Tattoos. I am not a fan but….

I have one.   So how does that work?

When I say I am not keen, I am not.  I don’t like seeing heavily tattooed people, either men or women.  But especially women.   Arms heavily coloured, and increasingly legs.   I often think “that is going to look bloody stupid when they are 70”.

Yet I have one.  Is it a cute one?  Nope.   Is it hidden?  Nope.  It is black and on full view.

We lost two dear friends, Sam and Debbie,  in the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.  Two amazing people who were the life and soul of every party, very much in love and enjoying the  holiday of a lifetime in Thailand.   We watched with horror as the story unfolded into New Year and Mr B by then had to drag me, literally, away from every 24 hour news channel.    We were all beside ourselves as we began to realise they were not coming home.

A few months later I had an epiphany.   My parents favourite expression was “life is not a dress rehearsal” and over the years I had tried to remember that.     Then I heard the expression “one life.  Live it” and decided to adopt it.     It is now the mantra by which I try to live my life.   Either by grabbing opportunities such as entering competitions I think I have no chance of winning / buying tickets to concerts / the way I try and treat other people and the way I parent my children.

Losing Sam and Debbie reinforced to me that you just don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.

I recently read Jeanette Winterson’s book “Why be happy when you can be normal” and in it she says “Not just being alive but choosing life”.   This quote struck me so much that I wrote it down and put it on a post it note above my PC.

How many people do we know that just coast through life?  Living but not actually showing that they are alive?

I don’t want to be one of those people and to reinforce this and remind me everyday that life is for living I had this done right in the middle of my wrist, on the top where I can see it all the time:

Ask E what it says and she will tell you “chicken fried rice” (so all I have to do is show my arm in the Chinese) but it is the symbol for Chi.   Chi being the Chinese for life but also tea.   And with my nickname being T, it seemed appropriate.

I look at this several times a day and it reinforces to me that today is the only chance I will get to live today and that is shouldn’t be wasted.

So next time you see me you will know why a very straight laced seemingly normal mother of three has a tattoo right in the middle of her arm and know that it is not something I got at 18 and regret.

I got it at 35 and if I regret anything it is that it took losing two friends to make me wake up and start living.




This is my day 24 post for NaBloPoMo

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  • What a sad yet inspiring post.

    It was awful watching the news in the days after the tsunami, how much worse it must have been to know that your loved ones were there and to have to wait for news.

    I am not a fan of tattoos, yet I love yours as it has a deep meaning.

  • I am a fan of tasteful tattoos. I have three, all dragons, all on my upper arms. First I got as I was being a bit of a rebel that likes dragons, but a few months later I met my (now) wife so he could of been a bit of a charm. The other two are to symbolise my two boys, both dragons are very different designs and in my view reflect the personalities of the my boys (one sensible the other a bit cheeky)

    When I have some spare money I will be getting my final design. Already decided what and where, it will be a band around my upper arm just below my first, it will be 4 dragons chasing each others tails. To symbolise my family.

  • I do have a few tattoos already. I openly admit that not all of them have a deep meaning behind them, which was my choice and I’ll have to live with it! The next tattoo I will be having done, will have a deeper meaning behind it! It will represent me & my kids! I do however totally agree with you that there is a limit to how long a tattooed person looks good and when he/she starts to look really very odd! It sort of makes sense and suits tattoo artists to be very heavily tattooed, but most other professions it seriously put you off, wouldn’t it?

  • I am a fan of tattoos, and I’m sure you’ve probably seen one or two of mine, I have three altogether, one on my neck, one on my forearm and one acrross my shoulder blades. 2 of them I got done whilst I was on holiday drunk. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’m not ashamed either. I like all 3 of my tattoos and regret none of them. I see them everyday and everyday they remind me of what life should be like, spontaneous and fun. Its who I am, I realise my tattoos mean nothing to anyone, but, put simply. I don’t care. I love them.

  • Nice post.

    A quote along similar lines that I like is “Everyone dies. Not everyone lives.”

    None of us are getting out of this alive so we might as well have as much fun and experience as many things as we can while we have the chance.

    DB 🙂

  • I think this is an amazing idea for a tattoo. I saw a documentary about a teenage cancer patient who had the Dutch word for living in the moment tattooed on his chest. I love the idea that it can be about how you live your life, I reckon it takes a big life event, or just time, before you know what that message to yourself is. Great that you do 🙂 PS if you want to link up to little legacies on my site, this post is perfect 🙂

  • Thanks T!

    Really needed an inspirational pick me up today, and that delivered!


  • I have to say that I can’t stand tattoo’s. It’s just not my ‘thing’ and, whilst I can appreciate that some people like them and that some have sentiment behind them, I would never choose to get one or encourage anyone to have one.

    With that said – I don’t look down on anyone that has them, or treat a tattoo wearer differently from anyone else [ I do know some who do]. If you choose to have a tattoo then that’s your personal prerogative.

    But, with them being the latest ‘in thing’ and ‘right on accessory’ I find that they are everywhere and it’s unusual to see someone without one, whereas the opposite was always the case until the last few years. Almost every teenage boy and girl these days is adorned with ‘body art’ [don’t get me started on footballer players…] and I don’t think that it’s a good thing in any respect at all.

    I have many friends who have had their arm[s] sleeved, had tattoo’s on their calves and I even have one female friend, in the USA, who has dozens of designs all over her body and I just don’t get the attraction. My son, God help me, was even talking about getting a tribal tattoo done at one stage. He did come to me for advice….and I told him that, if he wanted to get one, it was up to him. But I also said to give it a lot of thought and to make sure that it was definitely what he wanted to do before going ahead. He decided against it, eventually, and I am happy that he chose not do.

    As you rightly said, in later life, I fully believe that 99% of those with tattoo’s will regret getting them and, as with piercings, attitudes are sure to change over time and those that have tattoo’s could find themselves stigmatised.

    My advice, don’t do it.

  • Your post has brought tears to my eyes. I’m all too aware that I am coasting at the moment but you have reinforced why it’s so important to jump in and choose life. I’ve made a start and am blogging my journey at and I know I need to get on with choosing as I, like you, would regret if something serious happened before I started to really live my life.

  • A sad story but I do love the idea of a tattoo being a reminder for you rather than something being displayed for other people.