People seem to be universally divided when it comes to the subject of tattoos. Either you think they’re garish body alterations that are going to look ridiculous when you’re old, or you think they’re beautiful pieces of art that can be carried around with you forever.

I fall into that second category.

I love tattoos. I’m not the sort of person to cover my entire body in them, but I plan to have several of them. After all, if your body is a temple, shouldn’t it be decorated? I believe in tattoos as a type of personal representation, that it gives you a way to show or present something interior. It’s for paying tribute to the most important things in your life.

I only have one tattoo at the moment – it’s a financial thing, who knew tattoos could get so pricey? – but I plan on getting several more. The one that I have is the one that was the most important for me to get though. I have three stars on my right foot, my guiding stars, in memory of the three closest family members I lost as a teen.

I had a bit of a rocky family situation growing up, not so much dangerous as just in a state of constant change. For the first couple years, it was just me and my single mother. Because of that I spent a lot of time with both my maternal grandmother and my maternal great-grandparents. I was as close to any of them as I was to my mother, my step-father, and my own sister. So when I lost all three of them within six years of each other – my great-grandfather when I was eleven, my great-grandmother when I was thirteen, and my grandmother when I was seventeen – I knew that I needed a way to memorialize them. To show the world, even in a small way, the impact that they had on me.

The quote, “The stars that shine the brightest fade the quickest,” has always stuck out to me. I was always drawn to the idea that those things that have the most lasting affect are the things that we experience for the shortest time. I knew that even though they were gone and that I would have to live the majority of my life without them, that my Gran, Nana, and Papa would always have the strongest lasting impact on who I grew up to be. So they became my stars.

The final choice was where to put these stars. This came the easiest: my right foot. Since it’s my dominant foot, it’s the foot that I step out on and that leads me in every forward movement. This makes them my guiding stars, the stars that direct me forward, always forward.

Which is exactly what these people have been for me in the years since they’ve left me behind. They guide my way and lead me forward into every new project and segment of life.

They are my North Stars, always guiding me on, and having them tattooed there reminds me that they always will be.


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