This is probably my favorite tattoo and the one I get complimented on the most often. It is a Buddhist dharma wheel and was done in two sittings, mostly because I was being wishy washy about it. I had the wheel itself done a few years before the petals and coloring were added on. I got tired of people asking me if I was into either pirates or sailors, so it needed prettying up.
When I got out of the Army in 1997, I was an overemotional mess and questioning so many things about the world and my place in it. So, I was a typical 19 year old girl. I had also come to the realization that I no longer felt secure in the faith that I had chosen in high school when that faith no longer brought me comfort during the most painful and trying times of the previous year in the military.
I moved from Texas to Wisconsin on a whim and took a sabbatical of sorts to clear the muddles and choose a new path. I lived in a farmhouse in the middle of a cornfield and began reading about Buddhism. For the first time in my life, the universe made sense. I had been ready to let go of a deity but not yet at a place in my journey to let go of a belief system, so Buddhism fit in the space where I still needed faith and ritual.
The dharma wheel is a beautiful symbol of Buddha’s teachings and it has been a daily reminder of how following the Eightfold Path guided me to sanity and peace in a way that nothing else did.
After I had Perrin, I wanted a way to commemorate how parenthood gave me this wonderful new label to add to all my other kooky labels. And it was oh so fashionable at the time to get Kanji symbols, so of course, I HAD to have one too. So I got the Kanji symbol for “Mom” tattooed on the back of my neck. I researched this one quite a bit and even asked a friend of Jennifer’s, who is Chinese, and he verified that it is, indeed, the symbol for “Mom.” However, just this past summer a random old Chinese dude came up to me and told me it means “lady horse,” so I may very well be sporting a crazy, stupid American tattoo, which is extremely hilarious. I have had this tattoo for 8 years, and he’s the only person who told me it didn’t mean “Mom,” so I’m going to assume he was just trying to freak me out.
Underneath my possible “lady horse” tattoo I have “This too shall pass” in my mother’s handwriting. It’s one of my most meaningful tattoos, and I regret getting it put on the back of my neck because this means I never get to see it. It was a surprise tribute to my mom, who helped me through a lot with these words. I have the best mom in the world and feel honored to carry her wisdom with me for the rest of my life.
Well, that’s all for today. There are frivolous, cutesy tattoos coming up.