It’s no secret that I absolutely adore my tattoos and piercings, so I thought it would be nice to jump on here and feature them in a blog post. Specifically for the tattoos, I want to talk about the meaning of each one and why they’re all so special to me. I’m posting this on Mother’s Day because many aspects of my current tattoos honor the many wonderful mothers who have blessed my life. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!
Tattoo #1 // Quote, flowers, and butterfly:
This was my first tattoo. My best friend, Erin, and I got our first ones together, and it’s still a very fond memory for me. This tattoo signifies a lot. It’s a tribute to my Grandma, who died when I was three years old. She herself was very young when she passed. So let’s get into the details.
Quote: This is a quote by T.S. Eliot (as you can tell from the initials) from a poem called “The Dry Salvages”: “You are the music while the music lasts”. T.S. Eliot has great significance in the relationship of Grandma and me. Shortly before she died, I saw a commercial for the musical CATS, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, on one of my VHS movies. I wanted to watch it, but my mom wasn’t sure if it would be too mature for me. She called Grandma, knowing she had seen the show before, to ask. Grandma said it should be fine if she watched it with me. We tried it out and I fell in love. I watched the movie version of the musical every single day (I eventually wore that VHS tape out). Whenever we went to Grandma’s house, we watched it together. I have only vague memories, since I was so young, but this is what I remember of her from when she was alive. Now, I bet you’re wondering why I’m mentioning CATS at all. Well, when I was around twelve, I was watching a bonus features disc from the DVD version of the film my parents had gotten me for my birthday. There were several interviews on it with Webber himself. In one of them, he was talking about the fact that he composed the show, but he didn’t write it. The whole show is based upon a children’s poetry book written by none other than T.S. Eliot: Old Possums Book of Practical Cats. Webber read this book as a child very often, sparking his interest to compose the show later on. For pieces of the musical that weren’t in the book, Webber and Trevor Nunn used bits and pieces from Eliot’s other poems (“Rhapsody on a Windy Night” is the heaviest inspiration for “Memory”, the most famous song from the show). Knowing this, I bought the book and started reading more of Eliot’s work. When I read this line for the first time, it reminded me of Grandma. She was always the music, the beauty, to everyone who knew her. And like a song, she wasn’t here for very long. She truly is the music while the music lasts. I think we all have people in our lives like that. That is the (long) significance of the quote.
Black Butterfly: As I mentioned, Grandma passed away when I was very young. My sister was even younger, and my parents were always determined to keep her in our lives spiritually even if she wasn’t there physically. And ever summer when we were kids, there was somehow always a black butterfly that consistently crossed our paths. Mom and Dad would always tell us that that was Grandma saying hello and telling us that she loves us. We always held that close. It was an all black butterfly every time, so I kept it all black in the tattoo, as well. This is the actual symbol of Grandma in the tattoo.
Asters (flowers): This one is simpler. The Aster is the flower of the month, or the birth flower, for September, which is my birth month. The Asters go with the aesthetic of the tattoo and signify me remaining close to Grandma even though she hasn’t physically been here for a long time. We will always have that closeness. Speaking of closeness with Grandma, I think that would be a good topic for a Writer’s Corner… more on that soon!
Tattoo #2 // Quote, Cardinal, and dragonfly:
Here is my second tattoo. I really jumped right in with these, didn’t I? Either way, I am completely in love with both of these tattoos because they are tributes to some of the most amazing people who have ever been and ever will be in my life. This one is honoring my Mémère and Pépère. They are forever two of my greatest role models, even though they are no longer with us. Let’s dive into this one.
Quote: This quote is a simpler explanation than the last: “What I am is God’s gift to me. What I make of myself is my gift to God”. Mémère passed away in 2009, Pépère in 2015, and this is the quote that is on their headstone at the cemetery. Mémère hand picked it, as it was on a plaque that she kept in her bedroom. Every since I saw it, this quote has been words I consistently try to live by. It’s one of those things that’s simple yet profound, it’s a great reminder, and it always reminds me of my wonderful grandparents.
Cardinal: We lived with Pépère from 2009, when Mémère passed and he couldn’t live on his own, up until 2013 when he had to go into a nursing home. We created such a strong bond with him during that time, and I am forever grateful that we got those priceless moments with our Pépère. Cardinals were always his favorite bird, as red was his favorite color. An avid bird watcher, Pépère always looked out for Cardinals from his chair next to the window. This part of the tattoo signifies him and those treasured moments that we had as a family while we lived with him.
Dragonfly: This one is for Mémère. On the day of her funeral, at the reception, there were a giant group of dragonflies that passed over our house. They were our symbol from her that she was okay, that she was home with God. Ever since then, that’s what dragonflies remind us of: our beloved Mémère. One of the strongest women I’ve ever known, when the doctors gave her a year for her cancer prognosis, she lived for seven more. If that isn’t the epitome of strength, I don’t know what is. I aspire to be as strong as my Mémère.
Tattoo #3 // Iris Fleur de Lis:
This one is my latest tattoo, and it’s in honor of yet another amazing person in my life. Except this time, it’s someone who is still here (praise God!) who I just want to keep close no matter where I go in life: my mom. This tattoo is blended into the one for Mémère and Pépère, her parents. I adore how my tattoo artist, Yari Ramos, blended them together even though they were done at completely different times! They’ve all come out better than I could have hoped! There are two components to this tattoo…
Fleur de Lis component: My family is French on Mom’s side, and we’ve always related to the Fleur de Lis. Although we are not of the French (or French Canadian) nationality, we have French blood in our veins, and we’ve always been taught to honor that part of our heritage.
Iris component: The first part of this is very simple. Mom’s favorite flower is an Iris. They’re purple and beautiful and they make her smile. But that’s also one of our favorite songs together: Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls. They’re one of our favorite bands and that has to be one of the most beautiful songs of all time. I love my mom and the complexity of this seemingly simple tattoo!
A quick note on my piercings! Right now, I’ve crammed in all of the lobe piercings I can; there are five in each ear. However some near-future piercings I hope to get are: rook, helix, and potentially tragus. There are more, but let’s control ourselves, here! I adore decorating my ears and giving myself a little twinkle!
Well, there you have it! These are the stories behind all of my tattoos and current/future state of my piercings. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that all you mothers out there have a blessed and happy Mother’s Day!!
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.