Last Monday, I got a tattoo.
It’s actually my second tattoo – I got my first one when I was about 20 – but I still had a long thought process about whether or not to do it. In the end, it was the decision of a moment, when it finally felt right.
The tattoo is on my right wrist. It’s three asterisk-like stars in the shape of Orion’s belt. The angle is slightly exaggerated, because that’s how I see the constellation in my mind. The style is delicate and hand drawn, in a way that’s popular these days.
Ever since I was a kid, I would always look up into the sky and find Orion’s belt. No matter where I was in the world, even when I was away at summer camp or when I studied abroad in college, I would look up at night, find Orion and get this feeling; I know where I am. I am home. I am safe.
Changing my career was destabilizing for a little while.
It’s hard, when you identify as something, and then you suddenly stop being that thing. It’s hard, when you identify as being smart and good at things, and suddenly you are a beginner again.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned a lot about the ways that I escape myself and the hard feelings that can arise.
This tattoo is to remind me that this body is my home. That I shouldn’t look outside myself for answers. That I shouldn’t numb my pain or seek praise to make myself feel better. That the way to feel safe in yourself is to love and accept everything about who you are and where you are right now.
Do you have any tattoos? What do they mean to you?