i do not have a dragon tattoo

I do not have a dragon tattoo. But I have one. It’s in Japanese, which always requires explanation. And in the 13 years since it was etched upon my foot, the fine lines remain the same, but the meaning has evolved.

Once upon a time, I’d explain in great detail that a professor once spoke about a writer’s life, and it was passion – the reality that one will struggle for the work they love – that touched my twenty-year-old heart.

From the Latin passio, “to suffer” – yes, it was romantic. I’m a romantic, even if I knew the sobering reality firsthand: that a life in the arts could be fickle and frustrating and unrewarding. There was something utterly exhilarating in knowing that writing was, and is, like oxygen for me. I felt so lucky to be preparing for a career doing what I couldn’t live without.

So, I placed the word upon my foot, strategically aligned so that it could hide beneath the strap of a J. Crew flip-flop, of which I owned many a pair. If I didn’t want it seen by my grandmothers, I had that covered (no pun intended).

(Ironically, as I got older I couldn’t stand the feel of rubber flip-flops against my feet. My grandmothers would see it. They would survive.)

As years go by, I realize the tattoo, regardless of what it means literally, marked a time in my life when I was truly enchanted by the prospects of what was to come. As if I made a binding contract with myself in tattoo ink. I was a writer. This was my fate.

Would I do it again? I can’t say. But it is done. A constant reminder that I live what I love. For better. For worse. For always. I write.


22 thoughts on “i do not have a dragon tattoo

  1. John

    I love the “they’d deal” part — it made me chuckle 🙂

    A tattoo should always be about “self,” and it looks like yours is exactly that.

  2. Wild Child Mama

    This is a beautiful explanation of why we get tattoos. They are romantic and youthful and a mark of independence. I love that you said it has taken on new meaning over time. How it evolves with us. They become us. Well done:)

  3. Carrie

    I believe if you are going to get a tattoo you have to make it something meaningful, hopefully meaningful your entire life. I never had the inspiration to get a tattoo, though I did want one when I was younger.

    Love the meaning behind yours…but MOG, didn’t it HURT getting it done there??

    1. alexandrawrote Post author

      Funny sidenote: Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt much BUT someone had to hold my leg down as there was a natural reflex I kept having as he was working over a certain area. That could have been a real mess.

  4. cuhome

    I’ve seen some great tattoos. But a caution that might be worth noting: as an RN, I’ve seen tattoos, undoubtedly once beautiful, usually the larger ones, which over time and due to the ravages of gravity, become unrecognizable. Those patients have often commented “I wish I’d gone smaller”.

    Just sayin’ . . .

  5. carla

    HI Alexandra, I just found you via the BYW course and I am loving the course and your blog and photography.. So much great colour. I look forward to being in touch. Carla


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