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.