I had promised to write about this a while ago… but if you read my previous post you would know that I’ve suffered a bit of writer’s block lately.
So, right after I made my 35 before 35 list, I was able to cross something off:
2. Get a new tattoo
I had wanted to get something while I was traveling. Nothing special, but it would be a good story nonetheless. So, when I made it to London at the end of my 3 week European adventure, I sought out a tattoo parlor at which I would be branded with something random to serve as a memento of the trip. I was thinking of a Doctor Who tattoo that I had wanted (“Allons-y” for all you Whovians out there). But then the time came to get it done… and suddenly I felt the need to make it more meaningful.
Earlier that day I was aimlessly wandering around London… I found myself crossing the Waterloo Bridge and looking to my right I saw Big Ben… and I was smacked in the face with emotion. I started crying. Happy, overwhelmed tears.
I was at the tail end of my trip… a trip I had been determined to make. A trip for which I worked my ass off… and did all by myself. It’s still hard for me to fully articulate. It was a moment where I felt the very definition of strong and independent. I felt so tiny in the world and yet incredibly powerful. I learned about myself. I changed. I grew. And all at once, it hit me.
Back at my hostel, I brainstormed with a couple of people for tattoo designs. I casually mentioned this story and it seemed obvious what the tattoo design would be: a bridge. Bridges are symbolic of strength and transition… a joining of two sides. I think this was pretty representative of this trip.
So, I made a very last minute appointment with a tattoo artist recommended by one of the hostel workers. I told him I wanted a bridge on my wrist and a couple of hours later I was sitting in the parlor while Jake, my artist, sketched something up. I wanted something small and simple. And this was the sketch:
When he showed me the sketch I thought it was too big… was I ready for something like this? And then he mentioned color. Now, I already have a couple of small tattoos. They are fairly hidden and are black and grey. Color was not something I wanted. But I let Jake convince me. Why the hell not? Go big and all that, right?
And just like the other tattoos I have, there was a moment of absolute doubt and hesitation in the seconds before the first needle touched my skin. This is forever after all. But then he started… and there was no going back.
I just kept remembering why I was getting this… what it meant and how it will always serve as a reminder of my time spent abroad. The friends I made… the lessons I learned… the strength I gained. And when it was all over…
Aside from the constant questioning regarding its geographic significance (it’s just a bridge… it’s not the Golden Gate or the Bay Bridge… or the Brooklyn Bridge), I LOVE IT. I love looking down at it and knowing what it means to me.
Even now when I doubt myself, I can look down at my wrist and I know what I’m capable of: anything
Blog song title: “Gone” by Vacationer (this was the song playing while I was on the bridge… the lyrics don’t necessarily match the mood… but when I hear the song, I still remember that feeling I had on the bridge that day)