Girl With The Flower Tattoo
By Jordan Hanson
When I told my firecracker of a best friend that I wanted a flower tattoo on my foot, she looked at me in horror, then disgust, then quickly rolled her eyes and said, “No, no, no.”
I tried to protest, defending my “very original idea” with, “I found this really cool picture on Pinterest.” To which she replied, “Don’t make me punch you in the face, Jordan Hanson. Does it even have a meaning?”
To which I replied, “Of course. Peony flowers symbolize longevity and honor, and they are the national flower of China. I think.” To which she replied, “Right, that makes sense, especially since you’re Japanese.”
To which, I found, I couldn’t really say anything. Was there a meaning to the tattoo? I didn’t know. All I knew was that something, somewhere, somehow was telling me, “Get the tattoo, Jordan. You need it.” I didn’t think that this would be something I might regret a few years down the line, leading me to consult a tattoo removal sydney clinic or someplace in whatever city I would be living in at the time. But it was relieving to know that that’s an option if I ever feel like, and so it lent a little bit of courage for me to take the step.
So I made an appointment and found myself in a tattoo parlor on the outskirts of Chinatown. And, as my tattoo artist prepped my skin and forced me to sign my life away on a piece of paper (You could get AIDS, beware.), I realized this was going to hurt, a lot.
Strangely though, I didn’t care. Even if something went wrong like if I didn’t like the tattoo or so, I knew that I would have options like Counterpunch Tattoo Removal whereby I can get it removed quickly. And as the needle pierced through my skin and I understood what it must feel like to have my skin ripped off my body via a sharp, thin blade, I realized, somehow, somewhere, I had been through this all before. Not the flayed skin part, but the pain part of it – the feeling you get in your mind when the world just doesn’t seem right. As if you’re being ripped out of it via a sharp, thin blade and you almost acquiesce.
And it’s in that moment, right when you’re about to give in but somehow endure, that the pain lessens, ever so subtly, and you realize that maybe, just maybe, there’s a point to it.
And maybe that’s what my tattoo means. My best friend was right – I am not Chinese, and I couldn’t care less about honor and longevity, but I think we all have this primal need to cling to things that inspire us, or give us hope, or force us to believe that the world isn’t just a sharp, thin blade.
My tattoo symbolizes life, really – the irrevocability of beauty and atrocity, love and hate, pain and sweet, sweet nirvana.
There were moments when the tattoo artist would stop tattooing me in order to look back and assess the work she’s completed – and I swear it was in those moments when I could see the progress she’s made, when the pain had stopped and my once bare and ugly flesh was covered with a peony that I realized, and could almost hang on to it – the feeling of a soul at peace with her pain.
Jordan Hanson is an English and Women Studies major at UH Manoa. She currently lives in Pearl City.
“A SHARED SPACE” is an ongoing reader-submitted column. To share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org