that don’t require her full approval. That once it’s done, I’m certain she’ll like it. Finally to dispel the stereotypes that have obviously settled into her mind about what a person with a tattoo is like – reminding her that you can’t judge a person by their outward appearance.
This is the result of that experience for me:
The tree of life
Blooms and leaves of new beginnings and the promise of ongoing life
Sisu – a Finnish (I’m a Finn) word generally meaning courage, persistence, and resilience
A heart representing the love and support my family offers to hold me up and keep me fighting
And 3 birds representing my children and my husband (also an homage to Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’)
This is a very personal piece of art for me. If you were to get a tattoo, it would likely be very different from mine. I think it’s beautiful and perfectly reflects the image I had in my head. I am confident that I will proudly display it for the rest of my life – which will hopefully be a very long time.