my tattoo story

on my birthday this past year, I got two new tattoos. although I booked the appointment a week in advance, it was a semi-impulsive decision.

when I booked the appointment, I didn’t even know for sure what I was going to get. making the appointment required putting down a non-refundable deposit, which was terrifying. 

I was thinking of getting some mountains as a tattoo, but I hadn’t seen a single drawn mountain that I wanted on my skin (much less for life). I mentioned this to my tattoo artist and she said she would sketch some things for me.

the week leading up to my birthday was actually filled with intense anxiety and nervousness as I realized that I didn’t know what I wanted. I started playing around with various fonts of a phrase I’d found years earlier and asked my friend Clara, a handwriting guru, to write it out for me. as she sent me samples, I started to feel more confident that this would be my new tattoo… until I realized that I didn’t know where on my body I wanted it! I realized that I really wanted it on my wrist but I was freaked out at the thought of having a tattoo that would be mostly visible at any given time - my only other tattoo is on my foot and can be easily covered up with the right pair of shoes! 

when I showed up at the studio, I showed the hand-written phrase to my tattoo artist and asked if we could sticker it onto my wrist in a few places so I could decide how I felt about it. at the same time, she pulled out a hand-drawn mountain range that she’d sketched for me and I loved it. when I asked how much it would be to get both, she said it would be the same price as it’s an hourly charge… so I decided to get both (the most financially responsible decision, right? how could I not?).

I absolutely love both of my new tattoos, and despite my lack of planning both of them instantly became incredibly meaningful to me.

the mountains I got as a testament to my ability to conquer my anxiety. while anxiety has been a part of my life for as long as I remember, I will always be stronger than the stress and will grow every time I am faced with panic. over the course of this past summer, I fell in love with hiking and challenging myself in nature; I thought that mountains would be the perfect representation of pushing myself beyond my anxiety. I think this is the first time I’ve publicly shared a picture of this tattoo - it’s immensely personal to me. 

ad maiora is latin for ‘towards greater things.’ in my mind, this phrase is a challenge to keep growing, to keep learning and to keep pushing myself to be my best (especially in the face of difficulty). I’ve kept this phrase as a bit of a mantra for the past few years; it’s a reminder to keep moving forward, and that my future is filled with wonderful things. I deeply love this tattoo - not only is it beautiful, it’s very inspirational on a personal level. 

so these are my new tattoos, and I love that I got them as a quarter-century-marker. while I still don’t feel 25, I do feel like I’ve grown tremendously as a person and these tattoos illustrate that for me. 

do you have any tattoos? do they have big stories or meaning to them?