At 16 years old I was anxious, naive and exhausted. The beginning of my junior year in high school was nothing short of difficult. I was overwhelmed with advanced courses, I lost some old friends and found myself falling into a new group, I began experiencing difficulties at home, and my anxiety became more persistent than ever. I was a little bit of a mess, but despite the everyday setbacks, I allowed myself to find peace and comfort in reading and writing. It was easy to make myself feel better if I had a pen and paper at hand.

I was scrolling through quotes on Pinterest one day when I ran across three short words that made my breathing a little lighter – a little easier to manage. “Courage, dear heart” was scratched across an image in a messy cursive font. It’s a quote from "The Voyage of The Dawn Treader," written by C.S. Lewis.

Within the last two years, I have managed to control the intensity of my anxiety and manage my stress accordingly. I have let go of issues that I ultimately have no control over; I have learned to accept that the people in my life are different in their own individual ways, and I must accept that to hold on to those I love the most. I’ve established myself in the most genuine, loving group of friends that I have had and will ever have. I have worked hard to give myself a life I love. I have repeated the phrase “Courage, dear heart” every day for the last two years.

I was always hesitant about getting a tattoo. I was worried that it was going to hurt. I was afraid I would regret my decision after the needle had touched my skin. I was nervous that when I grow older I’d look at my tattoo and wish I had never gotten one. After two years of finding solace in three little words, I decided that no matter the pain, no matter my age, getting this tattoo was important to me. It holds great meaning that I will continuously cherish no matter what my future holds.

The beauty of being a writer is words have more of a monumental impact on my thoughts than people or possessions ever will. There’s a certain beauty in words – the way a strand of arranged letters can make you feel emotions you didn’t think you had.

Here are five important tips for choosing your own tasteful tattoo:

1. Location, location, location.

Get a tattoo somewhere where you won’t forget about it. There are two types of tattoos, bold and dainty, and each kind fits on parts of your body better than others. Keep in mind that some occupations don’t approve of showcasing tattoos, so you may need to get one in a spot that would be easy to cover by clothing. Don’t let that stop you from getting one, though. Choose your location accordingly – it’s all personal preference, of course.

2. Personal meaning.

What does your tattoo mean to you? Why did you choose to place it in the location that you did? If you cannot provide answers to either of these questions, odds are you weren’t ready to get or are not comfortable with your tattoo. Take the time to let it mean something to you – that’s when it’s really worth the money.

3. Choose something original.

“Katy wouldn’t be Katy without ____.” The answer is writing. I’m a writer, I take pride in it, and because of this, I easily find solace in words. I didn’t get “Courage, dear heart” permanently etched into my skin because I think it looks cool. I got this tattoo because I can call it my own. It resonates within me and I have grown fond of this short, sweet phrase. It’s my daily reminder to chase a life I will love without hesitation of fear.

4. If you think you’ll get tired of looking at it one day, don’t get it.

Tattoos are so permanent – why choose something you’re not entirely sure of? I’ve heard that tattoo removal is more painful than getting an actual tattoo, so don’t put yourself through that if you can avoid it.

5. If it’s the right tattoo, you won’t be concerned about the pain.

It’s really not that bad. I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous at first because I lacked knowledge of my own pain tolerance (I’ve never been one to play rough.) It wasn’t bad at all, though, especially if you bring a friend to talk to.