Thursday, July 17, 2014

Permanent Ink

On March 4, 1957, artist Amon Kotei introduced the Ghana Coat of Arms and is now found on all official government letterheads. Two golden eagles, both with black star medallions, hold up a banner that reads, 'freedom and justice', which is the motto of the Ghanaian people and authority.  

When I got this tattoo back in February of this year, I didn't realize the connection.  Something in my spirit lead me to get the word 'freedom' in plain typewriter style lettering, placed strategically on the back of my arm where my acne scars are. Although everyone of my tattoos mean something to me (not that I think every tattoo has to), this particular tattoo, that fell unconsciously into the place of my favorite number 8, is my favorite of them all.  It holds so much more weight now that I feel it connects me to my heritage in a way. Very soon, I'll be adding 'justice', possibly in the same spot/same font on my other arm. 

Other than cultural significance, freedom has so many other meanings and all of them are/will always be relevant. Freedom to establish my own truth. Freedom to make my own choices and think/act according to what I believe to be right, freedom to write. The liberation to simply BE. I could literally write an entire 10 page essay on what freedom means to me and I'm just really happy that freedom is now a permanent part of me.

My second favorite tattoo is a colorless cancer ribbon with a 'beauty for ashes' written in cursive on the side of my rib cage. (I'm sure I have a photo of it somewhere and when I find it, I'll include it in this post.) My grandmother, grandfather, and close friend all fought a different cancer battle and each one of them eventually lost the earthly fight. Isaiah 61:1-3 in the Bible kept me strong during such times:

[The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.]

There was a point in time where I allowed someone I respected to make me feel ashamed of my tattoos; would even walk around jealous of women who didn't have any, who were just coated with pure skin. That person had me feeling under-valued by God, as if my tattoos were scarlet letters for my sins. I no longer feel that guilt. I have already made peace with my choice to have them and what they may or may not turn into when I'm in elder stages of life. I know that what makes me beautiful is about what's on the inside and the people who value that won't judge me by what's on the outside.

Do you have any tattoos that mean a lot to you? 


  1. I love your tattoo, simple but powerful. My tattoos don't carry too much meaning, but I do have a big piece on my thigh (half finished) of a badger and a bear and I kind of think of them as myself and my boyfriend but not really at the same time.

    1. And simple, but powerful is exactly what I was going for, so thank you! I love animal tattoos so much. I plan on getting another animal as soon as I get the money to splurge on a really good design.

  2. love you "freedom" tattoo and especially the meaning. I love to hear meanings behind other people's tattoos.

  3. That connection between Amon and your tatt is wow, powerful. I already thought it was powerful, but even more so now that that kind of weight hangs in the balance. I also love the meaning behind your cancer tattoo. And I'm glad you no longer feel that guilt. I don't think God loves a tattooed person any less than he loves someone without them. I only have one, so it's my fav by default lol


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