On Tattoos as Symbols of Strength

Last December I was thinking of getting a tattoo for myself.  A permanent printing on ink in my skin a little somewhere on my right wrist.  I was browsing on my Zoë’s name and came across how her name written in Quenya.

I just fell inlove with it.

Zoë Quenya Zoë's origin is Greek, meaning life

Zoë Quenya
Zoë’s origin is Greek, meaning life


It took me 2 weeks to decide whether I will go and have myself inked or not.  A week before Christmas, Armand told me that he is going to set up an appointment with the Tattoo Shop to get my tattoo.  He said he will be paying for it and that will be my Christmas present.

But I decided not to.  Or maybe, not yet for now.

The Nelissens have tattoos.  It was not about the trend that they decided to get themselves inked but more on the meaning and what the figures symbolize.  It started with their son, my daughter’s father.  Right after he recovered from one of the hardest phases in his life, he decided to get himself a tattoo to remind him about how he surpassed that phase.  He had himself inked with a cross and a bow encircling the cross on his right arm.  He told me, in confidence, even before we got really closed, that the cross reminds him of his parents and the bow on his love for them and his life.

Armand's right arm tattoo

Armand’s right arm tattoo

When Zoë was born, he got himself inked for the second time – Zoë’s name on his left arm with the date of her birth – 05-05-2012.  Our baby is the greatest gift he have had received (with me, of course) – he will always remind me.  I battled life and death on the day that I pushed her out in this world – but like we always do, we survived!

This is actually the reason why I wanted the tattoo.  To remind me that my baby is my talisman to everything, my protection.  The same with my Filipino Ancestors who got themselves tattooed everytime they survived death – and that the ink that they got themselves served as shields for the next battle.

My mother-in-law is a die-hard Michael Jackson fan.  She will always be.  She got her first MJ tattoo the same day her son got his.  She told me that she and MJ had had the same childhood – not so Lucky childhood.  MJ was a fighter, she too.  She believed in him.  She survived a disease, extending her life to be with her grandchild.

Mam's

Her 2nd ink is MJ’s whole persona or human form on her leg.  The 3rd was MJ’s face on her back.  They were really actually cool.

Symbol of Strength

Symbol of Strength

My father-in-law, like his wife and his son, is also a fighter and a survivor.  He got the same tattoos as his son – a cross and a bow on the left arm and Zoë’s name and birthdate on the right.

Pap's

Pap’s

And now me.

I stopped pondering of the possibility of getting myself inked.  Armand told me that after everything I went through during childbirth – the process of getting the tattoo will be pretty much nothing for me.

It is not about the pain of the needles that I am having second thoughts.  I am just thinking that I want Zoë to grow up thinking that a body tattoo is not something common – it is a symbol of strength and survival.  That it is not about fashion, or about being ín’, or about being the same as the society or your peers.  It is about something more.  That it has significance.

I saw a woman in the Supermarket once with tattooes on her face and on her arms, then I saw her 2 (or maybe 3) year old daughter – she had those plastic paints or mini tatooes all over her face and arms as well.

I did not enjoy what I saw.

Maybe I am being just too idealist.  Or maybe my mother instinct is just giving me a good kick.

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5 thoughts on “On Tattoos as Symbols of Strength

  1. Es normal que pienses de esa manera, ves todo diferente desde que eres mama :). Los tatuajes para mi y repito para mi, no quiero ofender a nadie aquí claro. Tienen que tener un significado único, cada tatuaje que tengo significa algo para mi, este jueves voy a hacer una cita para mi nuevo tatuaje 😉 Este es el que me representa mucho, bueno espero verte con un tatuaje pronto.

  2. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, as well as the content!

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