I speak with my Mom every week to every two weeks. Living on opposite sides of the world is hard, but it’s a little bit easier with the invention of Skype and FaceTime, WhatsApp and Apple Messenger, Instagram and Facebook. Communication is so much easier now than it was when I first moved to New Zealand 20 years ago.
Anyway. My Mom has been talking about getting a tattoo. We’ve had this discussion a few times over the last few years: what type of tattoo would she get; where she would get it on her body; how big it would be; and so on. It was something on her bucket list of things she wanted to do. And, of course, I love her, so anything she wants to do, I support 100%.
My sister-in-law Darcie posted an image of a new tattoo she got on Facebook the other day: an arrow on her inner forearm, pointing towards her hand. I wanted to make a joke about her remembering where her hand is, but she explained in her post what the arrow meant and why she had it done. (That’s a story for another post.)
Yesterday, my Mom and I spoke on the phone, as we do every week to two weeks, and here’s part of our conversation:
Mom: Did you see Darcie’s new tattoo?
Me: Yeah, I saw it on Facebook. It looks cool.
Mom: <<Explains the symbolism of the tattoo>>. And my tattoo was a lot smaller.
Me: What? I didn’t know you got a tattoo.
Mom: Yeah. <<Describes tattoo>>
Me: No one ever tells me anything.
<<Conversation continues about the tattoo>>
Me: I don’t have any tattoos. Noel does. I don’t.
Mom: Well, when you visit this summer, we’ll have to get you one.
Me: Nah, that’s okay. I don’t really want one.
Mom: We can all go and help you pick out a design.
Me: Uh, no, I’m fine I think.
Mom: It’s not a problem! We can all go and maybe get matching tattoos!
Me: Who are you and what have you done with my mother?
* Disclaimer: Some parts of this conversation may have been embellished for dramatic effect ha ha.
The whole last part of the conversation did happen but that’s not how far it went; however, she did kinda encourage me to get a tattoo.
Darcie texted to see if I was upset with her for “enabling” Mom (no, I’m not; I thought it was great they went together to get tattoos), and part of the conversation became if I would ever get a tattoo.
I honestly don’t care if other people have tattoos. It doesn’t upset me, and it’s not my body, so it has no bearing on me, really. One of my friends here in New Zealand has his entire body tattooed (except for his head, hands and feet), and it doesn’t phase me really.
Would I get a tattoo? For a short while, I did think about getting one, but I had no idea what I wanted or if it really was a good idea for me. Once it’s on my skin, it gets hard to remove (obviously), and I wasn’t passionate about the thought of a tattoo or even have a clue about a good design or image. If there ever had been a design that jumped out at me and I thought there was a place on my body I could put it, then maybe, but, to be honest, I wouldn’t be fussed if it never happened.
But the conversations about tattoos yesterday did get me thinking. If I did get a tattoo, what would it be?
I don’t know if I’d get it in that exact location but I’d want to get it somewhere I guess where I could see it.
One of our students (now a graduate) had this tattoo on the back of her neck, and I had noticed it a few times. I did know the meaning from researching it a few years prior, but, at Careers Expo, I asked her about it, and she explained to me what it meant to her.
What does it mean?
Well, part of me thinks it’s awesome because I am a writer (on hiatus at the moment, due to illness), and the semicolon intrigues me. I used it a lot in my work because it’s such a powerful punctuation mark, in my opinion. It ends one thought, then begins another; in between, there’s a pause, a change, an alteration, and a beyond, there’s a new thought, a new idea, a new hope.
But there’s a secondary meaning too: it helps support those who have struggled with, or know someone who has struggled with, mental health issues.
Project Semicolon describe themselves as a, “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love, and inspire.”
But what really speaks to me, as a writer, as an avid reader, as a person with mental illness, as someone who has lost loved ones to suicide, and, most importantly, as a survivor, is this phrase: “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
So, if I ever were to get a tattoo, I think it would be the semicolon (in Helvetica, of course, my most favourite font ever).