I grew up in an environment where a tattoo was a sign for a prisoner or a seaman. “Normal” people would not have one. I used to judge when I saw people getting tattoos: “This is permanent. Do they even know what they are doing?”
Guess what? I just joined the ranks of the above.
Would I have gotten a tattoo without my divorce? I don’t know.
But when we broke up 5 months ago one of the first things that came to my mind was getting a symbol for my new beginnings.
I wanted to express a number things and it wasn’t easy to do so without letters or words. Eventually I figured it out. Here is what it stands for:
At the center of my back is an Aum sign. It is an Indian symbol that can be interpreted in many ways.
In my case it represents peace and harmony and uniting a number of threes into one.
i.e. Body, Mind and Soul into Oneness
Waking- Dreaming- Dreamless Sleep into a transcendental fourth state of consciousness
Aum is also the signifier of the ultimate truth that all is one.
The tribal sun around the Aum represents a source of energy.
LEFT LOTUS FLOWER
Lotus flowers are a sign for life in general and also symbolize the awakening to the spiritual reality of life.
The red & orange lotus flower to the left has a peace sign embedded. It represents nonviolent communication to me. A beautiful concept explained by Marshall Rosenberg in his book. Being in a peaceful state of mind also allows me to perform random acts of kindness. This concept that’s been sticking with me for a long time and is represented here as well.
Red and orange are warm colors for me.
RIGHT LOTUS FLOWER
The lotus flower to the right has a symbolic bridge embedded. Crossing a bridge often means heading to the unknown. I am entering uncharted territory. I don’t know what’s at the other end when I start walking. I am a little afraid but I am committed to that path. There will be new beginnings at the other end of that bridge. I’ll be crossing many more bridges in my life. This bridge reminds me to continue to do so.
Blue is a bit of a colder color. It stands for some of the fear associated with the bridge.
VINES & SHADOWS
The tribal vines connect me with the raw and wild piece inside myself.
The airbrush style shadowing represent my shadows. This serves as a reminder that they are always present. In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts.
This is a tattoo has a lot of internal aspects. It is hidden since I hardly take my shirt off in public. You and I know it is there and what it stands for.
My legal divorce is happening while my tattoo is healing. Yes, symbols are pretty big in my book.
This entire process is a very big deal for me. I processed a lot of things will sitting on this chair, being in pain and making permanent changes to my body.
Some of you might be shocked. I went flat out from no body art to having a good part of my entire upper back covered. I hope the above explains a bit why I took this step. It put me in a better place.
- This was a 5 1/2 hour excruciating process. Depending on your sensitivity this might be the worst pain you have experienced.
- I had my own design and drawings. I knew for quite some time what I wanted. I would not recommend walking into a tattoo shop and being “spontaneous”. It is a permanent change to your body.
- My tattoo artist Walter McDonald has been in the business for 14 years. He works at Lifetime Of Sol in Denver. It certainly gave piece of mind to work with someone who picked up on my ideas and drafts and who has done way over 5,000 tattoos. He put my vision into reality. Thanks Walter!
Here are some images showing the process and the final result.