Just a month ago I got my first tattoo: the outline of a small cloud on the back of my right shoulder. I still do not get used to having it, and from time to time, when I turn my head or walk past a mirror, I look at it with the corner of my eye and smile. It's amazing to remember that I really did it.
I had wanted a tattoo for quite some time, but I had been waiting for inspiration to come to me; Not to mention that, first of all, I had to gather the courage to do it, because I cry when I see the needles and I get bruises easily. The idea of facing any kind of non-medical pain, and voluntarily paying for it, seemed like something I could not carry out.
Of course, while I was not clear about what I wanted, everything was somehow immaterial. Until, suddenly, I knew. One day my tattoo was an amorphous and uncertain possibility and the next, I knew exactly what it should be: a cloud, floating on my shoulder. And although I expected to feel a little doubt that it would allow me to postpone it a little more, I knew it was that, so I booked an appointment.
I chose carefully where to put it: a shoulder can be easily displayed, or covered, depending on the occasion. In that place, the risk of wrinkles is low. And about the cloud, I decided it was a difficult design to relate to a group of extremists, or something similar. Once I was in the chair, the whole process did not last more than three minutes. It hurt, but not too much. And my sister kindly recorded everything in photo and video.
The end result is that I have a tattoo on my shoulder that makes me smile every time I see it. But not all reactions are positive and of course, the question arose: What does it mean? Of course, asking is something that is worth doing, I suppose. The point is that there is no deep meaning behind that little ink design on my skin. I just really like the shape of a cloud. I do not know why. I use it on my blog, on my Twitter account, and now on my shoulder.
Perhaps I could say that it refers to creativity and imagination, and in my case, as someone who seeks to make a career in writing, represents that ambition. But I like the clouds. I think they are pretty in particular, caricatured and I wanted to decorate my body with the image of one of them. Just because it does not have a story does not mean that my little cloud does not mean anything to me. On the contrary, it means a lot, in particular, that I managed to make a permanent and irreversible decision.
Many people get tattoos for reasons deeper than this, and I think it's fantastic. If someone should hold back the tears when he talks about his, well for that person! But I think it's also totally valid to get a tattoo just because you find it attractive. It seems to me that one can have fun with their appearance, even if it is not something permanent, because it is our body. That is the point. We each make our decisions about our own body. Not the others.
So when people ask me what my tattoo means, what I do now is look them deep in the eyes, and ask them with confidence: What do you think it means? . Then I raise an eyebrow and move away, wrapped in an air of mystery. It works always.
Millie Brierley, original author of this text, studies at the University of Cambridge. He likes Netflix, eat guacamole and pretend to change the world through the written word.