Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Butterfly Tattoo

I love the things that come from my three-year old nephew's mind! No.3 was sitting with me playing with his Lego's on our last visit and he asked me, "Aunt J-Me, why does UntleChad have writing on his arm?"

I cracked up laughing at that because HubbyDearest's Tasmanian devil tattoo has long been an embarrassment to him. (PSST...HEY KIDS! Don't let your apprentice/amateur tattoo artist buddy tattoo you before he's finished learning which end is up!). HD heard my laughter and No.3's question and started to front me out for the Butterfly Tattoo on my back and, for that matter, the fact that I was only hours away from getting my second tattoo, this time on my wrist.

Luckily, three-year-olds are distract-able so I moved to a safer topic to give myself some thinking room. Why do I have "writing" on me? The new wrist tattoo is for HD, Darling Daughter, and my sister Gayla. It's a heart, layered with an infinity sign and then the cherry blossom...another story for another time. It is a memorial to my loves.

The butterfly is this story and this time. I am aware that "true tattoo aficionados" look down their pierced noses at such girly art and think them simple and cliche. However, my choice of a butterfly, in my mind, is very, very edgy and cool (aren't they all?).

When I used to attend church regularly (I am currently a practicing heathen without a church home), our small group leader told us about the life of a butterfly. The creature begins as an ugly, squirming little worm. It creates this cocoon, essentially binding itself with a self-made prison. As the worm becomes a butterfly, it must struggle its way out of the cocoon. If one were to "help" the little critter by cutting the cocoon off of it, the butterfly would be bound to the ground for its life because it will not have built up the strength to carry its wing span through its struggle to freedom.

This story hit me like a ton of bricks. It made the struggles with depression that I have endured through the years make sense. I created my problems on my own. I had to work through them on my own. I had to learn from my mistakes and survive the consequences. No one could save me from them; no one could help me escape them. I had to endure and survive so I would be strong enough to one day fly.

The butterfly tattoo sits upon my shoulder ready to take flight to remind me of my inner strength. I guess I can start by telling No.3 about the life of a butterfly. Then someday we will branch out to why some people write on themselves.


  1. It's a very pretty tattoo. I suppose the thing for most of the 'true' tattoo afficionados is for anything going on them to be as meaningful as possible, and if this one has meaning for you, that's enough.

  2. What a lovely post. I really rather tattooed and I have had young nieces asking why I've drawn on myself!

  3. I have no tattooes but I think many are beautiful.


  4. I love this one, sweetheart!

  5. My butterfly tattoo is on my ankle. I got it 15 years ago yesterday. I remember because I met my husband the same day. Nice post.