Tattoos have stigma attached to them and a wealth of knowledge that comes from superiors and loved ones. I chose to remain within the bounds of the advice given to me. Upon the request of my parents, if I got a tattoo, it would have to have meaning and it would have to have be hidden while in the work place. With these claims, I thought of a something meaningful and mustered up the courage to set foot in a tattoo parlor.
My tattoo features a wave and a sanskrit phrase: tat tvam asi.
The wave is a symbol of home. Growing up in a beach town and having the ocean so accessible to me was a big part of my upbringing. Before I left for college, my parents would plan several beach trips as long as the weather was decent. It was also a fond memory with friends. In my last few years of high school, trips to the beach were plentiful and the annual hajj to Hither Hills in Montauk was a must. In 10 or 15 years, I have no idea where I’ll be in life (even geographically speaking). No matter where I am, I wanted the wave to remind me of the beach and the subsequent memories.
The Sanskrit phrase was a result of a class I took on Hinduism in the fall of 2011. Tat tvam asi is a phrase that translates to “that thou are.” Specifically in Vedic context, it is understood to also mean “You are Him.” This point is also reiterated in modern reformist interpretations of hinduism. By “that thou are,” we imply that divinity is in everyone. As a result, the individual has the power to influence the universal essence of the world.
In addition to its meaning, this tattoo was significant to other aspects of my life. By having an acute fear of needles, a tattoo seemed out of the question. I decided to tackle this fear in a rather blunt way. Although I was shaking before the needle touched my back, I knew I should go through with it to dispel my fear. Also, I wanted to prove that I could start something and muster up the courage to finish it.
The journey began on a Friday for my consultation and after I left, I was on the fence about it. I thought the pain would outweigh whatever meaning this tattoo would have for me. I concluded that I needed to go the next morning. I needed to finish what I started and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.