A tattoo is a big decision. It sticks with you the rest of your life – literally. As an 86 year old woman, I want my tattoos to still be “cool.” I also want them to continue to be a reflection of me, my growth and my experiences in this life. I took 8 years to decide on my next tattoo. That’s how long it took for me to really change and accept the challenges of those changes. I needed a symbol that represented resilience, patience, trust, wisdom, growth and strength. I needed something strong that withstands time and beatings and storms. I also wanted a symbol that represented growth, stability, tranquility, and time. Furthermore, the tattoo had to represent the past, present and future – where I have been, where I am now and where I hope to be.
The Bodhi tree is the tree that Buddha sat under to receive enlightenment. Renouncing his privileged life, Siddartha went in search for the reason behind suffering in the world. He took a rest under a tree and made a pledge to stay there until he reached enlightenment. The Bodhi tree now represents many things to many people around the world. To me, it encompasses the strength I have had to make it through the challenges I’ve been faced with. It represents the wisdom I hope to someday have and represents patience and resilience that I am still learning. Moreover, it also represents longevity and continued support to many around the world. The symbolism of the Bodhi tree is endless. The Bodhi tree has strong roots. It lives for hundreds of years through desolate and dry conditions. Although the original Bodhi tree and several planted thereafter have since died, the people keep the tree alive through continual re-births (plantings).
This year has been a big one for me in the realm of change. I finished my masters, gave up a 3 year relationship, moved out of my lovely apartment, met someone I really liked, had that blow up (kind of), got E Coli (twice), took time off work, moved again (this time far, far away) and now I am picking up the pieces of my life at 29 and asking, “Well, what now?” It’s been a big year and nothing is how I thought it would be five years ago. Time to re-think the “Think Tank.” Time to re-define self. Time to self-evaluate. Time to start over. Again. Hopefully for the last time because this time, I’m going to figure out how to BE the tree. If you get my drift.
I’m incorporating this tattoo into my current one. The green squiggles to the left of the tree are my current moon and north star. I’m still reaching for the moon. I’m still shooting for the stars. I’m just learning patience and resilience and the continual need for growth and strength through the process.
As for the bird – the Peregrine Falcon – that’s a shout out to my Perigen roots. The Chickasaw blood runs through me and the family pride is strong. Although I haven’t committed to the bird yet, I like that it’s in the picture.
Tattoo Location: East Side Ink
Tattoo Artist: Patrick Conlon
Official Date of Tattoo: March 16.
I’m looking forward to honoring my past, accepting my present, and anticipating my future.