Norman filmed me getting the tattoo done – here is the video:
I have never been the child that my parents worry about, or a person that keeps everyone guessing. Although I love a spontaneous outing, I am not impulsive; not a slave to instantaneous decision making. I suppose that’s why my parents’ main concern went I left to go travelling was not any bad decisions I might make but rather just that they would miss me! A person comes to see themselves through the eyes of others, and so I too didn’t worry about making any stupid decisions.
While at a surf hostel, I heard about a bar nearby that gives free tattoos on Tuesdays. All you had to do was buy dinner there. I entertained the idea for a while, and it was extra enticing because it was free! I have considered getting a tattoo in the past, but it was fleeting because I only ever wanted a small one, and the price was too expensive to warrant that.
I laughed the idea off until Tuesday drew near, and I realised if this was ever going to be a reality I had to get going. I made a personal decision that I would only do it if I could think of something meaningful enough to put on my body, and I started looking at pictures on the internet. I had an idea at the beginning but set it aside to explore others to be sure, and my mind kept going back to that first idea. I had considered asking all my friends and family back home what they thought I should get but I didn’t because that would have made it too complicated. Everyone would have different ideas of what I should get, where I should get it and why. And that would hurt people in the process because I would only go with one idea and the rest of the people would think I didn’t care about their opinion. It had to be on my, and only my, body forever, so although I always value others opinions, they aren’t the ones that need to be satisfied.
I still wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to do it on Tuesday! I was told that I need to be at the bar, Deus, before 6PM because that is when the board went up. Only the first 10 people get to put their names on the board so I had to get there early. To be honest, even sitting at my table at Deus, I wasn’t certain I was going to go through with it. I put my name down anyway so that I could if I wanted to.
I was torn between 2 different pictures of robins in the end. I had decided for certain that I wanted to get a tattoo of a robin but I just didn’t know which one. It has so much meaning to me, but I’m not going to be soppy and write it all out.
Allysa, my friend from the hostel, went before me. She already has a tattoo so she wasn’t as scared as I was. I had trouble explaining to the tattoo artist what I wanted because he couldn’t speak any English. I had a photo but I still had some specifications. Unfortunately I think that they were lost in translation. The worst part was that he started to get annoyed, and so I just shut my mouth, even though I was screaming inside. He only had 30 minutes to do each person so he didn’t have time to waste, and he didn’t care to hide that either.
One of the reasons I finally decided to get the tattoo was because I think I take life to seriously. Like, WHAT THE HELL! It doesn’t even matter in the long run where I get a tattoo, or why. Or whether I do or not at all! It’s just life, a culmination of moments all squished together… moments that have no consequence alone and only become something when joined with others. I dwell on things too much, on thoughts too long and the only result is indecisiveness.
This trip has made me realise more than anything that we only have one life, and it shouldn’t be spent thinking about how it should be spent. I don’t want to wake up in 50 years and realise that I spent too long thinking and fretting over things that had absolutely no longterm effect on anything. I am already about one quarter into my life… if I am lucky enough to live until I’m 80. Okay let me stop here because this is turning into an ‘inspirational live your life to the fullest’ post, and that was never my intention. I just wanted to share some of my thoughts that added to my choice to go through with the tattoo. And please don’t be so closed minded that you think my whole point is that I want to live a full life and therefore got a tattoo… it was that I don’t want to take life too seriously and thus let it pass me by.
A short few minutes later the tattoo was done. It was really painful at times, but it took quick. Norman took a photo to show me (it’s behind my ear), and I loved it! I sent a picture to my mom, and she liked it too. The next person to tell was my dad (he didn’t know about it at all), so I Skyped him. His only concern was that I had got it done hygienically and didn’t get an infection. After I reassured him, he listened to why I got a robin, and proceeded to love it.
I will forever have a piece of my family and childhood on my skin, because that is the summarised significance of the robin, and I don’t regret it at all. And I learnt an important lesson throughout the whole process: only spend time pondering things that matter, and that is massive, big things… other than that just make memories and don’t sweat the small stuff!