In modern society, tattoos have become such a popular and common form of art. 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 it will always be okay.

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