So, last week, I got a tattoo.
It’s a small fleur-de-lis on the inside of my right wrist. I’d thought about it for a while ahead of time, and had discussed it with a few people. It wasn’t necessarily what I’d thought my first tattoo would be — I’d actually had a lot of ideas — but it seemed the most appropriate to get while in New Orleans.
Why the fleur-de-lis?
I’ve always loved the iconography of the fleur-de-lis. I’d actually forgotten that it was on the shield of the co-ed fraternity I joined until after I got it, so I guess I’m going to continue to find meaning in it as life goes on. But the things I loved about it when I decided to get it:
Work. Fight. Pray. There are some sources that say in medieval France, the symbol of the fleur-de-lis came to represent the foundation of a strong society: those who work to build it, those who fight to protect it, and those who pray to save it. I related to this because I feel like it’s the qualities you need for success in anything — working hard to make it happen, fighting for what you believe in, and putting good energy out into the universe for yourself and for others.
Literature – The fleur-de-lis comes up a lot in books. In books I like. So, there’s that.
New Orleans – Here’s where the title of this blog comes in. It was at the Coach Summit in Nashville that I first considered getting a tattoo while on a trip to a Beachbody event. (I’ve thought about getting a tattoo many times before that, but that was the first time I considered tying it to coaching). When I heard it was going to be in New Orleans, that’s when I first considered getting the fleur-de-lis as my first tattoo. I gave myself a year to think about it, and since I still wanted it after a year, it made sense to get it.
I tried to chicken out a couple of times. Not because I didn’t want the tattoo. Because I was worried it would hurt to much (it hurt, but not too much). Because I worried too much about what other people would think about it (I’ve got to get over that nonsense in general). Because I was worried I had too many ideas and I might wish I’d done something different (this has happened, but I’ve realized I could always get another one at some point if I want those other things too, and I stand by my fleur-de-lis). So I started considering getting a piercing instead, until a few other people in the house mentioned getting tattoos on our trip as well.
It ended up being quite the team bonding experience. In a house of 21 people, 13 of us came home with tattoos, and for five of us, it was our very first one. So, like I said above, this is where the title of the blog comes in. There’s a great Jimmy Buffett song of the same title. The chorus:
It’s a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling
Amnesiac episodes that never go away
Complex mementos, not subtle revealings
It’s just a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling
For all the deep meanings I’d ascribed to my tattoo before I got it, there remains the truth that it was also an in the moment thing — being in a place with people I loved and have transformed with. No matter where we go from here, whether in the same direction or down different paths, we now have this thing we shared.
So now, whenever I look at my wrist and see the fleur-de-lis, I’ll think about how I’d just finished Insanity Max:30, one of the hardest fitness programs I’d ever attempted. I’ll think about the commitment I made to myself and my health in August of 2015, and how I’d spent two years working on improving both my body and my mind. I’ll think about the people I’d met and what we’d accomplished together by saying “Yeah, I’ll try a fitness group.” And I’ll remember that I am strong and confident and capable and worth doing all the things that keep me healthy and well and focused on my dreams.
And that’s a feeling worth having a permanent reminder of.