Decorating my body with memories

The other day I was washing dishes, staring out my kitchen window  when my thoughts drifted to my tattoos. I have three of them. None of them planned. All spontaneously done but filled with memories and meaning.

It’s sort of like life isn’t it? So much of what we experience isn’t planned, but brings with it memories & meaning along with the pain.

My first tattoo is a butterfly located on my right hip. I was 18 and up until that point I had always been an obedient child, rarely going against my parents wishes. I guess you could call this my rebellious stage. There was no planning or thought put into it, I simply went into the tattoo parlor, picked out the first thing that caught my eye and went for it.

Growing up I had always been VERY shy, but something happened that summer before entering into college. I no longer wanted to be the shy, self conscious girl anymore. I wanted to come out of my shell, make friends and learn who I was. In hindsight, a butterfly was the perfect representation for that season of my life.

As the years followed, more tattoos came, along with the memories (good & bad) that they would bring.

A flower with my husbands name written in the vines on the top of my left foot, capturing that sweet dream-like season of life. Newlyweds, with hearts wide open to the journey that was upon us. I remember the tattoo artist telling me that this tattoo would never last, the color would fade in such a delicate spot, but I didn’t care. It was exactly what I wanted. And you know what? It still looks as beautiful now, 12 years later, as it did then.

Initials on my lower back honoring the loss of my brother in law, Jason. A time in our lives when we felt broken and unsure of where our lives were headed. Where I had to learn how to live 500 miles away from my husband for 9 months, in a city where I knew few people and had no friends of my own.

And a addition of vines and another butterfly to my first tattoo. Initially, I did this out of pure desire for more. But now see it as a representation of myself in this new city, once again having to learn how to spread my wings and fly.

There was a time when I feared that decorating my body would be a phase and something I’d later regret.

I never put much thought into my tattoos before arriving at the tattoo parlor, so there have been times where I feared that I might regret them. But as I get older and experience life, I love them more and more.

I love that I was bold enough to get my husbands name tattooed on my body, something that I’m sure others would never do. Or that I just went with my gut and did what felt right in the moment. I love that I have a way to carry my brother in law with me always. And a reminder of the beauty that life brings when you spread your wings and fly…

XOXO,

~P

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