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Getting a Tattoo… maybe

June 2, 2008

One thing that blew my mind out here in LA is the amount of tattoos people have. Back East tattoos are generally seen as kind of trashy. Most people have them on arms, ankles, or other secretive and easy to hide spots. I think walking around LA and seeing everyone with sleeves, back tattoos and such has accustomed my to tattoos. At first I never really wanted  a tattoo, I liked my body as a blank page (a very white blank page). I also never had anything I wanted on my body permanently badly enough. But after some time pondering the I think I may have found something. My brother (who has three sizable tattoos) has a good rule of thumb: if you think you want a tattoo wait a year, and if you still want it after a whole year go for it. So I guess the count-down begins. 

I would get it down my left side, on my ribs. I know that’s supposed to hurt the most, but in a way I kind of like that- I also like that it’s fairly hidden. I’d get ‘Invictus’ in block Roman lettering. It means “unconquered” in Latin,  and is also the title to a poem by William Ernest Henley. I first came across the poem when I was attending the Colorado Outward Bound School when I was fourteen or fifteen. Since I was young I’ve kept a journal of some of my favorite quotes, poems, and sayings that I come across; looking through it the other day I ran across ‘Invictus’ again. Researching the poem through wikipedia, I found out a bit more about the author William Ernest Henley. At the age of 12 Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bone. He had to get it amputated, and he wrote ‘Invictus’ while in bed at the hospital.  
I found the poem at a rocky time in my life, and it taught me to persevere, and that an iron will is the hardest material in the world.
Out of the night that covers me, 
                         Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
               For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of Circumstance
                         I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
                      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
                            Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
                         Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
                                          How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
                   I am the captain of my soul.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stepiphany permalink
    June 4, 2008 11:28 pm

    WHat a powerful poem. I’m in disbelief that he wrote it at age 12!

  2. Blue Sky permalink
    June 11, 2008 12:10 am

    I think he only contracted TB when he was twelve, and wrote the poem when he was older. But most likely he wrote it around our age, which is still pretty damn impressive. Beats the hell out of what I’ve written 😦

    What are your thoughts of the tattoo?

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