The Rose Tattoo

The Rose Tattoo

It's all in the meaning.
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On the day of my mother’s wedding to my now step-father, she handed me and each of my sisters, biological and not, a necklace. On the end of each necklace hung a white rose pendant. So, a number of weeks later, I made the decision to get a tattoo of a rose leading from my ribcage toward the center of my stomach, ending just below the breast bone. Now, I am to understand that tattoos may be perceived as taboo or distasteful, perhaps meaningless and “basic” as some may refer to it. But I do not regret my decision, large and permanent as it may be. I do not care what others think of me based on the artwork I wear on my body. It does not bother me to know that people taint me with their preconceived notions of the person I am simply because of this ink. Why? Because it is special to me, and that is the only importance it carries.

Yes, this rose represents a gift given to me by my mother. It means so much to me that it is inherently symbolic of her, as she is the most incredible, caring, loving, strong woman I have ever had the pleasure to encounter and to call my mother. Yet the rose emulates so much more than that. My having received a token rose on the day of my mother’s wedding gives it the symbolism of new beginnings. A new family to get to know and to love, a newfound happiness for my mom, and a newfound release for my deceased father, as I know he would be stricken with relief to know that his beloved wife has found someone to nurture and care for her as she has done for others, especially her four children, all these years. Throughout all of life, there are changes to be made as you pass from one year to the next, and this rose is symbolic of all of those alterations, past, present, and future, that I will come to know.

Aside from the rose itself, the tattoo includes a long stem with prickly thorns protruding from its edges. Cliché as it may sound, these thorns, to me, represent the hardships that come with the changes I will face and have faced over the course of my life. The beauty of the rose does not mask these demons, as they are unencumbered by the lightness of one’s spirit and the goodness of one’s heart. This lesson is one that takes many people years to adjust to, as many are fortunate enough not to come face-to-face with hardship for the initial parts of their journeys. Yet through these obstacles, again, arises the rose, this face of beauty and of serenity. This light that is my mother, the one who has guided me through my successes and failures, who has taught me the importance of courage and strength, as I will be reminded each time I see this symbol.

So I implore you, whoever it is that has taken the time to read this, to judge me with all of the disgust and contempt you have for those who mark their bodies. Your words and your opinions do not change the person I am, and it is no fault but your own if you are unable to see my true character and the real, powerful truth behind what I have done to my body. For I am content with my decision, and will only grow to love it more as the days go by. And for that, I do not apologize, nor do I care for those judgments. For I control my body and the circle of those within which I find my own happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Cleaning Out Your Closet? This Is What You Can Do With Old Clothes

Spring cleaning brings May flowers... isn't that the phrase?

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Spring cleaning brings May flowers... isn't that the phrase?

Spring is known as a time to refresh as the cold midwest starts to come alive again. That's why it's the best time of year to clean out your closet.

Before summer starts, I always like to go through all my clothes and get rid of anything I haven't worn at least a few times in the past year. Cleaning is great because it gets rid of clutter. But my favorite part about cleaning is that emptying my closet also means I can reward myself with a shopping trip that will update my outfit selection.

However, I always have to ask myself one crucial question: what do I do with all the clothes I'm getting rid of? Luckily for us, there are plenty of options.

Sell

Selling your clothes to second-hand clothing stores and thrift shops might be the best option for you if you're getting rid of newer clothes that are in good condition. Selling your clothes allows you to get money back for everything you're getting rid of, making it more worth your while.

My personal choice when selling clothes is to go to Plato's Closet. There are also some great online thrift stores that will buy your used clothes such as ThredUP and Poshmark, so there are plenty of options if you're looking to get some money back for your cute pants that just don't fit anymore.

Donate

Donating your clothes won't earn you any money, but it will make a huge difference in the lives of others. There are plenty of people in the world who struggle to afford clothes, so you could be helping them out by donating your clothes to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. This might be the best option for you if your clothes are too old to sell but are still in good condition.

Recycle

If you're looking at your old t-shirts and realizing that they aren't really worth anything anymore, think again. While some of your clothes may be too old to sell or donate, you can always recycle them.

You can recycle your own clothes by being crafty and repurposing them, such as turning old t-shirts into bags. You can also recycle clothes by sending them to an organization, such as Planet Aid, that specializes in sustainably recycling old clothes and turning them into new products.

No matter what you plan to do with your old clothes as you start to clean out your closet this spring, just remember that you should never merely throw them in the trash.

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