The Tattoo Series (1/7)

I have been trying to find a creative way to share a little bit about myself without writing a long, boring biography. My tattoos, for the most part, have had quite a bit of thought go into them and represent various stages of my life so I figured I’ll get raw and personal and share what thoughts led to each tattoo I’ve received over the past few years.

My first tattoo was when I was freshly 18, as is the case for most people. It was completely spur of the moment as I had just finished eating with a group of friends and we were on the topic of tattoos so I was passing around photos and tattoo inspirations I had been piecing together for some time. We suddenly decided that watching me finally get the tattoo would be a great Friday night activity, so off we went.

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Growing up I was a huge reader. I loved fantasy and fiction stories because I loved symbolism and getting lost in the worlds the authors would create. Alice in Wonderland had always been one of my favorite stories to read. At face value, it’s a fun and silly little book that has always seemed so creative and colorful to me and was so appealing from the get go. Symbolically, though, it means a lot to me.

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”

I’ve always seen the story of Alice as one of “coming of age.” It’s a story about a child transitioning into the adult world, Alice falls into the rabbit hole that is adulthood and sees it as this completely silly world where almost nothing makes sense to her. Everyone is rushing to get to the next appointment, putting on appearances, and guided by corrupt authorities. She has to go to “tea parties” and act a certain way to fit in, she has to deal with unfair leaders, she watches a bunny worry about what’s next so often that he misses out on the now. It all sounds so relatable, doesn’t it? I loved reading about how Alice figures out how to deal with everything she comes across and being able to apply it to myself as someone who was about to graduate high school and enter the real world.

I felt like I was just starting my first big girl job as a hair stylist, learning how to manage my finances, applying for college, and really thinking long term about where my life was leading. I was falling down the rabbit hole in my own way and feeling just as lost and small as Alice had felt in the beginning of her journey.

But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.

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The quote is pretty famous, but I don’t feel like most people try to interpret it much. The Cheshire Cat, who is a bit of a guardian to Alice, tells her this when she is worried about feeling or seeming crazy. He’s telling her that it’s fine to feel out of place because everyone is. For me, it’s a reminder not to take yourself so seriously or feel alone in your anxiety when it comes to the real world because everyone is experiencing their version of that every day. Everyone feels a little crazy, and a little rushed, and a little overwhelmed, so don’t feel like you’re not allowed those feelings and don’t feel embarrassed by expressing yourself when life starts to be a little bit too much. If you don’t let yourself feel a little mad, and get creative, and come up with unique ideas to overcome every day then you might not survive.

Either it brings tears to their eyes, or else -”
“Or else what?” said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden pause.
“Or else it doesn’t, you know.”

I’ve always loved this tattoo and never felt any buyer’s remorse like I know some people do with their first! I feel like I put enough thought into it and picked something meaningful enough to myself that I won’t ever look back and hate it. Thinking of myself at 18 and how scared I was and how little I knew then makes me glad I had a little reminder to not take myself, or anyone, so seriously. It also makes me so proud of how far I’ve come.

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I’m having so much fun reminiscing about where I was in life with each addition to my tattoo collection, so I hope you keep reading and check back for part 2.

L

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