I got my first and only tattoo over 11 years ago. I was a recent graduate and about to embark on a trip around the world on board the SS Universe Explorer with the program Semester at Sea. Life seemed full of possibilities and the tattoo I chose was meant to remind me of a time of strength, hope and adventure. Not once did I regret it.
Over the years I have wished for another. Back in Amsterdam I even had one designed by a local artist, but in the end I couldn’t decide on where to place it. Shoulder? Arm? Back? Since I couldn’t decide, I figured it wasn’t the time. The design was a beautiful black and red compass rose.
Lately I have been thinking about tattoos again and wish for something more dramatic than my discreet first tattoo. I had the first placed on my lower back on the left side of my spine so that it would not be of consequence to business, formal wear, or bathing suits. And especially not to be visible if/when wearing a wedding gown. I have to say, however, I don’t really care so much about those things anymore. I am not the traditionalist I once thought I was. And I feel more confident in making a decision like that at 33 than I did at 21.
I saw these two tattoos today on the internet of cherry blossom branches and think both are so beautiful…they make me want to run to the nearest tattoo parlor:
I like how both sweep across the back and the femininity of the pink blossoms against the stark black branches. I was not aware of this before, but I just read about the differences between Japanese and Chinese symbolism of the Cherry Blossom:
Chinese Cherry Blossom
For the Chinese the cherry blossom is a very significant symbol of power. Typically it represent a feminine beauty and sexuality and often holds an idea of power or feminine dominance. Within the language of herbs and herbal lore of the Chinese the cherry blossom is often the symbol of love.
Japanese Cherry Blossom
For the Japanese the cherry blossom holds very different meaning. The cherry blossom is a very delicate flower that blooms for a very short time. For the Japanese this represents the transience of life. This concept ties in very deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism that state all life is suffering and transitory. The Japanese have long held strong to the Buddhist belief of the transitory nature of life and it is very noble to not get too attached to a particular outcome or not become emotional because it will all pass in time.
I am not ready to start shopping the local tattoo parlors just yet, but the urge is sitting patiently on a stool in the corner of my brain waiting for the right time and the right design to come along.