Inked In

When I was younger I never thought that I would get a tattoo. I was never completely against them, I liked them, my own mother had a few and I thought they were beautiful and a great form of personal expression. But at the same time I knew I hated needles, I had a non-existent pain threshold and I felt I would be just as happy to go without.

Then life threw me a few curve balls that I wasn't expecting like it does to so many others. Some people see a tattoo as a healing or learning process. I wanted one to document a certain stage of my life that I overcame, I wanted one for me, a personal objective. The deep meanings we hold are a definition of our character, so after two solid years of contemplating it this Autumn I finally took the plunge. 

I got a matching one with both my mother and younger sister, the three of us went for an anchor design and as this post will explain the context behind our ink goes beyond mere aesthetic appeal.

Obviously the tattoo has meanings that are more than just the sea and the ships it holds steady. Since an anchor is what puts down roots deep into the sea to hold a ship in place, it has been associated with strength and stability. By this association the anchor can be seen symbolically as something that holds you in place and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get. I picked this piece of art to remind myself that no matter how stormy and hard things become, no matter how many knock backs I face, no matter how many times life takes a turn I wasn't expecting I need to hold on and keep doing what I'm supposed to.

The fact that my mother, sister and I got one together adds more depth to it. The tattoo is dedicated to them, the near-and-dear who continue to play a specific role in my life. My family provide me with the courage and wherewithal to hold on no matter what comes my way by being there through it all. I consider these people the anchor in my life. They symbolize a faith I hold that will not give up in the face of abuse and persecution and showcase how important it is to refuse to sink in the sea of life (so cliché).

I realise it is a generic design and the symbolism and meaning I identify with it are common to many others. That's another reason why I love it so much. I grew up an outcast, I had a difficult childhood and the majority of it was spent being insecure thinking I was different from everyone else and questioning why I had to be the odd one out. But as you get older you do grow into yourself and I learned that there are so many people like me out there. This tattoo mirrors this outlook, I'm not as strange as I once thought.

My first tattoo is a badge of honour and I plan to wear it with pride. 
What's an Irish photograph without a few freckles? 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Saibh, I checked out your blog you're such a gifted photographer :)

  2. Wonderful post, and great ink - simple and meaningful. A brilliant first tattoo choice, Jeb. I'm planning on getting an anchor to add to my "oldschool" theme on my right forearm after Christmas :D There's nothing generic about getting a piece of art that means something to you, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I wouldn't even let someone think that about my arrow tat, no matter how "generic" it may be in reality haha!


    1. Great minds must think alike, mine is on my right forearm too. Definitely! As long as it stands for something you should never regret it. Thanks so much for commenting too, not used to actual bloggers reading my musings. Had a good read through your blog there, loved the 'challenge' posts, you've inspired me to try a few myself :)


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