My first tattoo was inked into my inner left wrist when I was in my early 20s and living in New York City.
I thought (at the time) that moving to a city where I knew not a soul was the bravest thing I’d ever do and I wanted to find a way to preserve the memory in a way that felt like how I felt in the city: a little pain, a little blood, the rush of strength and amazement that came in discovering my independence in the city that never sleeps.
And so there, for a long time, on my left wrist, the symbol for courage lived.
(It’s still there, but has since been covered up by another fine piece of art.)
New York had her way with me, and over the years that I lived there, I found my courage time and time again—when the towers fell, the time I fell in love with a woman and when I first started to tumble headfirst into my own rabbit hole.
These aren’t particularly beautiful tattoos, or even that well done—but they were a part of me growing into a woman—and failing and learning and failing again.
They spoke, in their own language, of the many times I broke my own heart—and they would become (little did I know) an essential part of me. As much as I struggle with some of the darker memories from that time in my life, when I trace my fingers over their lines on my body, I remember a lost and surviving version of myself I feel compassion for her.
My evolution and growth as a human being can be seen on my body—much the way that my stretch marks and lines and wrinkles and rolls tell the story of my aging body, my tattoos tell the story of my heart.
The combination (and this took me a long, long time to see), is something quite magical.
(We are more beautiful than we could ever imagine—even the parts we want to hide away from the world.)
One day, maybe over tea, when we get to know each better, I’ll tell you the story of the rest—but for now, this looks amazing and I can’t wait to see it:
Love elephant and want to go steady?