My story, my ink.
For me, getting a tattoo isn't about looking 'cool', or committing an act of rebellion, or making a fashion statement. Personally, I couldn't care less about what people think of me.
However, I believe that my journey in this life can be chronicled by looking at my body.
That massive scar on my right knee? A reminder of my first [and sadly, not last] disastrous attempt to impress a boy at the tender age of 11, which ended in screams, tears, and 14 stitches.
The weird dimple in my tongue? The remnants from my tongue piercing, circa 2001, and my first steps towards owning my individuality at 17.
The slight indentation on my wedding ring finger? A subtle reminder of past love and broken promises from my 20s.
The little feathery lines around my eyes? That's testimony of 29 years of laughter, joyful moments, and habitually flashing a smile that sometimes feels too big for my face.
And so, I add to this collection of bodily journal entries with my chosen art de jour: ink.
My tattoos are deeply personal and meaningful to me. Inspiring words, written in organic, handwritten fonts.
Elegant in their simplicity. Deliberate in their intention.
I like to think of them as passport stamps from the ultimate adventure.
My first tattoo - let your joy rise to the surface - was a gentle reminder to always find the inherent joy in life, even when I felt overcome by crippling sadness and doubt.
It was my way of reminding myself that even when I felt that all had been taken from me, I could still choose to be happy and allow my deepest self-love to rise up. It commemorates the moment I decided to take the first deliberate steps towards shaking off my old persona as a 'Mrs', and stepping up to become my most authentic, individual self.
My newest - oh the places you will go - is an affirmation, a personal promise of the wonderful journey that now stretches ahead of me as I prepare to leave the comfort of my undergrad studies and make my mark on the world beyond academics.
I had this done on the eve of my final day as a university student, and the poignancy of the moment brings even more meaning to this piece.
I know that some of you may be reading this and be thinking, 'Girl, please - tattoos? Ugh, so *not* my thing...' and that's cool. I know that ink is not for everyone - just like piercings, blunt fringes, geek glasses, vegan diets, or Catholicism.
That's what makes us so unique - we all write our story in different ways. This is just the way I write mine.
Oh, and crashing bikes into the boy you're crushing on while laughing hysterically? That helps too.