My Second Tattoo

Last week, while Lindsay and Emily visited me, we all got individual tattoos together!  We were all agreed that the act of getting a tattoo should be meaningful in addition to the meaningfulness of the tattoo itself.  I’m really glad that my second tattoo will forever remind me of my time spent in Greece and of the fact that I have amazing friends who visited me here.


Which one is mine?  Quotation marks on my right wrist.  Wrist placement is my favorite, because I want to see whatever I’ve decided to etch onto my flesh for all time.  I already have “Courage, dear heart” on my left wrist, so this was valuable real estate.  In fact, I already knew that this was the next tattoo I wanted three years ago, but I waited to make sure I wouldn’t change my mind.

There are two main reasons I decided to get a tattoo of empty quotation marks.

I first came up with the idea while I was getting my Master’s in Counseling.  I spent most of those three years internalizing the idea that it is better to be silent and supportive than to speak.  I love to give advice and there is a part of me that wants nothing more than to control everyone around me…but someone who does that is a bad counselor and a dangerous friend!

Empty quotation marks reminds me to slow down, to listen first and choose my words carefully.  They remind me that meaningful connections from from shutting up and letting other people have a voice.

This tattoo took on added meaning when I moved to Greece and began learning to speak Greek.  I struggled (and continue to struggle) with communicating in a foreign language.  Not necessarily because it is hard, but because stumbling through half-sentences hits me at the core of who I am.  I pride myself on my ability to communicate well with words.  It is one of the things I love best about myself.  Having that taken away felt like my own self-worth was in jeopardy.

Empty quotation marks reminds me that even when I don’t have words, I have worth.  They remind me that my ability to communicate is a gift, but it is not my defining quality.  I am still me without my words.


This is not a good “show off your tattoo” picture – I’ve got janky nail polish, a cat scratch, and a hairband indentation – but this is how my wrist will look on a regular basis, so oh well!


“Courage, My Heart” – Almost My Tattoo

In Greek class last week, Elvira noticed my tattoo and said, “I love that line!  It’s from my favorite poem.”

“It’s actually from a children’s book.  What poem are you talking about?”

That night she sent me a link to Hermann Hesse’s Steps (originally in German).  She says it loses something in the translation, but I think this is SUCH a beautiful poem, and I’ve already practiced writing it out in cursive on multiple sheets of paper.  I love its message of hope and endurance and honesty and adventure.  Maybe I’ll put “Courage, my heart” on my other wrist.  No, I won’t, that is a TERRIBLE idea, but I definitely don’t mind if people think my tattoo is referencing this poem.

As every blossom fades
and all youth sinks into old age,
so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
attains its prime and cannot last forever.
The heart must submit itself courageously
to life’s call without a hint of grief,
A magic dwells in each beginning,
protecting us, telling us how to live.

High purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
cleaving to none as to a home,
the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
but raise us higher, step by step.
Scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
only he who is ready to journey forth
can throw old habits off.

Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
towards undreamed-lands,
maybe life’s call to us will never find an end
Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.

StumbleUpon Sunday (3)

StumbleUpon is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet.

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. The Amazing World of Dogs in Photography
  2. Too Beautiful to be Real?  16 Surreal Landscapes Found on Earth
  3. 33 People Who Prove the World Isn’t Such a Broken Place After All
  4. The 5 Most Terrifying Civilizations in the History of the World
  5. 20 Places to See in Your 20s
  6. Writer Creates “Color Thesaurus” to Help You Correctly Name Any Color Imaginable
  7. Confessions of a Feminist Makeup Addict
  8. 23 Couples Who Decided to Get Tattoos and Absolutely Nailed It
  9. 23 Mind-Blowing Animal Pictures
  10. 8 Ways to Get Likes and Followers on Instagram