I’m sat here in the new library, looking out onto Birmingham with my wrist bandaged up like a prize fighter. Today marks the day I got my first tattoo. I always thought I’d be the kind of person never to get one; I always said there was nothing I liked enough to chose to mark my skin with every day. But this has been a hard year and I’ve resorted back to one of the things that helps me to remember to persevere. And when I thought about it, I’ve been doodling this on my wrist on and off for ten years, this little purple star.
It’s funny because my mind remembers in pictures, shapes and colours; I’m hopeless with names but I will remember where on a shelf a long forgotten book is or the route to somewhere I rarely go. But words, words and stories, have always been my first love, in all their shapes and sizes. During hard times I always retreat to stories; books, music and film; to quotations and lines from songs. Tell me a story, better yet put it in a song, and it has the power to stop you in your tracks…or struggle on through.
I have a quote for most occasions and several for when things are tough and you keep going, but the one I always come back to is from New Found Glory; “every darkness, I’ll shine through”. Life is full of struggles, big and small, but keep shining. It’s the same message as Winston Churchill’s “If you’re going through hell, keep going” or Disney’s Finding Nemo “just keep swimming”. Life is wonderful and hard, awesome and awful, it’s so simple and wonderfully complex, but it’s worth persevering even when things aren’t as good as they could be.
Someone I once heard talk said tattoos didn’t have to have meaning, they can just be artworks in their own right, and he’s right. To most people who might see this little purple star and I’m okay with that because stars are pretty awesome in so many ways. But to me it’s so much more.