If you asked my opinion for tattoos back when I was in school, you’d get a very hostile response. I was vocally against body art. I’m not sure why that was the case. I never had reasons to justify my dislike for them, and even in hindsight, I almost fail to explain why I reacted the way I did. Contrastively so, I got a tattoo some ten days back. What changed? A lot.
Why Did I Hate Tattoos So Much?
I really can’t put a pin on it. I hated a lot of things at the time. Most of it was my acting out as a person. A lot of it had to do with the stuff I was going through inside. The last few years have been a mixed bag of coming out of multiple shells and pits to become whoever I am today.
I was probably just scared deep down. Maybe I wasn’t expressive enough, and the thought that someone could be so open with their sense of expression scared me. I wasn’t as open about myself at the time. In fact, pick up a blog post, any random one from before 2014 and most of it wouldn’t be about me at all. Instead, it would be about me hating or disliking something about something.
“No” was my first response to everything. Maybe it was that permanent place of negativity that fueled my dislike for tattoos or body art.
About The Tattoo
I’ve already written before about how I wasn’t in a great place back when I was in the last years of school. I had suicidal thoughts that were ever-present and I felt dejected, depressed and pretended to have normalcy every single day. That struggle is unexplainable really. My best attempt to tell people about it is in this blog post.
So, when I first came across Project Semicolon and what it stood for, I immediately identified with it. If you’re not aware of it, it is a project born out of social media. A semicolon indicates that the writer could choose to end the sentence, but they didn’t. A semicolon tattoo stands for suicide and mental health awareness. It is a reminder that this is not the end.
However, it still wasn’t personal enough, so I gave up on the idea for a year or so. Also, my being vocally against body art was a hiccup in my getting a tattoo. I was hesitant of the criticism despite wanting to get one that second.
A year passed.
The Final Touch: A Triangle
I went to VH1 Supersonic this year to watch alt-J, one of my favourite bands from this generation and by far, my favourite indie band. I was with two friends, one of whom has a triangle outline tattoo because one, he loves alt-J more than I do and that is saying something and two, triangles are his favourite shape, which is also an alt-J lyric though.
Call it inspiration or stealing; I don’t care. I saw his tattoo and it was then that it hit me. So, I spontaneously took a photo of the grass we were sitting on and drew a semicolon with a triangle instead of a circle and there it was, a symbol that was mine.
I never really asked Rishabh what his triangle genuinely meant to him, it couldn’t just be about alt-J. Mine isn’t. To me, it means stability, the smallest division (delta) and well, it is a homage to alt-J.
In fact, finally completing my tattoo gave me a jump to just up and get it without worrying about opinion.
Before I Got It Though
I talked to my best friend. I was still on the fence about getting one. However, his first reaction made me want to go through with it. Why so? His response was two-part. First, he was excited and slightly shocked. He said, “You’re getting a tattoo? That’s amazing. What is it?”
When I showed him a picture of it, he asked what it meant. This is what I said, and it has been the way I’ve defined it since.
“This isn’t the end; this is just a small part. Move forward with balance and stability.”
I also talked to a few more people who had gotten tattoos. Lastly, I talked to my mother because you have to tell your mother stuff even though you know she will be fine with it either way.
What Does It Look Like?
The reason it is on my wrist is that I want it as a constant reminder of everything that has happened and how I’m still here, doing my best, every day.
What I Learned
Getting a tattoo made me realise one crucial thing though. Before I got the tattoo, I wasn’t aware of the aftercare procedure. Yes, I know how irresponsible that is. However, it has been almost ten days, and I realised that everything in life, even if it is a tiny tattoo, requires way more commitment than you’d imagine.
I learned that nothing in life is just done in one fell swoop. Everything is a process which requires you to put something in it. It could be time, attention, energy or money. It could be a combination of all those and more. My tattoo is almost done through its initial healing cycle, and well, I couldn’t be happier about it.
Here’s to never forgetting that there is more to our sentences.
One Last Thing
Amy Bleuel, the founder of Project Semicolon, died of suicide last year which is why it is paramount to understand how deep the issue is and to make sure you’re there for people when they need you the most.
If you are suffering from any self-destructive thoughts, no matter how small they seem to you, do not shy away from help either from someone you know or from a dedicated organisation or helpline. Here are hotlines for most countries in the world.
Also, feel free to drop an email to deepanshkhurana[at]outlook.com, if you ever so need to. I will make sure I reach out the minute I see your email.