In today’s world, tattoos have become such a popular and common form of art and expression. Whether it be a small flower on someones wrist, or a sleeve of multi-colored designs, I seem to see tattoos everywhere I go. They were always very intriguing to me, the idea of having something on your body that would never go away. I understood why adults around me recommended against it, but that never changed my desire to get one. The first time I really thought about getting a tattoo was in Social Studies class in 6th grade. I had already been swimming for a long time by then and it was a huge part of my life. I started doodling in my notebook and eventually got to drawing a cursive form of one of my favorite quotes, “just keep swimming”. That quote had so many meanings to me and my life. Of course it was a quote from Finding Nemo and one of my absolute favorite people, Ellen Degeneres, but it also told my life story.  No matter what happened, I just kept swimming. But of course I was only a 6th grader so I quickly pushed it aside. But as the years went on and as my passion for swimming grew deeper, it was always in the back of my mind. Last year, as a junior in high school, I faced a time in my life where nothing seemed to make sense. It got to the point that I was beginning to question my future in the pool, I just didn’t know if I had it in me anymore. It was a super hard time for me, but after months of soul searching and redirecting my path, I found my way back to the pool. I didn’t force anything, it was just a natural pull. When I got back to school for the beginning of my senior year (7 months ago), I decided that it was time for me to get my “just keep swimming” tattoo. The meaning had grown and developed since the time I first doodled it in my 6th grade Social Studies notebook. It was no longer just an impulsive decision that I was warned I would regret, but it was a symbol that would be engraved into me forever, to remind me that no matter what life throws at me and no matter how tangled up I get, if I just keep swimming, I’ll get through it. It was meaningful, thoughtful, and representative of my life. I was 100% confident that I was ready to get that tattoo. When the tattoo artist finished it, I was amazed at how meaningful it was. I know it’s only been 7 months, but I have a feeling it’s something I will never regret.

In addition to that tattoo, I also have a small wave on my ankle. While it wasn’t as thought out and deep as my other one, it’s a constant reminder of my love for the ocean, beach and nature. It’s also a reminder that while I may get caught up in the tides, the waves will always carry me back to shore. No matter how lost in life I get, if I find my way back to the pool, the beach or the ocean, it will take care of me and remind me that everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to be.

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