The Story Behind My Arrow Tattoo

October 11, 2018

My idea of myself as a person who would never, ever get a tattoo changed in the spring of 2014. I was a few weeks away from the end of my study abroad semester in Paris, and a couple of my friends decided that they wanted to get tattoos. For the first time, I didn’t meet the idea with “no way, never ever” but instead a feeling of “I’d like one, but I don’t know what I would get.”

That feeling stayed with me for a few years – until last summer, when I started to think more seriously about the idea of getting one. I knew at some point I wanted to get a flower, likely a peony or a rose, but I didn’t know where I wanted it to go. So I set that one aside and kept thinking. I don’t remember when I got the idea, but it seemed like it came to me, fully formed: an arrow tattoo on my forearm.

(I should mention that after I got the tattoo, I remembered that Kristin of Taz and Belly had gotten an arrow tattoo on her wrist the year before, and I loved it. I must have shelved it in the back of my mind!)

So what does it mean? I’m gonna be honest: I partially got this just because I liked it. Not every tattoo has to be meaningful! I have friends with lots of tattoos, some they got just because they wanted it in the moment. To some it may seem like a careless way to treat your body, but to others it’s art.

That said, there were a couple of reasons I got this:

  • Arrows represent forward movement, and I wanted something to represent moving across the country and starting a new life.
  • There’s a line in one of my favorite songs by the band The Maine: “Stay soft but don’t be gentle.” I loved that an arrow is delicate but also capable of making a big impact – or doing some damage!
  • I liked it!

I definitely intend to get a flower at some point, but I still haven’t figured out where I want it, So while this is my only tattoo for now, it probably won’t be my only tattoo forever.

Do you have any tattoos? Do they mean anything special?

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