Tattoos are sacred. I waited six years to get this one for two reasons:
1. Energy shifting is real. My tattoo artist is my nephew’s father, Kirk who owns and operates Effum Bodyworks and Effum Elite in Baton Rouge. I know and love and trust him. I’m lucky to have an artist in the family. I wanted to wait until I was in Baton Rouge and had the time to discuss the work with Kirk, process the art, and invest in the time to get it inked.
2. It is important to me that I know exactly the reasons I feel inspired to get new art. I don’t need to know what the final piece will look like — that’s up to the artist and part of the process but I need to be confident that I am ready to make the commitment – that every part of the art is meaningful to me.
What it means:
For the last ten years I’ve identified two themes by which I’ve existed: constant transition and chronic dissatisfaction. Whether the later informs the former, I am unclear but I assume they’re connected. Being chronically dissatisfied is a privileged state of being by where I’m always in search for deeper fulfillment. It sounds a little crass, and that’s because it is. Others describe this experience as being “adventurous” or “having a free spirit” but for me that kind of language disregards the privilege that comes with being able to make an overabundance of decisions for your own life. In 12 years, I’ve moved 12 times, lived just as many lives, experienced euphoric love and devastating heartbreak and although I’ve reconciled being in constant transition, I’m always surprised by it’s seclusion. The constant search for new stimulation can sometimes become a barrier that prevents me from seeing the importance of my everyday experiences.
The centaur is a mythical being which is half beast and half immortal. This blending of a powerful yet earthbound animal with a divine being symbolizes a guiding motivation: the need to infuse a human experience with meaning and vision.
In the physical body, Sagittarius rules the hips, thighs, and upper legs. The largest muscles of the body reside here, representing the physical and spiritual strength that is needed to support me on my long journeys of mind and body. The hips, especially, keep the body in balance during forward motion.
Ankh earrings: You may have seen me wear these. The Ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that read “life.”
Waist beads: I wore these for a year after a difficult separation. The earliest powder glass beads were found in present day Zimbabwe dating back to 970 – 1000 CE; but from colonial times to the present day, the main area of powder glass bead manufacture is West Africa-particularly the Yoruba tribes of Africa – a population now settled within Nigeria. Beads are said to possess the power to attract and evoke deep emotional responses. In addition, they are believed to be signs of femininity as well as spiritual well being.
Chrysanthemum petals: The chrysanthemum aka the “mum” is the November birth flower. It represents adaptability and compassion.
The arrow: The glyph that is used to represent a Sagittarius is and arrow; in fact, the name Sagittarius is derived from the Latin word for arrow, sagitta. It is important to note that the arrow is in flight, always reaching upwards, revealing and inner drive to always be on the move, always searching for new adventures to increase ones understanding of the world around you, and always hunting for deeper fulfillment.
Her raised fist: The raised fist is a symbol of solidarity and support. It is used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance in the face of violence.
The quote: It isn’t happenstance that the quote is in her hair. For many people of African decent, hair is a symbol of strength. This quote comes from Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, a book that I’ve found deep solace in. Here is the full quote for context:
“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
I substituted “can” for “will.” In my experience, people will try to protect you from your suffering, perhaps your family and close friends but they will fail. Not for a lack of trying but because we weren’t meant to avoid it but instead to endure it. To overcome it.