To Ink or not to Ink


​To ink or not to ink? That is the question. And if you choose to tattoo, that is a permanent answer. For years I have been tempted to decorate my body with ink. At first it was simply that – a decoration – something pretty that I thought I would like. But what would I really like? Would I like it forever? What if people judged me for having a tattoo? What if I regretted it? Could I handle the pain? Many questions plagued me and the answers weren’t sufficient enough to send me to the local tattoo parlor. Until now.
Now I have some of the answers. Over the years there have been a lot of bad times – very low moods, even periods of great depression. And sometimes the only thing that got me through was a mantra of mine: this too shall pass. I decided that would be a good sentiment to always remember.
My best-friend also loves the saying. She also has bipolar disorder so the words mean as much to her as they do to me. After many conversations around the potential for a tattoo, we took a step forward. I wanted to design it myself. She suggested a daisy be added. I agreed. I also wanted some swirls around the words – it balanced out the daisy. So I set out to design the image.
I played with it for days. Finally, I settled on something I really loved. I decided these words were something I could live with forever. Something more than decoration – it had meaning.
Recently, I took my 16-year-old daughter to get a tattoo she has been wanting for a couple of years. Her tattoo is probably twice the size that I want. After watching her deal with the pain – it was on her ribs and waist – I decided if she could handle it, I could handle it too.
Being over 50 now, things change. I find I don’t worry so much about what other people think. I tend to focus more on what matters to me. Not only did I want to ink the phrase “this too shall pass,” I also wanted to add the symbol for bipolar disorder, :):  It worked in well right at the end of the phrase. I think I will get this tattoo on my left forearm where I can easily see it. I envision it being something I look to on particularly bad days. I will post a picture of it when I finally take the plunge.
My friend wants the same design. We will get them together. She doesn’t live in the same city as I do, so it will likely take some time before we can synchronize our schedules and actually plan a date that works for both of us. That being said, it feels good to have made the decision. Something I can do for myself. Something that will get me through the tough times. Something I can stroke off my bucket list.

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