I haven’t graced your screens with a tattoo origins for ages so I thought it was about time.
Now, in all honesty I’m at this impasse where I cannot for the life of me remember the order of the next four tattoos because they were all done on the same day. This was less than two years ago but I was hyped up on adrenaline and excitement so it’s a bit fuzzy. If I even tried to work it out it would just be a lie so I’m just gonna go in an order that makes sense to me.
But why did you get four on one day anyway? Simple, at uni I could never justify it over rent or, you know, vodka. But in September 2016 I’d been made permanent at my then job and I decided if I didn’t do what I wanted now then I’d spend a lifetime waiting for tomorrow. It’s the little things.
Sarah, hurry up and get to it. What does oneeightzeroeight mean and why is there no spaces? Simple, it’s my PIN number.
I’m totally joking.
It’s a date. The eighteenth of August. On this date in 2014 I ventured on arguably the biggest adventure of my life. At least it was at that point in my life. My first big adventure. I moved to America. George Mason University, to be specific. For my exchange year.
But why does that need to be tattooed on you? Well is was one of the most mad things I’d ever done. Since I was sixteen sitting in IT classes looking at university courses I knew I wanted to do a year in the States. Believe me, I’m super glad it was Obama’s America cos I couldn’t have gone now.
But it was something I had wanted so I worked hard to get myself there. I worked in sweaty kitchens in the summers and I took up any shift I could at the bar during my semesters. It definitely wasn’t coming cheap. Even when my uni said I wouldn’t be able to go if I didn’t start going to lectures, I made sure I was there bright eyed and bushy tailed at nine am for a full semester to show them I was serious. Yeah, some of you are probably thinking I should have just been at those classes anyway. But that’s not who I am. So that was a big thing for me.
When I finally got there there was this huge pressure to make it the best year of your life but what people forget is you’re really just moving your life to a new place, laundry still has to get done and essays still have to be handed in. And man, did I miss my family and friends. So it took a while to adjust but eventually I met some of the most awesome people and then I really did have one of the best years of my life. I won’t say the best cos I’m an optimist. There’s more to come for me in this life. But then I got home, to ‘reality’ and all of a sudden laundry seemed a lot less glamorous. I wrote a dissertation then graduated with no savings and no job and no real idea where my life was headed. And it got me thinking about my year abroad and how I made something happen.
And I had all your usual year abroad revelations. I learnt a lot about myself and I discovered a lot about life. I learnt a lot about friendships and people and I just felt so connected to the world. I felt like I was living a dream, yeah, what a cliche. But I’m just telling you what it was like. It was boss. It was so wildly different from my normal life that it felt like I was living someone else’s if only for a year. And when it ended I knew I needed that feeling of freedom and culture and fascination in my life again. Always, if possible.
So I got this tattoo to remind myself of that. I got this date because it’s tangible and I can touch it. But also because it’s the beginning and I think the beginning is important. It’s to remind me to always chase adventure and that feeling of adrenaline and fun and euphoria. It’s on my arm so I can see it. So I’m confronted with it every day. I can’t hide from it. So when I’m staring absentmindedly at my work computer wishing I was anywhere else in the world but in that office I can see it in my peripherals. And I can remember, oh yeah, I already knew that; I want more for myself. Then I feel a fire inside me to find the next adventure, no matter how small.
It’s also just to remind me of that year and of all the beautiful friends I made. And the fun we had together. I felt so connected to you guys there, and I hope you know that. I love that it’s almost unreadable, because it’s for me not anyone else. There’s no spaces so it’s almost in code. It’s also in numbers to solidify the code. Nobody else knows what this one means so you better all hush!
So, anyway, it means a lot of things. And people think you just aimlessly ink words on to yourself. Pshh.
Ritual Union – Little Dragon