Surprise! I got a tattoo!
About three weeks ago, on May 4th, I decided to scar my body for the rest of my life, and it’s the best decision I ever made.
As most of you know, my grandmother passed away earlier this year. It was expected, but it was still hard. To make it harder, my family never got the chance to celebrate her amazing life. So, I made a choice to honor her in my own way — by getting a tattoo. Truthfully, I try to honor her life every day by living it how she would have liked me to. I say yes to far more opportunities, read far more interesting books, and try to act far kinder to strangers than I ever did before her death. I’m trying to live a life she would have been proud of every single day.
I’m choosing to share this today because it would have been Nani’s 94th birthday. Normally, I would be making a call to tell her how much I love her, so instead, I decided to tell the world.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I got the amazing chance to get to know my grandmother and learn all about her life, and for that, I am thankful. I’m honored to have heard her stories, to have learned about her life, and to have so many amazing memories to look back on. I was truly blessed to have a woman like her in my life, and I hope to one day inspire someone the way she has inspired me.
This red balloon is something I’ve been thinking about since I was 18 and celebrating Nani’s life seemed like the perfect excuse to finally get it, but truly, it represents so many other things about myself and my life. Like…
If you hadn’t picked up on it by now, I’m fairly obsessed with Winnie-the-Pooh. I think he’s a wise bear that anyone can learn from no matter how old they are. Pooh has a handful of quotes about balloons, my favorite being, “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.” He’s gripping a red balloon throughout the new movie Christopher Robin. And, Balloon is actually a character throughout the series the represents friendship, freedom, and childhood.
Getting this red balloon permanently on my body is a constant reminder that my family is always with me, even if they are hundreds of miles away or somewhere in the clouds looking over me.
- Both of my parents have called me Pooh Bear since I was a young child, so it’s a constant reminder of them and the lessons they’ve impressed on me throughout the years.
- Nani left me a Winnie-the-Pooh necklace before she passed away in February that I wear on most days.
- My grandmother (she was killed in a car accident before my freshman year of college) used to live in Jamaica. Until she moved over here when I was about eight, the only way she could get me to talk to her when she visited was by gifting me something Winnie-the-Pooh related — a book, VHS tape, or stuffed animal sufficed.
When I see my tattoo, I’m reminded that I’m never alone. And that I have plenty of people looking out for me that I very badly need to live my best life for.
I have this horrible habit of not knowing when to let people go. I know most people are not meant to be in your life forever, but sometimes, I really want them to be. This balloon, before I got it tattooed, always served as a reminder to let things go, especially things that are no longer serving me.
A lot of people have asked why I chose to get it in a watercolor style. To me, watercolor is an imprecise, imperfect medium, yet it is beautiful and unique. As is life. When working with watercolors, you have to roll with the punches and be comfortable knowing that, in the end, you will still have a beautiful work of art despite any unintended strokes.
So to anyone asking if I regret my tattoo — never. It’s far too important to me to have any regrets about it.
Do you have any tattoos? What do they mean to you? Let me know in the comments below.
Happy birthday, Nani. I love you.