My first tattoo, done by Pinky Darling at Cosmic Tattoo, Colchester
Not the best quality photo, I'll upload a better one if I can take one.
It has a very personal meaning behind it, which I’ll try and explain briefly.
Firstly, it says “Let us keep going”. It’s written in Tolkien's Tengwar script, though the words aren’t actually translated into the Elvish language. I’ll admit, I chose Tengwar for aesthetic reasons. I didn’t want it in English, and although I think Hindi, Arabic, etc look beautiful, they don’t have a special significance to me and I would feel wrong to use a real language I don’t speak or have any connection to for the purpose of my tattoo. I decided on Tengwar, because it not only looks beautiful, but I also love fantasy worlds, be it Tolkien, Rowling, or Pratchett. I thought using Tengwar links to that nicely
I chose it to follow my spine, so it can be read horizontally when I lay on my left side. This was simply just the place I really wanted it done, I've always liked tattoos of quotes that follow the spine.
Now for the importance of those words to me. It’s all about life and death. I was originally inspired by the end scene of one of my favourite films, Thelma and Louise, when Thelma says to Louise “Let’s not get caught… Let’s keep going!” and they drive off the cliff together. This links to one way I interpret my tattoo… over last summer, I became very ill and was taken into emergency care in hospital. I was very lucky that for most of my stay I was kept in a private room, but on my last night I was moved out onto a ward where the rest of the patients were elderly women, all very sick and laying in their beds waiting to die. They would scream and wail throughout the night, but there was nothing more the nurses could do to help them. I can’t describe how awful it was, being on that ward that night, watching these poor old women in so much pain. It’s now become a deep fear of mine to end up like that, alone, in pain, just waiting to die. The idea of having the freedom to choose to die when I’m ready to, like Thelma and Louise did, means a lot to me, although I know it’s not likely it’ll actually happen.
The other way I interpret it is the much happier, slightly more cliché meaning of hope and recovery. Having had past suicide attempts and an on-going struggle with depression, the idea of managing to hang on through dark times and there might be happier times waiting just ahead is something I also hold as very personal to me. Literally, just ‘Let’s keep going’ – force yourself to make it through each day, until one day, all of a sudden, things might not be so bad any more.