Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mel's Tattoo and Her Mother

I thought this would be a good post for Mother's Day, as will be self-evident. It started, however, with a father-daughter outing. My eldest and I were seeing a play in Manhattan back in December. The show never went off, however, due to some staging difficulties. While we were waiting in the lobby, we were standing next to a woman with the following tattoo, and we got to talking:

This tattoo is on Mel (interestingly enough, a name my wife and mother of my children goes by) who told us how this tattoo came to be:
"My mom had been talking about getting a tattoo after my parents got divorced along time ago, but she was always kind of opposed to tattoos. So I told her if she ever wanted to get one, I'd get one with her. [She] never took me up on it for about ten years and then, two summers ago now, she just called me up one day in August, and was like, you're coming home at the end of October, right? We're getting tattoos and I know what we're getting. And I was like, okay.  Two months is not a lot of warning, and so, she had seen on Facebook people getting semi-colon tattoos as a response to dealing with depression and my mom has dealt with depression her whole life. She was like, I just don't want a semi colon I want to do something better and so we put a lot of thought into it and figured out you can make the body of a dragonfly, which is my mom's favorite animal, into a semi-colon ... it's really subtle and you would never know it's there unless I tell you that it's in there and it's got a water lily because that's her favorite flower ... she has a version of this on her wrist and I have mine on my arm."
Interestingly, a woman standing nearby had overheard Mel telling me this and chimed in that the semi-colon is  "a little more specifically related to survivors of suicide, because the semi-colon could have stopped their life but didn't."

Considering how suicide and depression are intrinsically linked, the semi-colon for depression still makes sense and Mel seemed unphased by the stranger's clarification. Tattoos mean what they mean to the possessor and, even if they mean something to others, it shouldn't detract from their power to the person who has chosen to mark themselves permanently.

Mel credited Jake Phillips (@twistedskullstudios) from Twisted Skull Tattoo Studio in La Crosse, Wisconsin with the tattoo.

Thanks to Mel for sharing her tattoo with us! Wishing Mel's mom and all mother's out there a happy Mother's Day!

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