Friends often ask me: “Why an elephant?” especially now that it is getting warmer out and I wear more open shoes. It is in reference to the tattoo on my lower right ankle where the outline of a small elephant with simple, decorative designs on its back daintily rests. My response always begins the same, informing them that I have many small reasons for getting my tattoo rather than one large reason.
Elephants symbolize good luck and wisdom. Elephants, especially those with fancy blankets or intricate designs on their backs, remind me of traveling and I was studying abroad in Europe when I got my tattoo. It is like a souvenir of living in a different part of the world for four months – a huge part of my life so far – that won’t sit on a shelf and get dusty. And frankly, I just really love elephants. These together are my rationale for my decision to permanently put an elephant on my body.
Earlier on in Europe, I decided that I was going to get tattooed. After coming to a decision on what I was going to get, I had to take the biggest step: asking my parents. I got permission from my mom fairly easily, which I had expected, but my dad was a little harder to convince. After thoroughly explaining my reasons, he gave me the “OK” faster than I expected so I had to double-check that I understood his “If it’s something you really want and you’ve prayed about it, I guess I’m fine with it” correctly.
Finally, the big day came in Dublin, Ireland. My tattoo artist, Feca, and I settled some last-minute, minor details and the tattoo was drawn. Feca free-hand drew the tattoo and in about eight minutes, it was permanently inked. Yes, it did hurt, more in some places than others, but it was not excruciating enough that I couldn’t handle eight minutes.
My tattoo cost about 80 euros plus a tip, which I believe I was accidentally too generous with based on the receptionist’s face, but it was worth it. I still marvel at it sometimes and it still fulfills all the reasons I decided to get it. I probably am in desperate need of a budget counselor because I spend money like I’m a trust fund baby, but I will never regret spending that 80 euros.